You know the feeling. If you see one more all red, all caps “Breaking News” flash, you’re gonna blow. There’s too much coming at us too often and it’s happening all the time. Where before there would be an interesting story once or twice a month, now they’re coming once or twice a day, sometimes more. Here are 4 signs you’re on CNN overload and what to do…
You’ve become a news junkie – Ahh… the good old days when I watched the news at my own discretion. Not anymore. The world has become a soap opera with more plot twists than Downton Abbey. I can’t turn away. Beyond that, I read 10 times as many publications – The New York Times, Guardian, HuffPost, Washington Post, Vox, Medium, Mad Magazine, the Farmer’s Almanac…anything and everything to stay caught up.
I read Op-Eds by the buckets – for understanding, commiseration, and sometimes a laugh. There’s nothing better than a writer who hits that sweet spot – saying all the right things at the right moment.
You’re glad you’re not a journalist – There must be triage units by now set up in broadcast centers. I picture reporters laying on gurneys with oxygen masks, taking deep breaths. As a small-town reporter, I learned you have to know about issues (for me, school septic systems and finance board problems) before you can report on them.
I can’t imagine having to decipher the daily torrent of national stories — Russian connections, nuclear war, hurricanes, terror attacks, senate hearings, elections, racial tension, marches, and protests. Some of them all on the same day… at the same time! It’s exhausting to listen to. I can’t imagine having to make it all understandable.
You wake up worrying – I’ve always been skittish in the mornings. These days, I find myself checking the news as soon as I get up. Is the world still spinning? Can I get breakfast or am I going to open my door to some nuclear winter that happened while I slumbered?
The strange thing is that many times something big did happen. Another tweet feud is brewing. Some world leader is majorly pissed at another. Yet another senseless bombing or shooting or stabbing or hammering took place. Half the time, I want to pull the covers back over my head.
You compare this news to your childhood news – I grew up during Vietnam, which was no garden party. But it feels different today. I don’t remember so much hatred – between races, religions, genders, and regions. It seems to be escalating. We need a red Easy Button to push and make everyone calm down.
I see how my children and grandchildren will grow up in a more volatile, unpredictable world. Yes, the 60’s were scary with their nightly military death toll, race riots and political assassinations. But children today see this (and sometimes far worse) broadcast daily. I worry for them.
In the meantime… what do we do? How can we escape the constant litany of problems we can’t solve and events we have no control over?
Guess what? I found it. The solution was right outside my door, right before my eyes. I only had to look away from my television, computer or cell phone for a few moments.
Yes…I found the answer in my back yard.
I found it in the eternal world, otherwise known as nature.
I feel this realm when I see a beautiful blue sky, or hear the wind, or run my hand along the rough bark of some old tree. I see it in insects, or the lush greenery of Connecticut. I see it when a red cardinal flutters by or fall leaves are at their most gorgeous or hear the lazy hum of a bumblebee.
Corny? Maybe. But this world was here long before us and will be here long after we’re gone.
Nature is indifferent, which I find strangely soothing. Generations from now all these urgent issues will be in history books – no doubt, many as cautionary tales. Others will be forgotten.
Somehow we’ll survive. It won’t be easy. But we’ll make it, as generations have before. And generations will after us.
Ahh… I think, taking one last sniff of the apple-scented fall air. Thank you, Mother Nature for helping me turn away from yet another, urgent “Breaking News” story.
I needed that.
How do you escape the constant barrage? Comments are always welcome and if you like, please share. Thank you!