Believe it or not, the London Underground was the first subway in the world. It provided a new way to explore and move about the city in the late 1800’s. Along with new opportunities it also had its challenges as well. When first built, the London Underground used to be embarrassed about its gaps, as if they reflected a poorly planned and underfunded network. There was a brief campaign to rebrand them as “passenger-train interfaces”. In the late 1960’s a simple phrase was then recorded to remind passengers to be safe when exiting or boarding the train. That common phrase is “mind the gap”. This phrase, which originally referred to the gap between the train and the platform, has since become an enduringly popular symbol of London in the minds of travelers and visitors. It was recorded and then played over and over simply because people needed to be reminded to “mind the gap” to ensure safety. It is now even more widespread with additional signage at the various stations.
So why did I tell you this story about London subways and their funny sayings? The reason this is so important is that most of our lives are lived within gaps or spaces. Our lives are filled with them – it’s the space between where we are right now and where we want to be. Ironically, its also the area or little things we try to avoid. To “mind the gap” is a simple reminder to watch your step in that moment, but what if we were to pay more attention to all of the steps we take?
I would venture to guess that most of you, like me constantly want to be at point B as quick as possible. We want the easy fix so we can move on to the next thing and so on. Simply put we would like to wish away the “gaps” between points.
Now you are probably thinking well yeah but what’s the catch? And that’s just it. We lose out on learning and growing. Not to mention the enjoyment and fun when we don’t mind the gaps in our lives. Minding the gap in our lives mean being aware that this is where our life is happening and it’s a reminder to live it to the fullest each day. The points are just brief moments in our lives, our real living is in the gaps. The key isn’t to get tripped up by them.
We want immediate results when it comes to weight loss, increased strength, flexibility or keeping your heart and mind healthy. There are a number of gimmicks and so called miracle pills that claim to do it all. The truth of the matter is that while exercise takes time, it makes time as well. And while you are making time you are creating memories and positive experiences that you can use to overcome other obstacles in your life. The most important thing we can do is the way in which we view these gaps and remember to celebrate them. It’s not about making it to point B anyways – it’s the feelings we have along the way, because the points will continue to shift.
Aaron Fabel, B.A in Exercise Science and Wellness, is the CEO at the Oahe Family YMCA. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org