Silence and Stillness

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available by clicking here, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website:

Now, on to my blog:

Monkey with hand over mouthA friend recently mentioned that she had attended a retreat on the topic of silence and stillness.  What a concept!

All my life I have had trouble with being silent and being still. My interpretation of silence on the part of others in my presence meant that they were unhappy or bored with me. So, to ease my discomfort, I would fill the silence with chatter.  Of course, that meant animation–the opposite of stillness–even if just body language.  It was an exhausting enterprise, but I had no control over it; I did it without thinking–a compulsion. 

I remember the turning point.  I was driving with my then boyfriend when I noticed that he had become very quiet.  I thought he was angry at me, because that’s how my ex-husband used to behave–the silent treatment, a cruel form of punishment.  I went through a mental back-and-forth with myself, vowing not to be the first to speak.

Who does he think he is?  He’s not going to get away with pulling that crap on me.  I’m not going to have that in my life again.  Yadda, yadda, yadda.

I was nervous, anxious, and worked myself into a defensive state.  After a little while, my boyfriend made some inane remark such as, “look at that tree over there.” I was amazed.  What I thought was going to grow into a big argument was just him being quiet.  I had never realized that anyone could be quiet deliberately with no other motive.

It is very difficult to change a behavior pattern that took years to perfect.  Although I’m still a work in progress, I’ve slowly gotten better with being quiet.  My inclination is to fill those silences, but now I can stop myself.  Sometimes, it requires a mental dialogue (I do a lot of those) that my role doesn’t have to be the entertainment committee–that it’s okay for me to just remain silent.

These days, I seem to crave quiet and calm more and more. I cherish my down days where I can pad around my house alone with no appointments, deadlines, or obligations.  The space to spend my time reading, writing, thinking, and whatever else strikes me has become precious. I surprise myself with this new outlook; it’s so different from my former self.  There is a peacefulness I didn’t have when I was younger.

Try adding periods of silence and stillness to your life.  Schedule time for it if it doesn’t come naturally.  Embrace it instead of fighting it.  It is cleansing, calming, and healing.


Please forward my blog to anyone who might be interested and post it on your Facebook, Twitter and other social media. To reprint any material, contact me for permission at: If you want to be automatically notified when I post a new blog, click on the “Follow” button in the upper right corner of this page and fill in the information. To read my other blog posts, scroll down on this page or click on “Recent Posts” or “Archives” under the Follow button. To opt out of receiving this blog, contact me at the aforementioned email address, let me know, and I’ll remove you from the list.

Photo credit (modified by user): Eric Kilby via Visualhunt /  CC BY-SA


Filed under active seniors, Baby boomers, gerontology, healthy aging, longevity, reinvention, retirement, second acts, seniors, successful aging, wellness

4 responses to “Silence and Stillness

  1. Roger Trammell

    …a good one LGG. It’s hard to hear our inner voice when it’s being drowned out by our chatter.

  2. Marlene

    A wise message, nicely written.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s