Hello Darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again. Well, when I say “again” I mean “for the first time in longer than I can remember.” I never purposefully spend time in silence. I like noise (which is a good thing because I have four kids). When I get into my car the first thing I do is decide what I am going to listen to. The answer is never nothing (OR “always something” for those of you who don’t like double negatives). Why would I sit in silence and have to listen to my own thoughts? That sounds dangerous.
Five Day Discipline: Drive in silence. No radio. No CD player. No tape player. No auxiliary jack. No piping anything through my phone. No podcasts. No music. Nothing but the sound of silence.
Now, I didn’t outlaw the sound of my own voice which turned out to be a good thing. On the first day I ended up singing out loud or talking to myself for most of my hour-long drive. I am so used to noise that when there was none my instinct kicked in and I made my own. Eventually though, somewhere near the end of Day 2, I was able to drive and keep my mouth shut.
What I Missed: Talk radio about the Super Bowl and the NBA trade deadline, a few podcasts that I have taken a liking to (thanks, Week 38 Five Day Discipline) and music. All things that could easily be caught up on.
What I Gained: Loooots of quiet time. My drive time ended up being about 12 hours this week so
when I wasn’t cursing drivers in traffic my mind had plenty of time to wander. During those first two days of talking out loud I wound up brainstorming several ideas for podcasts. I can’t tell you what they are because the ideas are proprietary (read: probably lousy and I don’t want to embarrass myself). Now, I don’t know that a podcast is necessarily in my future but regardless without this week of silence those ideas never would have occurred. There were other ideas and thoughts not related to podcasts as well. Nothing life changing or earth shattering, but my mind was free to bounce wherever it wanted, instead of focusing on what someone else was saying or singing, and so it did.
It was frustrating at times to be stuck in traffic and unable to pass the time with music but this week was actually much easier than I expected. I really thought it was going to be torture but it ranged from merely mildly annoying to refreshing and useful. Will I be keeping a “silence in the car” policy forever? No, but I do think I am going to experiment with mixing silence into my routine just to see what happens.
P.S. A friend of mine saw my mention of podcast ideas this week so he reached out to me saying that he’s been wanting to get into the podcast world and now we’re set for a lunch to discuss ideas and a potential collaboration. THIS IS WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT WHEN I SAY YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN YOU SWITCH THINGS UP. Sorry for yelling. I hate to yell. Really I’m quite mild-mannered. But my point is that without this week of Five Day Discipline this friend and I would not be getting together for lunch. Maybe we’ll podcast together, maybe we won’t. But we’ll definitely have a fun lunch that wouldn’t have otherwise occurred.
P.P.S. The previous postscript could easily have been integrated into the blog post I just like postscripts so I figured I’d make it one. Cheerio.