A stream of water rushes through the open faucet in your mango-pomegranate scented bathroom, sighing and sputtering as you turn the knobs right and left. Your light switch jumps to attention as you flick it upward and your desk lamp hums faithfully as it stands tall over the stacks of post-it notes, wrinkled tissues, and empty mechanical pencils on your desk. Your parents chat about their days at work while their wooden chairs squeak and sing with the shift of their weight, and the sofa groans as you plop down in it after your long day out.
When was the last time you actually took a few seconds out of your day to listen to the sounds around you? To fully register and appreciate all the little sounds that serve as tangible confirmations that the world around us is working with us and for us? Listening is equally as important as communicating, yet our culture is obsessed with talking, shouting, to get our points across on as many mediums as possible. Headlines scream at passive readers, hoping to sway them for or against touchy issues; two-sided discussions fail and unilateral arguments prevail; angry customers mindlessly shout at helpless workers about promotions that do not exist, only to have their brash complaints overpowered in decibels and ferocity by those of another customer one store down in the noisy wreck of a shopping center. And as if surrounding ourselves with all of this wasn’t enough, we can always count on having extremely loud, raunchy music envelop us nearly everywhere we go.
In our information-rich and perpetually noisy communities, we always have to deal with this overabundance of everything, and “too-much” has become the new normal. In our rush to deal with iPhones, multiple email accounts, computers, iPads, tablets, bosses, coworkers, friends, projects, and reading assignments, we often forget to take a second out of the day to really listen to and admire the beautiful sounds, no matter how small, in our lives.
Just like many other members of the Class of 2018, I busy myself with tying the final knots of my ending adolescent life, working out the last weeks of my high school job and dealing with my impending separation from dear, dear friends whom I’ve spent nearly all my life with. But in my anticipation for the loud bang of college life, I forget to really enjoy the small sounds that have vividly colored my life so far: the celebratory laughter of my best friend as she wins a silly bet, the kitchen exploding with life as my mom scrambles to cook our favorite foods, and even the short breath of air that rushes out of my dad’s nose as he is about to reprimand me.
This may be the last summer we have to excitedly waste as we transition to college. Listen to and remember everything and everyone that has helped you get to where you are today and never forget these precious sounds that will forever be a part of who you are. And when we get thrown, as we all inevitably will, into the incessantly noisy rush of college life, we should remember to find time to not only listen to but also learn from the sounds around us.
Today, take a few seconds to really listen to the world around you – you’ll love what you end up hearing.
Image Credit: “Neon Lighting.” Flickr: Creative Commons. Flickr, n.d. Web. 29 July 2014. <https://flic.kr/p/nz2x5i>.