All the Noise

"You're just free," he kept reminding her.

"Does that make you nervous?" she would ask.

"I haven't decided, yet," he answered. Until he had. And it did.


Almost two years ago, I decided to get rid of my television. Sort of. Really, I moved and didn't take a television with me. I made a home on the third level of a beautifully historical rowhome, in a space that I fell deeply in love with, and a TV didn't seem to fit the space or my new life. 

At night, I would lay on the couch, or sit in my window seat, and listen to the city. The urban soundtrack, I called it. Sometimes I would have music playing; sometimes I would dance. Other times I would turn on a podcast, doing work at my desk or just sitting quietly to listen. Lots of evenings I would read. All with this urban soundtrack softly humming in the background. It became reliable and nurturing.

For the first time in most of my life, I controlled the noise. When I sat down, it was with great purpose: to work; to read; to write; to listen. That thing people refer to as "being present." I controlled the way my home sounded and felt by eliminating a television and it drastically changed the way I interacted with everything else in my space.

Every day we are surrounded by noise we can't control. Some of it is damaging. Some of it is crushing. A lot of it happens without our permission. Noise from people, media, co-workers, family, lovers. A lot of us live with a ton of static noise within our own heads. It distracts. It creates anxiety. It blunts our senses. In a lot of ways, it is a subtle build, and we don't even realize it is happening.

The noise isn't always bad. There can be beauty in noise. But even beauty can be overwhelming when we can't manage it. Or worse, the background static becomes comfortable, making it impossible for us to understand how anyone could live without it.

I have no resolutions this year. Nothing major I want to make resolute, and I am steadfast in that decision. But I have some particular ways of living I want to invest in and tend to this year. Some are small, a few larger, but most extremely personal. To be open and free, to accept what I want for my life without judgment of myself. To be unwavering in my conviction to certain needs and beliefs, while flexible enough to change my mind and pivot.

And when I can't control it, to move through the noise with a grace.