Prior to leaving for my vacation more than a week ago, I wrote about how burnt out I felt, and how much I needed to unplug from the world and its ugliness. Well, I made sure of it. I visited a place where I had no service, and there was no talk of politics or world events.
But when I plugged into Twitter four days later and saw news of Puerto Rico and the Graham-Cassidy health bill, I immediately shut it off. I haven’t read the news since. That doesn’t mean I don’t care; I care too much. That’s why this past year has been tumultuous for my physical and emotional health. The constant tide of health policy warranted that vacation alone.
And that week away from the news helped me find some inner peace again. It reminded me that I could be happy with the “little” wins, that I could still physically thrive in this unsure health landscape, and that I could love among the worst of circumstances. So, when I returned to DC a week ago, I decided I wasn’t ready to handle the news just yet.
Ignorance is Bliss
Maybe ignorance is bliss? Ever since I took World History as a freshman in high school, I wanted to be more informed about world events. I wanted to be educated and cognizant of varying perspectives. This eventually led me to the study of psychology and how we arrive at and interpret those perspectives. Living in DC, I feel I am the most informed I have ever been. I like to think it’s the educated and insightful network I’ve surrounded myself with.
But some days, I want to take a break from that network. And for one week, I gave myself that opportunity. I realized I had forgotten what it means to be happy. I had forgotten what it means to be at peace. For one week, I connected with individuals of varying ages, and while still being cognizant of the world, I was able to see past the pain and trauma and just be. For a moment, we could all just be.
I knew it would be challenging to bring back this peace to DC. I didn’t really attempt to, but I did promise myself that I would look out for my own mental health and let myself come to terms with the world’s events in my own time. Only then when I had unearthed my strength and felt I was ready could I really face the insurmountable reality.
It’s been a week, and I haven’t read any of my newsletters. I haven’t checked Twitter, and I haven’t re-subscribed to my news notifications. The Graham-Cassidy bill didn’t come to a vote, and while I missed this entire saga, I’m not sorry. I’m just glad we won. I’m just glad there’s still hope. But when I think of the anxiety and detriment previous bills caused me, I don’t regret my decision to check out.
I Find Strength in Others
Yes, I still want to be informed, and I still want to be educated, but at what cost? When everything happening today seems so personal, how can we continue to find strength in the day? I find strength in other people. When I cannot handle the events of the world, I look at my colleagues and friends and family and strangers who find some inner way to handle the demons and carry on. I find strength in that.
Humanity gives me hope, but so does my own resilience. And if my survival means I must choose to ignore the latest ramblings from Trump about the NFL, then I’m okay with that. Some days, there are more important matters that matter than what we may find in the news.