I grew up in a household with two parents, two siblings, and at least one dog most of the time. Noise of some kind was seemingly omnipresent. Barks, laughter, conversation, dishes breaking, and yelling were but a few of the noises that comprised the sound goulash that we lived in.
Sometimes I'd be lucky enough to retreat to my room, close the door, and escape into a book. But, even with the door closed and my mind engaged in whatever I was reading, I could never fully block out the noise.
Only late at night when I was sleeping would a dense fog of
quiet roll through our home. Occasionally, I would wake up in the middle of the night to a deafening silence. I always found it soothing. In these dark and quiet moments, everything seemed peaceful.
The familial noise I grew up with may be gone for the most part, but there is plenty of new noise that has taken its place. It seems like there is more noise than ever.
Rings and buzzes erupt
from my phone. The laptop beeps, buzzes, and whirs. The television explodes with an
onslaught of noise. I do my best to turn the aforementioned off or at least turn them down, but it's hard to eliminate all the noise.
I've encountered many runners over the years who have stated they simply CAN'T run without music. This always strikes me as odd. But, I recently read an article that may explain this addiction to noise we seem to have.
The thrust of the article is that we can't stand being unoccupied with our thoughts for more than a few minutes. This quiet time I covet so dearly is something most people can't stand.
Admittedly, I sometimes can't stand the noise in my own head. Negative, self defeating, and sometimes vicious voices creep in. This is the kind of noise that is truly insidious as it's noise only you can hear.
When the beeping, buzzing, whirring, and the negative voices in my head become too much to bear, I escape from them in a very literal way. I put miles between myself and the noise that haunts my existence.
Sometimes people ask me what I think about when I run. The truth is I usually think about nothing. For miles and hours, there is usually little that I think about. There is very little noise. That's the whole point.
In order to gain any kind of perspective, clarity, insight, or answer to whatever the conundrum du jour might be, noise isn't going to help.
It is in the silence of the run where I will find this. It's the quieting of the mind a few miles provides that I can perhaps find the answers. So, I run because I seek a deafening silence.