What might one do instead of reading the news?
Welcome to “I’ll Try Anything For A Week,” the new column where I, your editor-in-chief, take your suggestions and try, well, anything. Okay, almost anything. Don’t ask me to jump free-jump, that is not happening.
Imagine this: Someone tells you not to read the news.
Did you imagine it?
I know you did and I know what you thought. “I’d LOVE not to read the news. I’d love to be absolutely ignorant to what’s going on in this dumpster fire of a country.”
Well, to be frank, that is exactly what I thought. I had lots of suggestions from readers for what to try, but not reading the news won by a landslide. (Radical act of self-care is next week.)
So that’s what I did and this is what happened:
I was completely uninformed about what was happening in the world.
(The only thing I did see was an article shared on Facebook that was about a five-and-a-half-foot tapeworm a guy pulled out of his bunghole.)
I did not wake up and check Twitter. I did not ask my husband for a rundown of the latest idiotic thing(s) our president did (I refuse to capitalize president until we get a good one).
I did not hear about Kim Jong Un or any missiles that might potentially explode the entire West Coast.
I saw no terrible police being terrible (or good, for what’s that worth).
I did not read about the government shut-down (I did hear about it from a friend whose husband is in the Navy and not getting paid).
I read nothing. I saw nothing.
And it was F@$KING GREAT.
Here’s the thing: You really can’t know how things in your life are impacting you until you do without them. This applies to things as simple as when you travel and forget your face moisturizer, to when you’re outside and forget you sunglasses, all the way up to when you finally decide to leave your shitty job or your miserable marriage.
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What might one do instead of reading the news? Here's what I did:
I got a massage.
I went to sleep quicker and slept better.
I sat on the beach.
I slept an extra 15 minutes.
I spent an extra half-hour working on my memoir.
I played a game with my kids.
And what did all that feel like? Freedom.
Freedom from the bonds of the terrible shit that’s happening. Freedom from the feeling that I can’t do anything to fix much of anything.
It also felt irresponsible. How would I hold a conversation? How would I make a difference? How would I write about pressing current events? How would I talk to my kids?
Well, how would I? I wouldn’t. That is the answer; I just wouldn’t. So I didn’t.
But I noticed another thing too: When I stopped being obsessed with what is happening in the world, my mental health started to improve. And it was worth it to forsake that for my wellness, my patience, my ability to sleep, and my sanity.