I hate the world.
I hate politics.
I hate Trump.
I hate Republicans.
I hate Democrats
I hate the news.
I hate Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.
They’re all games. And I have my “teams.”
I have sides I “root” for.
“And if they don’t win it’s a shame
It’s one, two, three strikes you’re out
At the old ball game.”
But now I’m done.
How many times have I said this?
I still “check” Facebook.
I still “check” the headlines in the the Times and the Post.
I still give them my attention, but only for a short time.
I don’t engage.
That’s what I mean by “checking.” I look but I don’t engage.
I do it like a sports fan checks box scores in the morning. I just want to see who’s up in the standings. And who’s in the cellar.
Then I close the screen and get on with my day.
A certain residue of that “checking” remains in my brain, in my consciousness. And it makes me kinda miserable, and anxious, and sad, and depressed, and bothers my sleep.
So I read Stoicism as an antidote.
The stoics say: Amor fati. Fall in love with reality.
This is too hard.
I hate reality. I don’t love it at all. At least not the reality of the Times and the Post and Twitter and Facebook and Instagram.
But I do love big swatches of reality.
My reality. The reality I have control over and make decisions about.
My own private Idaho.
I love my home most of all.
And when I say “my home” I don’t just mean my house.
I do love that, but much more, I love that there is no strife in my home.
It’s a place of harmony.
I am in a relationship, a partnership, where I feel seen, understood, heard, loved, considered nd even protected.
I feel in sync, in step, in alignment, in integrity.
And it wasn’t even that hard. I didn’t even have to work at it.
I just found the right person.
So, I love my life. My reality.
Nothing in the news, on Facebook, or Twitter or Instagram can change that. All those things just make a racket in the background. A racket I have the power to MUTE.
But when I don’t mute it, when I pay attention to it, that’s when I start to fill with fear and hate and acrimony.
So I tell myself: stop it. Stop watching. Stop caring. It’s not in your control. You can’t fix it, or change it. It’s a weird game that you don’t want to play. So don’t even watch. It just makes you crazy.
Instead read books.
There’s that saying, Living well is the best revenge.
Go do that. Live well. Eat your greens. Glow vengefully .
Look at those people playing those weird games. They’re all angry and sad and unhealthy. Their faces are contorted with rage and indignation.
They spin lies.
They spew venom.
Why am I paying attention to them?
If nobody watched, they couldn’t even play. They depend on eyeballs to exist, thrive, and grow. Don’t give them yours.
But they appeal to my amygdala, my lizard brain, the part of me that is always afraid. It’s a matter of democracy! It’s a matter of planetary survival! Pay attention, get involved, or perish!
But, if I just pause for just a moment, my pre-frontal cortex, my evolved brain, my sane brain, will eventually come on line and I’ll realize…
I’m being manipulated.
I fell for it.
I need to keep practicing this pausing. I need to practice turning it off. I am not a player. I’m not in this game. I can choose not to watch.
And then do what?
Find a nice recipe and make dinner
Take Stella for a walk
Have coffee with Nikki
Send a Valentine to the grandkids
Clean my space
Iron a shirt
Fill the bird feeders
Also: I can take care of the people I love.
And it turns out I love many people. I love them for who they are: loving friends and parents and grandparents. People with hobbies and interests. People who are motivated and growing. People just like me who are trying to negotiate these times.
People who are struggling, even though we don’t often talk about it, with the same things I’m struggling with.
We’re all in this together.
Nobody gets out alive.
I need to keep reminding myself of the truth of this.
I am in charge of my experience.
I can choose what I consume.
I can choose.
And if I choose to “check” Facebook and the Times and the Post, I need to be aware that I am doing this to myself.
These are self-inflicted wounds.
I am degrading my own brain.
I am poisoning myself.
I have to keep reminding myself of this.
Don’t be stupid, Kath.
Don’t be stupid.