Buying a 50-year-old home has its challenges. There are surprises. But we’re so excited about downsizing our lives AND our stress that we’re starting to take them — one by one — in stride. Living in a house half the size is glorious because everything’s so close at hand. Yesterday I caught myself jogging joyfully up the short little hallway. Tomorrow, skipping.
The first surprise was trains. I didn’t expect that. In this peaceful little neighborhood, I expected, well, peace. So the first time I heard that familiar whistle, my mind went on high alert. Conversation with husband. Me: “Oh no, a train.” Him: “Oh boy, a train.” Turns out he lived by the tracks in his youth and really loves the sound. I suspect, however, it’s all related to the many teenage high jinxes he and his friends pulled off, involving outhouses on the tracks I believe. But I digress.
Being awakened at 3:08AM by a train whistle was music to his ears. I, on the other hand, expected quiet, counted on quiet. Especially in the middle of the night. Earplugs saved my sanity those first few nights.
Fast forward 10 days. Trains are no longer my enemy. I’ve tried hard to see this from my husband’s point of view. His obvious delight over “hear that train a coming” has worked like magic to chink away my noise aversion. Once I could see that it as something to be celebrated instead of an intrusion, it stopped bothering me at all. Locals tell me that you don’t even hear it after awhile. Speedy adjustment has been guaranteed.
I’ve been living with soothing quiet for so long that every new noise was noticeable. I’m anxious to start my new life with gusto, so I’m happy to report that occasional barking, distant traffic hum, airplanes — and trains — no longer get my juices flowing. They are all part of the ambient noise of our new nest and a small price to pay for the comfort and convenience we’ve found here. The best part of all is that we now live in a university town where spirits are high and energy is very uplifting.
I’ve been caught by expectations before. Having high ones inevitably leads to disappointment. Now that I don’t expect quiet, the mixture of sounds inherent to normal family living aren’t nearly as stressful. We all have expectations to a certain extent, but the trick is to be flexible. If you can’t change the circumstance, there’s usually a way to change the way you look at the circumstance. Perspective is everything… I’m living proof.