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A Bad News-Habit

To begin, this post is not meant to be a political discussion. I am not inviting dissension, discussion, or even an echo chamber about the actual news of the day. I have no desire to go down that rabbit hole. I have very strong opinions about politics, but for now, I’m keeping those to myself. That is not the point of this post and I don’t want my actual message to get garbled up within the news itself.

I’ve developed a problem recently. It’s a problem I think many others share these days. It’s a bad news-habit. I don’t mean I’m in the habit of getting into “bad news.” What is bad is the habit itself. Ever since January 6th and all that transpired that day in Washington D.C. (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, congratulations for truly insulating yourself from the news), I have been compulsively reading the news. Mentally, I’m speculating about all the things that happened and all the things I anticipate happening moving forward. I’m looking for what’s next, looking for updates, looking for a semblance of security for the future. It all just seems so uncertain.

The news evokes a wide range of emotions for me. There’s anger, certainly. There’s fear. There’s sadness. Sometimes, there are positive emotions sprinkled in, like hope and relief, but it’s mostly negative. My choice of news sources has run the gambit of perspectives, just because I want to know what they’re saying on all sides of the political spectrum. I recognize that my ability to influence or change anything is fairly nil. If I consider the Serenity Prayer, which I often do in times of turbulence, I feel compelled to be a spectator. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. My action item was voting in November. I did my part, but that still doesn’t quell this uncertainty and anxiety that is brewing in my heart.

Perhaps I’ve read too many dystopian novels or studied too many disturbing events in world history for me to commit to going cold turkey from my news-habit. I don’t want to be blind-sided. I want to be informed. But I also don’t need to check it every time I sit down to a moment for myself. If my children are quietly playing in front of me and do not require my absolute attention, I need to build up the restraint and self-control to not see what are the latest updates or who said what about current events.

I’ve listened to several people share their opinions and interpretations. Perhaps my favorite right now is Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former Republican governor of California who is originally from Austria. He brings in the most interesting perspective because of his formative experiences. There are news anchors, talk shows, pundits, regular folks like you and me, random celebrities, comedians, and, of course, the politicians themselves. I read what they say, sometimes agreeing or disagreeing, depending on who said what and discussing it with no one except my husband.

Like I said at the start, this post is not about the news itself. I share this because I’m fairly certain I’m not the only person who has picked up a bad news-habit over the last few days. To show you are not alone, comment below with a simple emoji, meme, or picture to convey how well you are handling your recent news consumption. Refrain from actual comments for now. We’ll save the political discourse for another day and another post.


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