To support my sanity and my positive view of life, I’ve taken up the practice of vacationing from the news. Rather than being glued to the networks seven day a week, I watch the news three days a week.
If I want to see what’s going on in my world, I step outside my door and drive into town. It’s peaceful there. People on Main Street are going about their daily routines: shopping, running errands, going to work, grabbing a bite to eat, perhaps heading to the Spa to work out. They are friendly, courteous and helpful. No one’s shouting, no one’s fighting. From the corner of my eye, I see an occasional scowl. And I hear an occasional harsh word. But that’s the exception, not the rule.
I’m neither naïve nor ignorant. I know there is harshness in the world. I know that there are people who step outside their door into a world of hunger, sickness and violence. And I know that it’s important for me to be aware of what lies beyond my happy, safe zone. That’s why I watch the news three days a week. It matters that I know when injustice is occurring. It’s necessary for me to know when people are hurting or in need. It guides me to make decisions as to how and when I can be of help. Can I offer assistance through volunteering my services, or providing financial contributions? Can I make my voice heard through calling my legislative representative, or in November through my vote? Yes, being well informed is a must.
But Breaking News is a business. It keeps money flowing to the networks and their sponsors. Sensationalism keeps us riveted to the television. If we take daily doses, it can mold our perception of reality into thinking that harshness, cruelty, and verbosity are the norm in our land. It can send our emotions reeling in the direction of fear, anger, even rage.
I’m not living in a fairytale world of denial. I acknowledge the existence of negativity, but I hold firmly to the belief that positive reality exists in greater proportion. So on the days when I’m vacationing from the news, I step outside my door to see what the world is about.
Author of You Can Go Home Again