Make it quiet

I saw an episode of Oprah today where Winona Judd said something so profound, I wanted to hug her. “The world is too loud,” she said, referring to how she was so distracted by life that she did not have time to focus on herself and listen to her inner voices.

I sometimes feel like that. Sometimes I feel my life is like an F1 race track, and me, being the girl who still gets excited by the mere sound of the revving engines, savour the loud sounds and passing images of spectators on the stands or the side gates (depending on which circuit you are watching it from). Don’t you ever wonder how it is like to sit snugly in that tight seat at 300km/h ? You literally see the world zoom pass you! How thrilling!

It is this thrill, however, that I need to tone down. My life has been way too fast, so fast that I feel priviledged yet tested. When Winona (ok now we are going by first names) said that, it struck a strong chord in me. Sometimes I think there are way too many people I have in my life. There are many moments I literally feel like I need a breather to do just that – breathe. But I love the company of people, and I get more energetic when I am with a big crowd.

So when I was in Canada last year for 6 months, spending our first marital life together, I discovered another level to me that I never knew existed. You see, in Canada where rivers divide highways and mountains form authoritative props to landscapes, life is faaarrr and waaayyyy quieter. I didnt have many friends there, being a newbie, and so my days were mostly spent reading, writing and at the library. And oh, did I mention reading too? I must have.

Now the few friends that I have were not the kinds that I have in SG or KL. My Canadian friends’ conversations were always bordering on the spiritual and were somewhat strangely deeper. I hardly have chats about make-up, facials and hair colour. No gossips, no whining. Life is so smooth and content.In the beginning, I sorely miss my more happening life in SG and KL, but the social environment (plus the rivers and the highways) quietened me down.

When I return to SG in June, one of the first chats I had here was with a childhood friend who complained about a certain person in her life. I remembered feeling so violated that I literally felt like some rock guitarist just burst into my bedroom at 5 am in the morning and played the lousiest,loudest most annoying riff ever into my ear. I remember wanting to ask her to stop talking, cos the gossiping literally felt like noise. What was that, I asked myself. Was I attuning myself to an inner side that yearns a quiet existence rather than be too mindful of how people treat other people?

I remember telling DH about it. I was not sure what was the outcome of our short discussion of what was happening to me, but I am very sure of what happened later. As I settled into SG more, my world became louder. The social life slowly paces itself into the usual rhythm.

I have lost that peace. It has evaporated. What a bummer. Now that it is Ramadan, I am rather determined to grab it back.I can’t just dust off the life I have created here so I must learn how to manage the noise, so it is not too loud and make me distracted.

I love people, so what it comes with it – I still love the sounds of life. I just wish it is not so deafening.

16 comments

  1. i REALLY know what u mean. i feel that my job is DEAFENING. but my life with the kids and husband is a little quiet. we all have time to read books, watch tv, sometimes play boardgames and check out the creeks that turn into ice in the winter.

    we have to. as busy as we can be, my husband says that we have to sometimes get away fm citylife and drive, as far as it takes us (tak lah sampai LA or canada!).

    tapikan, once u moved, life can go by pretty quick too!

  2. hi there, “The world is too loud” i couldn’t agree more.

    crowds? i get easily exhausted by them. if i’m in one, give me 10 minutes, max, and i’d be restless already. lol.

    but the company of people ahh… that’s another thing.

    hey btw, i’m linking u too. 🙂

  3. Ely – you sure you dont wanna hop over Canada – boleh makan salmon sampai perut meletup!
    You have a nice balance there – job with the noise and family life with the quiet.

    Summersnail – I just realised thats what I meant, ‘company of people’. I should have written that instead of ‘crowds’! Aiyah puasalah, so otak lems (short of lembab) sikit. Anyway, my husband says I feed on people for energy, now that really makes me feel like a cannibal.

  4. ya – so so true. when we went to an oriental foodhall here in london and there were lots of shouting of orders etc, our children said – this is so like Malaysia. I have grown to dislike crowds as well, i dont like the sales rush, no street markets and no crowded rooms. The library and the home is better – esp with the tv down for a while.
    btw – the F1 thing, uja..would you say no to Alex Y in the driver’s seat?

  5. Oh KakTeh you are sooo verryyy mean! I puasa you know!!

    If its Alex Y – I wont say no! Ajun boleh tunggu kat tepi…heee:)
    Btw, say hi to him if you meet him for kopi again ok..better still, bring me along!

  6. Bom, after I read this, I macam takut nak telepon you. Hehe… Nak buka sama2?

    And I caught your show. Best!

  7. salam uja
    somehow i know iv travelled this same road. since coming here, iv been too much with myself, i thought i dont know myself anymore. when in singapore i get agitated with friends who rather watch ‘singapore idols’ than have meaningful conversations after not seeing each other for awhile. i also know that sometimes, my views are seen as extreme, i think there is some sort of anger too, that im suppressing from realising what kind of world i was in before, and why had i wasted my time on them. and then, the other realisation, why can’t i just be civil and understanding to people who were just like me before? after 2 years,im finding a balance in myself again, but it is however, far too quiet here. the quietness which is deafening for my soul. i need to get out. but where… ?

  8. Oni – did I just scare everybody away in SG? Cos nobody seems to call me! Buka – bila eh? Outside or at home?

    Ruby – Goodness you described it just the way I remembered it last year.I think we learnt from both experiences, too much of anything is not good (in this case too loud and too quiet) – and finding the balance between the 2 is the hardest.

  9. Sure Papayaface, you are welcomed anytime.

    I had a look at your blog too – did that ‘check’ really happen at the MRT station? A case of overzealousness of headless chickens, these officers…

  10. hi,
    havent been visiting for quite a while! Good to be back. A mutual blogger friend told me, that you are good for hugs. Can i request for one?

    Life IS full volume, blaring speakers, isnt it? But not all is music, mostly just noise.

  11. uja, I like the crowd but not during office hours – kat opis better if no body kacau me, boleh buat keje tanpa gangguan.
    kat rumah pulak rasa sunyi, rindu pulak masa duduk kat ipoh dulu, kalau adik-beradik hubby datang, hah sekali datang dalam 6-7 bijik keta (hubby ada 11 adik beradik- dia yg bongsu), mula2 tu tak suka, lama2 rasa dah biasa, sekarang dah rindu pulak

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