I have been an avid public radio listener from high school on. I would listen every morning and every evening, and later all day long at my studio. I had to stop listening to NPR's news reports and daily shows after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was deja vu all over again, and I just really could not take it anymore. I was totally pissed off and depressed by noon, a deadly combination for any human being, much less someone trying to make pretty things.
I started checking in on NPR again in the last year, mostly to follow election coverage. I've even been falling back into old habits, setting my clock to 91.7 so when I wake up, I'm listening to NPR. This morning I woke up in bed alone, my cat staring at me from the bathroom as she does almost every morning. My husband is out of town, and I was drowsily listening to a woman in Ohio talking about how she's been unemployed for months and she is probably going to lose her house. I felt very sad for her, and also sad for myself as I realized I'm exposing myself to the Doom and Gloom report and ruining my day before I even get out of bed.
While it's important to be informed, I think exposing oneself to a constant stream of bad news masking itself as information is toxic to the mind and the soul. I know many artists listen to NPR all day in their studios. Three words for you: Turn it off goddammit. That's actually four words. You are poisoning your brain and also convincing yourself that the end of the world is nigh, if only subconciously.
Being happy and optimistic these days is both difficult and neccessary for anybody paying attention to what is going on in the world. Being happy does not mean being placid or content. It just means acceptance. I think the greatest happiness comes from accepting reality. The reality is, we are going through these experiences that one could catergoize as difficult and a bit scary, because we don't know exactly where we are going to wind up.
I have faith that we will wind up in a better place, a place more grounded in reality. I believe that because I am working everyday to keep myself grounded in the present reality, and not allow myself to spin out in fear and anxiety. Some people think fear is the most logical reaction to have to our present conditions, and if you listen to the news, one could believe the whole country is running scared. I think we have to be stronger than that. Being scared is easy. When you're scared, you're helpless and you don't really have to do anything. Being optimistic and happy is the bravest thing that any of us can do, and the most difficult. Try it today.