I was in the US during the latter end of the Clinton/Trump campaign in 2016. I recall being bemused that anyone would take Trump seriously. Despite the flawed Democrat candidature, I felt certain common sense would prevail. I think I may even have cried the day of the results.
And I got sucked into the world of news, news updates, opinions, pollsters… I had always taken a healthy interest in world events, but I think this became unhealthy. I’m British, for what that’s worth, and was more invested in US politics than the increasingly bizzare nonsense happening back home.
Disclaimer: I left the UK in 1995 and have not lived there since. I’m not allowed to vote. I’m more European that British. I’d swap my UK passport for a European-wide passport, were such a thing to exist, in a heartbeat.
Four years of increasingly incredulous nonsense in the US, with the UK desperately trying to keep up by launching it’s own brand of ridiculous, Brexit, and I’m now tired of it all. I kept it up through Biden and Harris’ campaign, victory and its aftermath. And now I’m done. Brexit’s a thing. The UK government has lost the plot. I trust Biden and co. to do the right thing. I’m over second-guessing lockdowns and vaccinations. I’m over gawping at conspiracy theorists. I’m over losing sleep about populism. I’m done with feeding my own anxiety.
Obviously, I’m not going to live in a cave. But I’ve uninstalled news apps from mobile devices. My news consumption will be deliberate and healthy. My only notifications are for messages from my currently absent wife. I’ve unfollowed news organsiations on Twitter and – sorry – accounts focussing solely on endless discussions of the same. I’ve only ever used Facebook for it’s original purpose – keeping in touch with friends. If you are not my actual friend, you won’t be a FB ‘friend’.
My social media use is now restricted to promoting my writing (and following writers’ communities), mindfulness and counselling. For the rest, I’m giving myself a brain break. I feel lighter already.