I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating this week. My wife is teaching color guard twelve hours a day, so I have some free time on my hands. I’ve spent most of it writing, reading, and examining my own spiritual beliefs, which seem to be shifting.
On Saturday, I found myself in a state of distress. I believe the idea of changing something so personal (or maybe, no longer ignoring it), combined with general anxiety from the world and my loud, stinky neighbors created a perfect storm of panic. I couldn’t deal with it anymore. As I found myself bouncing room-to-room trying to find some relief from my very anxiety-ridden thoughts, I sat down to meditate/pray/think. One thought came to mind: it’s time to hear less.
There is so much noise in the world. Not just physical noise pollution, but so many opinions, hot takes, and what not. I read somewhere that on Norm McDonald’s last comedy special, he mentioned how people back in the day weren’t so opinionated. They had like three opinions and those were about food. I miss those days.
I do a good job of avoiding the news, but I still see comments everywhere. Reddit, YouTube, Mastodon, etc. These large groups will always contain negativity, and I can’t deal with it anymore. Recently, I found myself looking at a simple post on reddit about television shows, and I see an opinion on the show Evil, which I’m enjoying a lot. It was negative, and for whatever reason, that negative thought stuck in my brain. Am I stupid for liking this show? Was this anonymous commenter, right? Had the show jumped the shark?
That stupid comment put all sorts of doubt into my mind, none of which were helpful. I see opinions like this all day long while I’m online, and while I enjoy opinions from my friends and people I have things in common with, I’m just done with this anonymous negativity online. So, I finally pulled the plug on reddit. I deleted my account and apps. I went ahead and took out Mastodon and installed comment blocker extensions for big sites like YouTube. I still want to enjoy comments on smaller blogs and places where “real” people interact, but these quick bites amongst the sea of people I’m over.
Every day we are badgered with so much information. I feel like I do a decent job at filtering most of it out, but there is a time when the negatives are outweighing the benefits. I feel like I passed that threshold this weekend and ya know, five days later I do feel a little better. It’s not a dramatic improvement, but every little bit helps.