Silence use to be very difficult for me. Didn’t like silence. Ever. Felt uncomfortable when someone wasn’t talking or I wasn’t talking. Mostly I wasn’t talking. Because my brain never shut off. The thoughts were swirling around at such a pace I often got headaches. And it seems it had to come out somehow and usually out of my mouth. I was the social butterfly who always had something going on. Always was planning some kind of activity. In high school and college I was in every club and went to every event. Wanted so much to be popular and well liked. Even was voted wittiest in my senior year of high school. Could never say no to anyone. Was so afraid they wouldn’t like me. So I told jokes and acted silly and made people laugh.
Here I am many years later and still have my moments when the fear of not being liked rears its ugly head. I’m not as worried as I use to be. I have decided I’m not a bad person and really do want to be of service anyway I can. But I’m not a doormat anymore. It’s really been just recently that I started taking time out for me. My son is grown and doing well as a jazz guitarist. He was never much of a talker. More of a thinker like his dad and at times grew impatient with my chatter. I look back and can say now I don’t blame him. I have become much quieter and less vocal and really do enjoy silence. I am trying to listen more even in the silence between the words. People will say things but mean something else. If you listen to the silence in between, chances are you can really decipher what they are trying to say but are masking it with something else.
I lived in the mountains for ten years and commuted to work in another city every week. It finally took its toll and I made the move to Los Angeles. I still miss the mountains and after so many years living in big cities from New York to Paris I want those mountains again. I yearn for the peace the silence of the mountains gives me. I remember being on top of a mountain in Switzerland by myself and it was so quiet I could hear my heart beat. Not only feel it but hear it! It’s was the closest I felt to heaven. I could have stayed there forever. But life, my life, pulled me back and I rejoined the human race.
In this world of technology people seem to be more quiet but for the wrong reasons. They are on their phones and computers speaking silently but isolated. I must say I enjoy the technical silence for awhile but then miss the human voices sharing their thoughts and dreams. Doesn’t seem the same reading it as it does hearing it from them. The warmth of their speech is lost in words being typed and thoughts being expressed silently.
So what is the happy medium? How much silence and how much verbal communication do you want? I know there is a place where a smile and the unspoken word can be just as powerful as the spoken word. But I really need both to feel truly connected to humanity.