When the World Goes Silent


I’ve always struggled to keep up with social media, stress about Facebook and Instagram posts every single day. What do I say? What should I post? Everything for me has been quite a thought process –  just being a private person who needs to separate my two lives, requires extra care when posting things for the world to see.  Lately, however, it’s been a different kind of struggle.

Work has consumed all my waking moments. I’ve cut down on traveling this summer to spend more time with the family. I get home late at night and work until it’s time to go to bed. I’m not visiting new places, attending any book signings. Eight Goodbyes is stuck in pitches and “In This Life” is enduring that long Hollywood process. I’ve caught up on Netflix, on Lucifer, Shades of Blue and Big Little Lies. I’m watching murder mysteries and reading books that have been on my TBR for years.

While everyone around me is swirling, here I am, with nothing to post about. And it’s not that my world has skidded to a stop after running at 200mph for the past two years. On the contrary, it’s kind of on the upswing but in different ways, I guess. I prefer not to post about volunteering events, or leadership speeches or cleaning out my shoe closet, for that matter. I’ve stopped posting about my shopping adventures because they don’t excite me as much anymore. Weekends are spent out on our deck, with the smell of Korean Barbecue or Spanish Paella wafting all the way through to our neighbor’s house. Lord knows how many times I’d Insta Live a picture of our grill or our food or my son rocking out to music, only to delete it at the very end. We just went to Costco to get some patio furniture. Do you care?

It’s everyday life. Plain and simple.

I wonder whether this is how it feels for people who’d been famously in the limelight for years and then suddenly, they run out of new and exciting things to entice people with. Their world suddenly grows very small, and the attention that they get dissipates. Is this why they go crazy, craving for attention, depressed and despondent? Mind you, my situation is miniscule compared to this analogy, but in a way, it speaks to the heart of the same thing – our worlds shrink, things go quiet, and there’s not much to talk about, cry about, scream about anymore. But is that really true? Why can’t you go out there and find more things, why lose your passion when you can just spread it out a little more, do things for yourself for once? Because that’s what I’m learning to do. After the initial realization that, “hey, things are falling back in place”,  I’ve focused my energies on things that make me happy. Like going on dinner dates again, with my husband or with my whole crew of grown kids. Reconnecting with friends who were around before the dawn of Facebook. I’ve gone on business trips where I didn’t post a single thing – it feels liberating, out and about town and declaring my own “make-up free” days. NYC and London, even Paris – all feel different when you’re not pressuring yourself to snap away at things that would ordinarily be……. quite mundane. Between you and those you’re with, there’s a secret code that you uphold because all of us are just trying to get as much of it as we can.  Privacy. When you’re in quite the public forum all day long, it’s nice to just have nothing – not one little thing – not a smart thing, or a dumb thing, or a snarky, snappy, infuriating thing – to say.

The best part of all this? In what used to be the chaos of bars and clubs and bustling international cities, there is a tiny little space in the back of our deck – during the summer nights, you can lean back against the railing and stare up at the sky. Sometimes, you can hear the rustling of the leaves from squirrels or birds finding their way around in the dark. Sometimes, it’s deathly quiet and your mind is clear and your thoughts are peaceful. Sometimes, the annoying bark of your neighbor’s dog stirs you out of your reverie.

But all the time, you can count on this one thing. There is comfort in the quiet.