Replayed everyone’s Snapchat stories? Check. Tweeted about Kanye’s latest Twitter rant? Check. Uploaded one of the fifty-nine selfies that you took on Instagram? Check.
Perfect, you think to yourself, now I can sit down to get some work done. As soon as you pick your pen, a loud ding! emanates from your phone, indicating that you’ve received a message via Facebook Messenger. You sigh, check the message and return to your work, thinking that you’ll respond to your friend’s request to go watch a movie next Tuesday sometime later during the day. You’re so engrossed in your work that you miss her other three messages, demanding to know an answer so that she can buy tickets. When you meet her later in class, she’s infuriated at how long it took you to respond. To pacify her, you try and explain how the silence helps you focus, but she gives you an incredulous look at the part where you abandon all forms of communication which makes you cut your explanation short.
Does this seem familiar? As someone who doesn’t like to be bombarded with incoming messages all of the time, I often keep my phone on flight mode when working. However, leading a student lifestyle means that my phone is on flight mode quite a bit and I end up responding to non-urgent messages quite a bit later in the day. As we start to integrate more and more technology into our daily lives, it seems that there is a constant buzz of information running in the background and we seldom find a moment of quiet. We generally associate quiet with boring or awkward, however the truth of the matter is that we need those quiet moments just as much as we need the bustle of work life to keep us motivated and moving.
It is in those quiet moments of life that you can catch up with yourself. You get the chance to fully take in your surroundings and your present state. Without the quiet moments, you might miss the faint flutter of joy in your heart as you pass a smiling child, or the intense look of contemplation on a companion’s face when you’re discussing a philosophical matter. The silence that fills a gap in conversation allows you to contemplate and internalize the important parts of your dialogue and only become awkward if you feel the need to rush into it with something else to say.
With the way that our lives are built, it can be difficult to find moments of true quiet. However, when you do find them, I encourage you to cherish them for the gift that they are and to make full use of them.