Have you ever developed new habits or changed existing ones without realising it? There isn’t an abrupt shift, but rather a gradual evolution in your subconscious mind. You suddenly ‘wake up’ to this change with a sense of surprise. This realisation hit me today when I went for my daily walk with my dog and my headphones died. I’m not even sure when I began to wear them for my walks, but their sudden absence made me acutely aware of my new routine.
I thoroughly enjoyed my walk today. There’s something special about the slight chill in the air paired with the warmth of the sun that I find delightful. It’s an odd time of year when you need both a hat and gloves as well as sunglasses, but I think it’s the perfect balance. That might seem like a tangent, but perhaps being alone with my thoughts allowed me to appreciate it more. Unwittingly, I had been walking with my AirPods for the last few days, listening to podcasts or audiobooks, which meant I was never truly alone.
Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with listening to something while walking. However, I find that excessive consumption of content prevents me from fully developing my own ideas. The ideas I do have, influenced by various media, never seem to fully materialise or reach a conclusion if there’s a constant influx of new ones. Podcasts, in particular, tend to spark new thoughts or introduce intriguing topics, but I need those interludes of silence to explore and expand on them before moving on to the next.
There are already numerous thoughts occupying space in my mind, most of which I tend to overanalyse, without the addition of new ones pouring in. That is why I value silence and downtime so much. It enables me to read a book, jot down notes, or just embrace a slower pace, which in turn allows me to operate at full capacity when necessary. However, this doesn’t make it any easier when a company I am interested in implodes over the course of a week leading to an influx of emergency podcasts!
Over the years, I have learned to appreciate the uncomfortable sensation of boredom and not to shun it. I see many people who cannot stand to be unoccupied, and I believe that being comfortable with boredom is an important skill for self-discovery. The desire for constant entertainment is pervasive and seems problematic. As I discovered today, despite the world being filled with distractions, sometimes all I really need is silence.