I've never been a huge fan of silence.
As a kid, I almost always had the TV or radio on. Often, they were on at the same. To this day, if you walk into my mom's house, the TV will be on in the corner. With no one watching.
Some of my favorite video games have corresponding albums, because my CD player never turned off (Radiohead's Kid A is a great pairing to The Ocarina of Time, if you were wondering).
Even today, I'm surrounded with a constant buzz of noise. I'm just as addicted to my smartphone as anyone. Whether I'm watching Netflix or out to dinner or sitting in church, I'm constantly scrolling through memes. When I'm at home, I almost can't function without a record playing on the turntable.
I live in the city, so it's usually pretty easy to avoid silence. But when I visit my grandparents in the country, it's another story. They don't have internet connection or cell phone service. So when my family goes up for a three day visit, there's generally no avoiding long stretches of silence.
But recently, I've realized that it's not silence that I have a problem with: it's the clutter of my own mind. When I fill my head with media and memes and other mind-numbing activities, those things don't go away when I shut them off. They bounce around in my skull, rattling in my brain. And adding to that only makes the clamor worse.
But if I power through the initial discomfort, I've found that everything starts to settle. While the rattle in my head might be unbearable at first, eventually it starts to quiet down.
And when that happens, I can actually get a good look at myself. I can reassess my goals, take stock of my life, and just take a moment to rest.
Whether it's a quiet moment at the riverbank or just a minute of stillness in my living room, I've come to love the silence. Sometimes, I even leave my phone on purpose. Because otherwise, I'm just caught in a whirlwind of distractions.
Here, in the quiet, I can actually hold on to what really matters.