"Noise ranks as the number one gripe of restaurant-goers nationally according to a Zagat survey, and it is the complaint submitted to New York City’s 311 hotline with the greatest frequency. … Even if these complaints are just cyclical resurgences of an age-old problem—the ancient Greek colony Sybaris mandated that certain noisy tradesmen (potters, tinsmiths) had to live outside the city walls; Elizabethan men couldn’t beat their wives past 10 p.m.—we seem to be dealing with it differently. From noise-canceling headphones to the popularity of silent retreats, there has never been quite so great a premium placed on silence. And not only do we value it in a general sense, we’re willing to pay for it. Silence has become the ultimate luxury.”
How Silence Became a Luxury Product
“To those of us for whom life is an incessant montage of badly-lighted scenes detailing mistakes made and opportunities squandered, this endless winter has been something of a comfort in that we are no longer alone: It’s dark out there for everyone now. Oh, you’re a little down because it is cold and gray all the time? WELCOME TO MY WORLD. Huh, you never really realized just how sad things can get at 5:15 of a Wednesday evening? MY LIFE IS AN ENDLESS SERIES OF WEDNESDAY EVENING, 5:15s. Perhaps “comfort” is not the appropriate word, though: What I am trying to convey is the small sense of belonging we melancholics finally feel now that everyone around us has grasped just how empty, meaningless and sorrowful it all is, and how even the sharpest sparkle on things that seem streaked with salvation is only the errant reflection from a sliver of sun that was meant to shine for someone else. Sadly, though, just as we are getting comfortable with the idea that we are part of the larger group, along comes the clock to save the rest of you: this Sunday everything goes an hour ahead. When you are living in your bright new world, one that is suffused with light and joy, please every now and then give a thought to those of us left behind, those of us for whom the darkness never ends. You know who we are now. You were once like us. Spring forward.”
“I do absolutely nothing [in my free time]. I go home and stay there. I wash and scrub up each day, and that’s it. One month I actually grew a mustache, just so I could say that I’d done something.”
“Yesterday, I spent 60 dollars on groceries,
took the bus home,
carried both bags with two good arms back to my studio apartment
and cooked myself dinner.
You and I may have different definitions of a good day.
This week, I paid my rent and my credit card bill,
worked 60 hours between my two jobs,
only saw the sun on my cigarette breaks
and slept like a rock.
Flossed in the morning,
locked my door,
and remembered to buy eggs.
My mother is proud of me.
It is not the kind of pride she brags about at the golf course.
She doesn’t combat topics like, ”My daughter got into Yale”
with, ”Oh yeah, my daughter remembered to buy eggs”
But she is proud.
See, she remembers what came before this.
The weeks where I forgot how to use my muscles,
how I would stay as silent as a thick fog for weeks.
She thought each phone call from an unknown number was the notice of my suicide.
These were the bad days.
My life was a gift that I wanted to return.
My head was a house of leaking faucets and burnt-out lightbulbs.
Depression, is a good lover.
So attentive; has this innate way of making everything about you.
And it is easy to forget that your bedroom is not the world,
That the dark shadows your pain casts is not mood-lighting.
It is easier to stay in this abusive relationship than fix the problems it has created.
Today, I slept in until 10,
cleaned every dish I own,
fought with the bank,
took care of paperwork.
You and I might have different definitions of adulthood.
I don’t work for salary, I didn’t graduate from college,
but I don’t speak for others anymore,
and I don’t regret anything I can’t genuinely apologize for.
And my mother is proud of me.
I burned down a house of depression,
I painted over murals of greyscale,
and it was hard to rewrite my life into one I wanted to live
But today, I want to live.
I didn’t salivate over sharp knives,
or envy the boy who tossed himself off the Brooklyn bridge.
I just cleaned my bathroom,
did the laundry,
called my brother.
Told him, “it was a good day.”
What You Learn in Your 40s
"There are no grown-ups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.
There are no soul mates. Not in the traditional sense, at least. In my 20s someone told me that each person has not one but 30 soul mates walking the earth. (“Yes,” said a colleague, when I informed him of this, “and I’m trying to sleep with all of them.”) In fact, “soul mate” isn’t a pre-existing condition. It’s an earned title. They’re made over time.
You will miss out on some near soul mates. This goes for friendships, too. There will be unforgettable people with whom you have shared an excellent evening or a few days. Now they live in Hong Kong, and you will never see them again. That’s just how life is.
Emotional scenes are tiring and pointless. At a wedding many years ago, an older British gentleman who found me sulking in a corner helpfully explained that I was having a G.E.S. — a Ghastly Emotional Scene. In your 40s, these no longer seem necessary. For starters, you’re not invited to weddings anymore. And you and your partner know your ritual arguments so well, you can have them in a tenth of the time.
Forgive your exes, even the awful ones. They were just winging it, too.
When you meet someone extremely charming, be cautious instead of dazzled. By your 40s, you’ve gotten better at spotting narcissists before they ruin your life. You know that “nice” isn’t a sufficient quality for friendship, but it’s a necessary one.
People’s youthful quirks can harden into adult pathologies. What’s adorable at 20 can be worrisome at 30 and dangerous at 40. Also, at 40, you see the outlines of what your peers will look like when they’re 70. …
It’s O.K. if you don’t like jazz.
When you’re wondering whether she’s his daughter or his girlfriend, she’s his girlfriend.”
“it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our cancelled plans
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our ignored voicemails
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our bi-annual trips home
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our over-drafted bank account
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of these fancy cocktails
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our late night phone minutes with exes
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our lazy cab rides home
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our half-read longreads and full-read horoscopes
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our dry-clean only shirts
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our Marked Unread emails
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our Twitter drafts
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our missed calls from Mom
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our broker’s fee
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our Likes
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our mostly walked morning run
it’s okay, we’re more than the sum of our cancelled plans”
“'Nothing in life matters quite as much as you think it does while you are thinking about it' except loud noise and chronic pain. Everything else is details.”