We were sitting down to lunch in Sant’Angelo, on the island of Ischia, Italy. It was a lovely, fashionable spot right on the water. Stephanie and I were looking at our beautiful meal, taking it all in. We were in the throes of a day-long, guided visit to the island, and we were blown away by how much we loved the place.
At some point, during lunch, I looked out over the sea, observing the deep, blue water, seeing some folks diving off the back of their boat way off yonder. Suddenly, I realized, it was quiet. So, so quiet. Eerily quiet.
After the shock of this realization, I then treasured it, closing my eyes listening to the silence. It was the most quiet place I’ve ever been in my life. And it was truly mesmerizing. And this was by design. Sometimes Italy operates on slow time, and the part of Sant’Angelo we were in was pedestrian-only.
It was supposed to be chill.
Flash forward to writing this, and I’m back in Chicago. In the few minutes I’ve been writing, I’ve heard commuter train whistles, the ‘L’ pounding over the Wells Street Bridge, countless sirens, and the honks of city streets. It was anything but quiet. But it was glorious too. I adore the pulse of a city.
Yes, I love them both.
I’m actually quite proud that I love them both. That I can appreciate them both. That I’m mature enough to revel in both scenarios, basking in the gloriousness of two, very different scenarios.
There’s a time and place for both. Sometimes you opt for one or the other, often you have no choice. To be mature, to be worldly, you have to learn to accept both the chaos and the quiet.
And choose to revel in where you find yourself.