On staying informed enough

A few days ago I wrote about the personal issues I’ve dealt with of being full-to-overflowing with news and social media for years, and the peace and enjoyment I found in October in unplugging from all of that.

But reality does have a nagging habit of encroaching on one’s ideals.

The U.S. election was held yesterday, as you most certainly are aware. I largely ignored the incoming results–no need, I figured, to get my anxiety wound up for potentially hours, rather than just discovering the outcome (look at me opting to avoid things I know are bad for me)–but I did check back a few times as the night wore on.

There was still no winner called by the time I was getting pretty tired. But rather than seeing how long I could hold out to stick with it in the hopes of seeing the result (as I have done in the past), I was unusually sensible and figured I’d find out in the morning, and went to bed at a decent time.

Turns out that was the right call, because this morning the results are as yet uncertain. I know that because I *gasp!* went to a news site to find out what the result was.

Yes, there I was (for minutes on end!) looking over news items. Literally the longest I’d idly looked at news in over a month.

In so doing, I scrolled down a bit and came across a brief article mentioning that a brand of potato chips we sometimes buy has issued a recall for a swath of their bags for potential broken glass inside them.

We happened to have a bag from this brand, so I check on the details of the recall. It turns out that while it’s not clearly within their date criteria for bags that may be dangerous, it’s close enough that I’ll likely ditch the contents or return it for a refund just to be safe, and maybe get some deliciously glass-free chips instead.

But this all brought to light of a couple of things I need to remember and act on:

  1. Ignoring news completely is peaceful, but it can be dangerous.
  2. The U.S. election is the biggest news happening today and is something I’ve looked forward to for the last four (hasn’t it been thirty?) years. Yet something that is entirely more pressing and important to the well-being of myself my family has nothing in the least to do with the election. The glass-in-chips article was understandably farther down on the webpage than the election, but I wouldn’t care in the least who’s president of the U.S. if my daughter ate a potato chip with glass on it.

In other words, staying informed isn’t just a good idea, but is in fact very important. But the key is to choose to not be so overwhelmed by stories sucking the life out of you for years dominating headlines that you forget that it’s the smaller items, farther down the proverbial/literal page, that may well be more important to you personally.

It’s all about balance.

Especially in these days of 24-hour news cycles and websites (including social media) up the wazoo offering even more of it as well as a full spectrum of opinions on such, one can very easily get drawn into being stuffed to overfull with news and news-related content.
That’s bad.

But the solution isn’t to swing hard the other way and avoid all of that completely. That risks you not being informed about important things, including potentially very real, present dangers.
That’s also bad.

We all need to find a happy middle somewhere in between those two extremes: Be informed but not too informed. Find our peace where and when we can, but not at the expense of ignoring potential dangers.

With that in mind, I’ll now strive to find that healthy balance for myself.

It will probably take some tweaking of the information dial a bit–Okay, that’s not enough… whoa, that’s way too much…–but I’ll get there.

I’ll get there.