Got a dog, or even a cat? Here’s an experiment. Spend a week ranting at it, sounding angry, tearful, reproachful, unreasonable, or near hysterical, pointing in random directions. Note its reactions. My dog would be a nervous wreck. If I kept it up she’d doubtless adjust but she’d definitely lose her bounce. She’d even possibly start getting defensively aggressive or go off her food. I wouldn’t dream of doing it to her.
I don’t do it to myself, either. That’s not as easy as it sounds. I can refuse to watch the news, but there’s headlines bursting through on my phone, in the margins of my websites, trickling across the bottom of my screen whenever and wherever I’m online. There’s Twitter, Facebook, and those friends who message any news atrocities they feel I might have missed because I, you know, won’t watch the news. I do want to hear from them, I want to know what’s going on in their lives, but it seems all that is going on is the bad news authorised by the media for circulation and now I’ve hurt their feelings and they don’t message at all. Personal updates to people who know and like us are it seems binned because somewhere else someone you never met and will never meet has the media’s attention and is the only suitable topic for the day.
I keep up with local events because they directly affect the bubble in which I live my life. I am aware there’s stuff going on elsewhere that is pretty crappy for those experiencing it, in Africa, Australia, the Americas, the further reaches of this European continent, in jungles and tundras, in what should be the untroubled depths of the sea, and in little hellholes created by my fellow man to torture their fellow men or the animals with which we share this planet. If I can’t do anything but feel sick or angry or fret uselessly, I don’t want to know. I resist knowing. I won’t know. Fingers in ears, lalalalalala.
I know no man is an island, I know I should ask not for whom the bell tolls, I know a lockdown cuts off my income, and don’t even want to speculate what a war would do to it. I mean that literally. I won’t speculate about it. As a child I was told “don’t trouble trouble until trouble troubles you” so I try not to. Nearly everything bad in my life has happened without warning anyway. If I’d known in advance, could I have stopped it happening? No. Just been fraught in advance about that event, and about a whole lot of other stuff which actually didn’t happen, but not because my fretting stopped them happening. All my fretting did was damage me a little bit more. Well, that’s useful. Not. All about ME.
It can be all about you. Stick your fingers in your ears and cut out the world for three days. The world won’t end – or if it does, not because you refused to agonise. Just say no to anything outside your customised bubble. If constructive interaction, rather than useless, destructive, global, empathy, puts a wag back in your tail – re-stocking the world, one person at a time, with a little selfish optimism and cautious contentment might, just might, be healthier than flooding it with multi-attack negativity, if only for that one person. From tiny acorns … Worth a try. Three days.
I don’t think I have ever stuffed so many little sayings into one blog before.