There are several things that make me anxious. Lack of money is an obvious one. Lack of time, lack of sleep, bad hair day, fear of rejection, not knowing what to say, not being able to see my loved ones... the list is gigantic, and that probably says a lot about the person I am. But the one thing that probably bothers me the most is lack of silence. Not being able to hear my own thoughts and make sense of them, or absorb information and understand my own feelings, drives me crazy - and generally, I can only do this when there's silence around me (or something near silence. People working on their own things with low background music, is fine - but not ideal). After all this years living in London I've come to realise that silence is probably the only and most difficult commodity to obtain, of all the others: money, status, security,family, friends, they all will probably come to everyone at a certain point in life, if they work towards getting them. But silence, in a city like London, only becomes harder and harder to reach with time. Look at my own life: I have a partner who lives with me and (now) four flatmates and two cats; I work full-time in a environment full of people and telephones and and music, day and night. The public transport is similar to warehouses packed full of suffocating chickens, and on buses there's always someone imposing their own repulsive musical tastes (normally hip-hop and R&B) on everyone else via their mobile phones on loud speakers. At home, the TV is constantly switched on, normally plugged in on the dvd player and the x-box, and when it's not, then the iTunes is playing something on one of the 6 Macs currently in the house. Outside, there's the traffic, the people talking, the background music literally everywhere you go... you get the picture.
Right now, while writing this post, two different songs are playing in the background: amy winehouse in the main background, and a dodgy r&b tune from 3 years ago on the cloackroom man's laptop speakers.
I've tried to train myself to switch off and concentrate on my readings and writings while the world shoots and bangs around my ears, but after 4 years, I don't think I've improved much. I remember working in magazine and newspaper offices and nearly crying from not being able to write good pieces because the constant noise was so distracting. It might have been one of the reasons why I gave up the journalistic career so easily: because I wouldn't be able to work competently amidst everyday chaos. I am one of those people that NEEDS to be in close touch with the inner workings of their own minds, so I can be fully satisfied with whatever comes out of it. Not many people need or even understand this urgent need for alone/silent time, so I've always had a hard time trying to make the people in my own circle comprehend my demands. For the man in my life to understand that I wanted to be left alone sometimes, it took a few years. With friends, it was me who had to learn to cherish time with them without worrying if I would eventually get time for myself as well. Sometimes, I would simply ignore phone calls, messages, invitations, or simply withdraw mentally from a social gathering when physically I still had to be there (like seating in the sofa with the paper when there's 20 people talking around you. Horrible, I know). As a result, obviously, I 've been branded anti-social, intolerant, unadaptable, whatever is associated with people who have a weakness for isolation.
Remember that book I've been trying to write? It hasn't gone much far, and I blame the permanently disturbing noise that is part of daily life in London.
And in the end, I don't think I'm asking too much. I know that if I get 2 hours on my own every other day, I'll be the happiest and most sociable bunny in the world - because ater isolation, I need to interact with other people in order to dish out whatever my mind has decided to work on.
Maybe I should just start waking up at 5 am.