For the longest time – most of my life, really – I absolutely could not stand to be by myself. Not that I necessarily needed to be with other people, but being able to simply sit with my own thinking was quite, well…unthinkable.
There was too much noise in my head, a bedlam of thoughts and feelings firing off like cannons. Memories could be overwhelming, masking everything else around me, or emotions exploded in a confusion of pain or joy or anger. Plainly put, it was just too much.
So I drowned it out. For years I lived with a constant stream of external noise, sound I could control. Talking with friends. Listening to music. Watching TV. Even reading a book would fill my head with a story and keep the noise at bay.
Something’s shifted, though. I’ve felt a change in the last couple of years, a core need that causes me to actually crave space. It’s not that the noise is gone – sometimes it seems like a marching band’s taken up residence in my brain – but instead of always trying to overpower it with a racket of my own choosing, there are times I opt for solitude. A chance to sit quietly with myself and recharge.
Sometimes this means I have to sift through and settle the stuff in my head, a task that used to seem impossible. But I’m working on simply being with a feeling instead of letting it suffocate me, and the change that’s brought about has been remarkable. I thought I needed all that…clamoring…to keep my sanity. That blasting music in my car was the only way to make a drive peaceful.
Now I’m grateful for the solitude. When I get the chance to just be in the moment, quiet and still, storing up energy so I’m ready to tackle the next wave of craziness (since there’s never a shortage of that around here).
It seems I’ve finally learned that peace is priceless.
My post as part of Colline’s The Gratitude Project.