Silence is still golden…


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/09/2021 (496 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Summer is officially over. An election has come and gone. A pandemic continues. I’m not sure why, but autumn feels more important than usual this year. Maybe it’s because it’s been such a challenging time, and new beginnings generally bring hope. With the stressors of these last many months, we need hope.

I celebrate my 58th birthday in September, grateful to have made it this far, knowing full well that many in this world don’t have that opportunity. More than ever now I’m learning about the value of time.  

In my younger days I was often the first to share my opinion, on this topic or that. Later I had the privilege of being able to share my opinions in writing and get paid to do that. With social media at the centre of the universe for many of us, I’d share my views about current issues and other hot topics.  

Photo by Janine LeGal Refraining from interacting too often social media has given correspondent Janine LeGal time to enjoy some of the finer things in life.

More recently, I’ve come to learn the value of silence, of not sharing every opinion I have, but instead, saying nothing at all, and following the wisdom of an old friend who told me many years ago,

“If you’re not adding something of value to the discussion then perhaps silence is a wiser and kinder choice.”

I hear those words in my head a lot lately, while reading others’ eagerly shared thoughts and opinions often resulting in disputes. We can’t avoid disagreements but we can certainly give more thought to our role in them.    

The expression “pick your battles” comes to mind. When I choose not to participate or engage in situations I know will only result in further conflicts, I add quality of time to my days in a big way.   

Not engaging in heated social media discussions has freed up my time considerably.

Every day I now have more time for my favourite things. Birdwatching is one of those. The bluejays and giant crows are returning in full force as the geese contemplate leaving for warmer places. I listen to music or enjoy time in our little backyard sanctuary. Refraining from online criticisms has freed up more time to spend on my potted tomatoes, herbs and flowers, and to prepare delicious meals and sit back to watch movies and documentaries.  

Being more selective and conscious about how I spend my time allowed my partner and I to host numerous barbecues and outdoor get-togethers this summer after extended periods of isolation. The sheer joy of being able to gather and spend time with friends and family reminded me of what really matters.  

Much has been written about the divisions and conflicts related to the pandemic, politics and every other issue affecting our world. There are strong opinions everywhere. It’s hard not to have them.

But just because we can share them doesn’t always mean we should. I’d rather have hope that we can get through these tough times together and use my time towards that goal.

Janine LeGal

Janine LeGal
St. Boniface community correspondent

Janine LeGal is a community correspondent for St. Boniface who also writes the These Old Houses column for our Community Homes section.

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