Express Yourself

The Case for Maybe Shutting Up Once in a While

There’s something to be said about saying nothing

Elisabeth Ovesen | NYT Bestselling Author
Human Parts
Published in
5 min readJan 8, 2021

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Photo: CSA Images/Getty Images

As I recently looked back at all I’d endured in 2020 — and in the years before it — I was proud to exclaim that not only had I survived, I was thriving! Because of a series of tough decisions that had to be made as my family and I prepared for at least two years of a raging pandemic, racial and political turmoil, and economic instability, we ended the year on an upswing. To boot, because of our planning and several huge personal shifts — including a cross-country move — many new and promising personal and professional opportunities had arisen in recent months.

I am a strong believer in the shifting of energies, that when we make even one tiny step forward, the universe responds in kind and takes 10 steps forward in our favor. I believe in focusing on solutions and not problems, pivoting in a crisis, making potentially painful sacrifices now as a means to a more joyful future, and staying forward-focused versus looking back at a past that cannot be altered. These beliefs helped me maneuver through what started as a year fraught with personal and professional losses, even before the pandemic hit.

Now, at the beginning of a new year, I’m in an upbeat frame of mind, hopeful for what’s to come — even as the country continues the painful but necessary process of cycling through some of its most pressing challenges, as it always has. As I microdose the rapidly evolving daily news cycle, I don’t know what any of it means for the future. All I know for sure is that nothing lasts forever. Soon after something terrible happens, something wonderful takes its place.

Did I mention how optimistic I am right now?

However, my annoying faith and confidence in the future aren’t rubbing off on everyone around me, and I completely understand why. We won’t all be on the same page at the same time, especially not while the world is on fire. So I’ve found myself alone in my cheer, and this has prompted me to keep my optimism to myself from now on. That’s not to say I feel as if I can’t talk about my joy, good fortune, and hopeful plans for the future, but I don’t want to anymore.

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Elisabeth Ovesen | NYT Bestselling Author
Human Parts

3x New York Times Bestselling Author | 'The House of Ill Repute (Kensington Publishing, 2024)