Weaning Myself Off Politics

I’m a bit of a hermit online.  I don’t use social media except for this blog. The only place I recently still interacted with people online was in YouTube comments, and one of my resolutions for this year was to stop doing even that, which I kept. I don’t need to deal with responding or debating with people I don’t know.

But I had a lot of time off work recently, almost three weeks in a row and my biggest addiction came back big time: Politics. But in my defense, with such a weird, depressing, surreal, stupid, crazy election, how could I *NOT* let the frustrating Time Vampire back into my life?

But I am making a resolution for next year right now, to get away from it.  Two main reasons:

  • I don’t like getting upset over a bunch of things which largely don’t affect me, and which I can do nothing about whatsoever. It depresses me. I can feel myself get noticeably upset after reading about it or watching political TV. Politics makes us fear the worst, and worry about things that haven’t even happened yet, and may never happen.
  • It’s a major time suck; political TV, radio shows, articles, interviews. I shudder to even think of how much time I’ve wasted on it. Compared to most people I have a lot of free time, but I’d rather spend it by getting through my to-be-read pile, taking walks or practicing my classical guitar. These are things I CAN control, things in my own life, things which are pleasurable. All that other stuff? It’s going to happen whether I get upset about it or not.

Now of course I’ve told myself all of these things before, and managed to follow my own advice for certain lengths of time. But with this election I really dove in head first.  This is something I have to actively regulate in an on-going fashion.

I’m going to start with some digital housekeeping: deleting all of my political bookmarks (over 50) and unsubscribe from any political YouTubers. This will take care of 99% of it, and since I don’t use social media I’m far ahead of most people in this fight.

(…I’ve still somehow got to stop my fingers from tuning the channel to CNN when I pick up the TV remote, it’s as automatic as forming a C chord on my guitar.  If it was up to me I’d get rid of the TV altogether, but my partner wants it.)

I’ll close by saying that I understand why many people are concerned about the outcome of the election.  This country seems determined to go through a major crisis. It’s true I am a white male and maybe have less to worry about than others, but I am gay and live in the south so I understand to some extent what it is like being in a minority.  I don’t know what the future holds, but I know what I can and can’t control in my life.

And to those who say I’m not being civic-minded, fine. Yeah, this is for my own stress-level and happiness. But if you think about it you’ll have to admit, I’m being far more realistic about my scope of influence.

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