We live on the top floor of our apartment building. The roof has a cooling unit for the building’s A/C that makes a constant whining sound. Imagine someone blowing a vuvuzela into your living room 24/7. The offending noise lasts from April through November, and despite repeated attempts to get the issue fixed, we still suffer through it year after year. We told ourselves we didn’t mind it. Temporary discomfort isn’t a big deal. Every apartment has its quirks, right? But even as we try to ignore it, the noise has been slowly breaking down our sanity.
We didn’t realize how bad it was until recently. One Sunday morning we woke up, lazed around in bed, and noticed it was quiet. Unsettlingly quiet. It took a moment for us to notice the buzzing sound had stopped. A weight lifted off our shoulders. This is what silence feels like! We could open our windows without the droning noise assaulting our ears. Music didn’t have buzzing mingling with the bass line. Our moods dramatically improved. For two blissful hours, we saw what it’s like to not have that noise disrupt our lives. We experienced what it would be like to improve our surroundings. And most importantly, we learned it was worth it. That weekend kicked off the hunt for our new apartment. Without it, we may have continued to live in discomfort even though we deserve better.
Despite what we may believe, we have complete control over our surroundings. Whether it’s our home, our friends and acquaintances, or daily activities, we create our environment. We sit through monotonous meetings, cart ourselves between obligations, and commute for hours because we put ourselves in that situation. No one else does it for us. We may place the blame on others – our boss, local government, or cable TV pundits – but no one has as much control over our lives as ourselves. We owe ourselves to own up to it.
What changes could you make to enhance your everyday life? Are there relationships you would like to strengthen or let go? Do you feel fulfilled by your job? Is there a secret passion you’ve always wanted to explore? Would moving to a new town or state improve your quality of life? We asked ourselves these questions and brainstormed how we could address them. Instead of staying on autopilot, we sought out ways to incorporate the things and people we love into our everyday actions. Now our days feel more gratifying. We feel closer to our loved ones, and we engage ourselves in activities that make us happy. Our surroundings are now enhanced for the better.
It takes time to make these changes. Few people claim that improving your surroundings is easy. Sometimes it’s downright difficult. Big questions about your career, your lifestyle, and your well-being are terrifying to confront. Even something as small as moving to a new home can send someone into a tailspin! There is nothing more important than doing what is necessary to live a fulfilling life. When you improve your surroundings, other things tend to follow. Take it from us – we’ve seen it.
Don’t worry about things outside your control. Focus on what you can control – your health, your relationships, and your happiness. Everything else will fall into place.
~ Ms. RW