Tuesday, July 17, 2007

sound of silence

A friend was telling me about how his daughters have an active social life and yet they still want more. I started thinking about how much there is for children to view, do, participate in from any number of children specific cable channels, toys, afterschool activities, computer games offline and online. How can children say they are bored today?

I recalled my own childhood of no cable tv nor mtv, with PBS just about the only place with children's programming during the day except for the handful of cartoons after school. I'm not sure if I could handle the inundation of information and activity kids today go through. Then again, for them, this is always the way it has been. Our house with the numerous aunts and uncles living there was always a bustle of activity. When I was 12, I often found myself simply looking for quiet places to sit: empty classrooms early in the morning, playground structures in the middle of a summer day. I would just sit and watch clouds go by, people drive and head places.

As I got older, there was less and less of this time. I remember deciding sitting by myself away from the crowd during lunch in high school once, and a counselor asked if I was alright. And I just said something about having some quiet time. She seemed fine with that answer and walked away. But I remember how simply sitting alone and taking it all in was seen as a sign of someone in need. And yet, when I recall sitting there by myself, I don't recall myself feeling lonely. As I watched everyone get along with their day, I was a part of it. I wasn't feeling that typical teenage, "oh so alone feeling" at least not at that point.

I was reminded of the quiet time I had sought out growing up while reading an article about an author who had written about one Amish sect. How we fill our lives constantly with stuff and things and often complain about how we don't have empty time, yet when we do, we really just fill it with more.

Overall when I'm doing things I like to be with other people, but when I'm not doing anything, it's nice to simply be by yourself.

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