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.