I don’t know about you but I get really tired, really fast listening to the news lately. I don’t care which side of the political spectrum with which you align yourself, the bitterness and rancor that permeates the radio and television these days is unlike anything I’ve experienced in my 57 years on this planet. So I have mostly stopped letting the broadcast media rent space in my head and heart for free.
I no longer watch the news on TV in the morning. I mean really, who likes to start their day pissed off? Not me! In the evening I watch a local affiliate for local stuff. To get national news, I read the online versions of state newspapers as well as those of the New York Times and the Washington Post. The advantage of this is simply that I choose what I consume. When I’m in my truck I either listen to a classical music station or my collection of Success Magazine audio interviews. I certainly avoid talk radio, even on NPR, because without fail they are all biased in some manner.
What it all comes down to at the end of the day, is that I have decided that I will control what goes into my head, much like I choose to control what I eat and drink. In both cases, I avoid consuming toxic materials.
This has been an unusually rancorous political season up here in Maine. Amongst other issues, there has been the looming shadow of a State government shutdown due to a totally messed up budget and a petulant governor. As a result I have been keeping a close watch on my finances since I work for the State. We went through a 16 day shutdown back in 1991, and it was not fun. Fortunately, it looks like another shutdown will be avoided.
But over the past couple of weeks, I have been reminded that I need much less to get along with than I thought. It’s easy to fall into old habits of consumption without realizing it. For example, I’d fallen back into the habit of stopping at the supermarket on the way home from work each day. It’s far better to do one thoughtful trip to buy groceries per week, than to do unplanned, impulse-driven shopping. Plus, if I just go shopping once per week, that is a chore that I don’t have to contend with for the rest of the week!
I am back on track as far as my buying habits are concerned. Do I feel bad about backsliding a bit? No, I don’t because my efforts at simplicity are not oriented to a one-time-only outcome. It’s a constant process of evaluating my habits and my perspective. As the conditions around me change, so too do my perceptions and reactions. That’s life in a nutshell, after all!
Too many unplanned shopping trips adds up to excess consumption!