Back in my 20s and 30s, when socializing and grabbing life by the horns was extremely important to me, I lived a very “loud” life. My job as a former reporter was action-packed. My personal life was action-packed. My marriage — which incidentally didn’t last — was action-packed.
It was a fun, dizzying, chaotic, crazy time. I ran from adventure to adventure with hardly a breath. I travelled everywhere – to Europe, to Asia, across this country and back. My head swam with grand schemes. It seems I lived with high drama and in a lot of circumstances, crises.
And then, by my own design, it all stopped. I mean, it didn’t stop immediately. Even as my life continued to be in upheaval, it took me a while to figure out that I could stop living a life tantamount to existing in an airplane hangar, with the plane’s engines going full bore.
There’s been something remarkable about making all of it stop: The silence and tranquility that ensues.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for fun times, hanging out with friends, sharing a laugh.
But now, I prefer ‘quiet’ fun and simple pleasures, taking time to fully savor a moment instead of just moving on to the next thing.
There’s something else that’s remarkable that’s happened with quiet. It gives you time to meditate on things, on your life, on how you want to live, the person you want to be, your values, your intentions, your goals, what you see for yourself in the years that stretch before you.
I have time to read all the books I’ve wanted to read for years. I have time to devote to school, which by the way, I’m doing for myself this time – not to meet my parents’ expectations with my undergrad degree. I have time to cultivate a relationship with friends who really mean something to me, who are supportive of me, and love me unconditionally, just as I love them unconditionally.
It’s not always easy to sit with yourself silently. It makes me “itchy” sometimes. It’s so much easier to distract yourself with shopping or socializing, whether it be on Facebook or in person with friends. To let you in on a secret: I don’t care all that much for Facebook. It’s a wonderful social media channel to connect with people. But honestly, my attitude is, if you want to know what I’m up to, call me, e-mail me or come visit me. I’ll reciprocate. I don’t need you to “like” what I post or make witty comments on my missives or my photos. I appreciate the comments and the likes, but I realize they’re ego strokes and aren’t necessary to me.
Here’s another thing that gets cultivated when you can sit by yourself and chill: Your instincts and those feelings you get in your gut. When you remove all of the static from your brain, all the automatic reactions to what other people do and say to you, all the fires you have to put out from day to day, you get a feel internally for what works and what doesn’t work in your life. You can place people and activities in the grander scheme of things and assess whether they belong or not.
I’m in an interesting position at this point in my life. I love to have fun, experience new things, and I so treasure all of my friendships. But, I prefer the tranquility of peaceful dealings and interacting with peaceful people; the quiet that allows me to think on things; a life free of drama; and the silence that allows me to listen to what my higher conscience has to say to me.
It says, “Peace is yours.”