Noise and Well-being
Previously before 6 am, the noise of vehicles, sometimes large ones, garbage trucks or the construction ones carrying mixed concrete or bulldozers or cars used to make me spring up from the cozy early morning sleep like the bread popping out from the toaster. I never used to know why I am not sleeping when I am still groggy.
With the virus, I can hear less vehicles, or even construction activity around. Most of the labour gone from Cities and most construction activities slowed, the noise of those cutting machines have died. I can wake up fresh after a deep sleep.
It is almost like you are in a City living a village life. Quality of life ironically should be better when compared with the pre-corona days. Probably this is how living should be. We have missed this all along.
In my hectic travel days a decade ago, I used to see a lot of sleepy looking people in the airports, checking mobiles, sipping coffee, in the middle of the night and early mornings. I used to think how this economy is chewing up everyone. We are fodder for the economic machine. I don’t know if we need it or it needs us. At some point the original goal with which everything began seem to disappear always, be it economics or politics.
Well-being is what we probably strive for always. Now we are talking about digital well-being. Its an oxymoron. How can well-being be anything digital ? The fact that you have to be taken care of from looking at your mobile frequently means your well-being has lost balance.
Noise in cities majorly affects sleep quality. No matter how many Apps you download to keep track of it. Again the idea of Apps doing this natural thing for you is like trying to seal a leaking pipe. Activity brings noise. Noise keeps you awake and when people are awake, they end up doing some activity, economic or otherwise. This is a vicious cycle that affects the quality of life.
In fact, I dislike the gadgets that make a lot of noise and we use quite a number of them creating noise within the house all day. Your brain gets distracted all the time from its focus. This causes irritation without reason and creates conflicts at home and outside. The irony is, many find it difficult to bear silence. They need to hear some or the other noise to focus.
With less vehicles on the road now, you can hear the birds. You can feel the freshness in the air. You no longer need artificial sounds on your digital clock or phones to wake you up. A robin is screeching outside. Your ears can now hear them.
Our idea of homes and cities must change. With remote working, a large part of services and technology can move away from cities. Buildings can be more scattered across earth. Goods can be made available locally in clusters with a larger distribution network. Cities can become like a cluster of distributed neighbourhoods far apart from one another with a lot of forest in between them. Fear the virus even if it goes away for the good of living life better.
Everything in life is enjoyable as long as there is balance. When it swings wild, you don’t know when you became the swing. Inside everyone of us there is always a tendency to pull us towards extremes. Be it making money or be it merriment. You can be restrained only when there is less noise inside you.
I hope the virus disappears soon but living retains its balance.