Silence vs. Noise

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I’m a suburban girl. I grew up with trees, backyards and open space. I’d always dreamed about moving to a big city, and it wasn’t until I actually did that I found that I actually missed those aspects of suburban life.

But over time, missing the suburbs was overtaken by the excitement of the city. I realized that I loved being able to go anywhere at anytime by hopping on the subway, and the fact that there are an endless amount of restaurants, bars and neighborhoods to discover. Usually, all the things I’d begun to love about city life quickly faded away when I made a trip home to Maryland, where I’m from, to visit family. I’d usually get home and think Aahh…fresh air, forests and cars not in traffic. But during my most recent trip to Maryland, I caught myself wistfully missing the hustle and bustle of the city, and one major thing in particular.


Staring at the ceiling from my childhood twin bed, I noticed the same deep, dark silence that I grew up with but probably never noticed until I moved away. Normally, I would think quiet would be a good thing, because who doesn’t want quiet while they were trying to fall asleep? But I found myself straining to hear a taxi honking or a teenager cursing. I realized with a start that I had gotten so used to the “New York noise” that it was hard to fall asleep without it.

Where I live in New York is relatively more quiet than a lot of areas, but I usually sleep with a window cracked that lets in the faint sounds of the city. When I first moved, I’d toss and turn and think to myself Does anybody ever sleep in this place?! But now the constant noise throughout the night is oddly…comforting. The comfort comes from knowing that while I’m sleeping, the city really never does, and that it will still be there moving fast when I wake up.

This is one of the many things that has made me realize that maybe I am, in fact, turning into a “city girl.” And then the “suburban girl” in me feels a little sad about that. So then I think, maybe I don’t have to be suburban or city–maybe I can just be me, a product of different worlds and experiences. Because while in my heart there is a special place for the green grass and quiet of my hometown suburbia, there is also a love for my new city’s bright lights and city noise. And that’s just fine by me.


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