No more noise.
The transition out of college has been tough. It’s included family, spiritual, and personal struggles, essentially all the things life includes plus this strange thing of walking through life without the people who walked so closely with you in college. My brain is ok at transition. My heart is not.
And I’ve noticed a trend. It started before I graduated from college, but escalated when I realized the door to my undergrad experience was totally and completely closed.
I began to fill my life with noise.
I blared music in the car. I had the t.v. on incessantly. I snacked constantly. I buzzed from one thing to the other. When I ran, I turned up my music to ungodly levels. I added noise, whatever form it came in to avoid facing the reality that transition is tough.
So I’m trying to cut out noise in sometimes subtle but very real ways.
A couple of nights ago I dug out an old alarm clock that hasn’t been used since the turn of the century. I plugged it in, tried to remember how to set the time, how to set the alarm, how to turn off the annoying beeping. It’s so simple. Use an alarm clock, not a phone. I’ve noticed my phone’s presence is a kind of noise I never noticed. It goes off constantly during the day. If I wake up in the middle of the night and check the time, any notifications on the screen catch my attention and distract me from sleep. It’s noisy, and it needed to go.
Last week I started running again. It’s hard to think that one year ago I was nearing the end of marathon training. My brain tries to trick me into believing that I should be able to run a marathon tomorrow, and if I can’t, than I must not be good enough. This thought has kept me from running because it’s hard to compete with that lie. But last week, I realized how ridiculous it all was, laced up my running shoes, and ran a mile and a half. Start where you are. I decided that those voices shouting mean things at me weren’t worth listening to so I ran because that’s one way I know to fight them.
And I ran without music blaring because running is where I think. In the past, I’ve had some of the best revelations or have thought more deeply about a topic while running. Right now, thinking deeply seems mean. It usually means fighting tears or getting angry or being disappointed. But today when my brain wanted nothing more than to blare music, I kept the volume low to make room for thoughts.
I’ve set this goal to read a crazy amount of books before next August. So nearly each night, I turn off the other noises and dive into a book. Sometimes they’re fictional, sometimes they’re deeply theological, sometimes they’re about leadership or how to be an excellent adult. But I’ve decided that I want to keep learning and growing, and as much as I love Friends and Gilmore Girls, there’s not a lot of learning and growth that comes from those shows.
And I’m praying. Lots. Because I’ve never been this way before, and because I can’t do it on my own. Sometimes I have lots of words for God. I throw them on a page, pen tightly gripped in my hand. Sometimes I have no words. I pray a Psalm because that act is like repeating something sacred and holy back to the Father.
And I hope that you understand that this is a process, a slow and steady and stinky process. It’s a process of creating habits and undoing old habits. It’s a process of figuring out how I want to live and how I don’t want to live. But I’ve decided on one thing: No more noise.