News Isn’t a Bad Thing – Taken in Moderation

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Feels like it’s been forever since I last wrote. There are times when the mojo takes a detour and finds somebody else to spend its time with. That’s what happened with me last week. I wish I could blame it on work or household chores, but the truth is I wasn’t any busier than normal. Sometimes the brain just needs a break. Of course, some brains need a little less than others.

I’ve learned a couple of things about myself over the past several months. I know, at my age, you’d think I’d have it all pretty much figured out by now. After all, it’s not like I’ve taken on a new identity. But I’m not the same person I was even a year ago. Keeping up with me is like shooting moving targets in a carnival arcade game. Crooked gun and all.

I’ve always felt it’s important to at least stay abreast of current events. People say ignorance is bliss and if that’s true, my oldest daughter should be the happiest person on the planet, at least when it comes to the news. Two hurricanes could hit the Gulf coast in the same week, and she wouldn’t have any idea. I’m not exaggerating. It happened just a few weeks ago.

But you know, there’s something to be said for that. Sure, it keeps you in the dark to a degree, and if you live anywhere near the Gulf coast, that could be an important tidbit of news. But there’s a certain mental relief in not dwelling on things you can’t change that won’t affect your life in any meaningful way over the next few days. Like tonight’s dinner. Does it really matter?

I’ve always felt a need to stay abreast of current events. Not necessarily that I can do anything about them, and I’m certainly not one of those people who changes his 401k investment strategy based on today’s gas prices or who won last week’s debate. I’m not that smart. If I tried playing the market, I’d lose big. Well, not “big” … you have to start big to do that.

Still, I like to know what’s going on in my world. Not for anything more than a sense of being informed and being able to form an educated opinion that nobody still wants to hear. But I’m learning that, the more news I consume, good or bad, the more it weighs on my sanity. And sanity is not one of those things I can afford to spare. Again, you have to start big.

I guess the news itself wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for all the “informed” commentary by people who think we need their opinion to help decipher what we’ve just read or heard. I laugh every time I see a headline that says, “How to watch this week’s debate.” Um … turn on the TV and watch? Duh! Maybe I’m not as smart as I thought I was.

And just in case you missed the real thing, social media is overflowing with opinions on who said what and the underlying “truth” everyone else seems to have missed. Only problem is, most of those “opinions” are somebody else’s – people see something that speaks to their own beliefs and pass it along as gospel to anybody looking for “facts” to support their own opinions.

There are two problems with this. First, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet. That’s a direct quote from Abraham Lincoln. I’ve even seen his picture with those words. And second, you don’t have to know everything about everybody else’s life in order to live your own. It’s reality TV without the script. At some point, you have to seriously ask, “How does this affect me?”

If the answer is simply that it informs you, then put it in perspective and get on with life. If it’s something you can’t possibly change, stop agonizing over it. No amount of worry or anger will make a difference, except to your own mental well-being. And make no mistake, we are in uncharted territory right now, and we need all the marbles we can hold onto.

Being informed is a sign of intelligence. But too much information can clog the pipes and keep you from focusing on what’s really important. Get what you need and move on. Because, one thing you can be sure of, when the dust settles and this is all behind us, you’ll still be left with the life you put on hold in the process.

Remember the Serenity Prayer. There’s a lot of wisdom in those words. Focus on the things you can change and find a way to accept the rest. Storms are an inevitable part of life. But a clear mind and healthy body are your best bet for making it through to the other side.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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