I have been struggling to sleep the last couple of nights and been feeling anxious. I think I have an idea why. I allowed myself to consume more media than normal over the last couple of days.
I have been very conscious over the last several months to limit my media exposure. I make sure that I stay away from any screens first thing in the morning and am vigilant about when and where I absorb the news.
We “cut the cord” almost a year ago and I very rarely see cable TV anymore since we do not have it in the house. I like to listen to the radio for music and the couple of stations I listen to don’t broadcast much news. When they do start into any news I generally change the station. Newspapers have become mostly a thing of the past for me except to start fires.
I was in a space recently where I allowed myself to take in three specific forms of media. I saw a cable TV station that had a death toll count in the right hand quarter of the screen. The death total actually changed while I was watching the TV. Is that graphic meant to inform me or to scare me into making sure that I keep watching this particular station in hopes that they will give me the answer to how to stop the rising death count?
I read a newspaper and an article about border crossing and what we are doing to close borders. This wasn’t the border between the US and Mexico-this was a border between states. I can practically see the Vermont border from my home in New York. I do a fair amount of commerce in Vermont because it is convenient for me to shop there due to the proximity. Am I going to need a passport the next time I am going to Bennington?
I listened to a national radio show while I was driving in the evening. I knew I shouldn’t do it but I did. The first three stories at the top of the hour revolved around the global pandemic, the economy, and the crazy hurricane season we are having. I was driving through a rural area and the darkness and the news made me feel very alone.
I understand the need to feel informed, especially at a time like this. We should know what we need to do to be safe and to make sure we follow regulations as best we can. But does this mean that there needs to be a tracker in the corner of the TV screen telling me how many people are dying today? At least put a competing tracker in the other corner keeping me up to date on the number of births today.
I think to myself that I am paying a price to be “informed”. That price is my peace of mind. If consuming news puts me into a constant state of fight or flight, then any information that I am consuming is not going to be put to good use.
I sometimes wonder If be being “uninformed” means that I am able to be in control of my emotions and my own thoughts. I wonder if “uninformed” means that I am able to move forward in the world with kindness towards the people I meet instead of shuffling forward in fear. Does “uninformed” mean that I am able to better get a handle on controlling the only thig that I can truly control- my thoughts, my emotions, my reactions to this world? If being “uninformed” means that I can get a good night sleep and wake up refreshed and excited at what the day is going to present to me, then paint me “uninformed”.