The train to Manchester was busy.
Next to me, leaning against the window and not making eye contact, a young man with a backpack. He kept his backpack on all the way, and his coat. He hunched uncomfortably on the seat, moving constantly; cracking his knuckles, jiggling his legs, sighing, yawning.
The train took its time, and I distracted myself with my phone. Both of us would rather be anywhere but here, squashed into a train with strangers.
The kind of train journey that doesn’t have space, physically or mentally.
This one does. This train, from Manchester to Norwich, is blissfully empty. Hours of countryside pass by; tunnels, rivers, mountains, woods. I barricade myself into my seat, coat on the chair next to me, bag in front, daring anyone to sit next to me. My own little cocoon.
Then the journey works it’s magic.
The rocking of the train, eyes relaxing over the long views, grey skies giving way to silver, then blue, then back to grey.
The train sings nothing to do, nothing to do, nothing to do.
Ideas appear, then drop behind. Contentment spreads.
Ideas reappear, then blossom. The future appears more fluid, more malleable.
And all I have to do is sit here and be transported.
How rare it is to find this space, the space between. Between departing and arriving, between dreaming and becoming, between beginning and end.
The space where possibilies expand with the horizon, where new futures can be envisioned and old bonds can drop away.
My most audacious goals seem possible
And yet isn’t all life lived in this space, really?
How good we are at distracting ourselves from it, filling our lives up with busyness.
As the land flattens out and the towns get closer together, I start to weave my dreams into reality, mapping out actions for the coming months. Dreaming into doing, breathing thoughts into life.
The train arrives. I depart into the cold night air.
I would like to find ways of inhabiting this in between space more often, instead of leaving it to chance.
How do you find the time and space to reconnect with your dreams and to plan for your future?