A while back I decided to take a more active approach to my media consumption. This is different from entering an echo chamber, the focus is on avoiding junk instead of offense.
It’s easy to passively consume lots of things without meaning to, and I often get overstimulated and overwhelmed by the TV, the internet, the human beings around me and all the draws on my attention. Attention is where the money is, and everything is clamoring for it.
But it’s a finite resource. We only have so much energy. What we invest it in matters, we are what we eat.
But my first move was driven by a base urge, to be annoyed less. Once upon a time, I was a singer, and I can’t deal with the way some people get paid millions to sound. Especially guys with higher voices, they tend to whine through their noses. It’s awful.
I decided I wasn’t going to fight it anymore, as soon as I heard that sound I’d downvote it in my streaming service. Didn’t matter what it was. Gradually I removed a bunch of annoying songs from my life. No more whiny dudes!
The result still motivates me. Little annoyances add up. I expanded my choosiness to video media. I stopped watching things that portrayed women as stupid or used us as set dressing. I stopped watching true crime shows, which are fascinating but watching people do awful things makes me feel like crap quick.
I have spent the time reading instead, educating myself on subjects that interest me. Or writing, after several years I’ve built that into a habit again. Or getting to know people in my life. Or laughing, I watch a lot of comedies.
And the sensation of respecting my reactions and not letting myself be unnecessarily uncomfortable reverberates through my life. Over time the discrete moments condense to a pattern of deliberate energy expenditure.
Bottom line: I have gone from feeling like I barely get anything done to feeling like I sort of get things done sometimes.
But the trend is in the right direction. I’m not worried about backsliding, I’ve grown accustomed to my little freedom. Sometimes I have to be a little mean, sometimes I miss time with my family because I need some quiet time. But I think I may finally be getting a grip on that elusive thing they call self-care.
It’s fucking amazing.