On Facebook, I read a link about the perils of sugar. I now can add that to my knowledge about evil carbs, too much or too little protein, the dangers of fat around the middle (and everywhere else), and how diet soda creates mutant cells, and so on.
In the category of stuff that’s bad for you, how come no one mentions the news? I’ve taken to checking in with CNN.com first thing in the morning. The headlines are always alarming, and I wonder about opening my brain to them, even before I’ve fully woken up.
I’ve also recently joined Next Door, a listserv of residents who share information of interest about my neighborhood. Many of the posts fall under the category of “crime awareness.” Someone reports seeing a black car roaming the streets; a burglary happens six blocks over; someone’s unlocked car is broken into; the police are chasing a robber twelve blocks over. Within a few minutes, the entire neighborhood (or at least those who subscribe) knows the details.
Some would say this is good-to-know information, and on a certain level, I agree. But I am beginning to see the impact that being so in touch with bad news has on me. With Next Door, the safety related updates come somewhat frequently, which means that scary information is being input into my brain several times per day.
The listserv has made me much more diligent about locking car and house doors and checking that the garage is closed. But at what cost? My anxiety dreams have increased. As I walk around my neighborhood, I can’t help but scan for suspicious activity. Some would say that’s a good thing. Neighbors looking out for neighbors, and all that. I would agree…theoretically. But do I really need to live in a state of fear? The odds of a crime happening to me are probably as small as they were ten years ago. I have lived her for almost half my life and have always felt safe. Now I don’t. Has crime increased? Probably not. It’s just that life’s happenings are documented in a much more public way. It’s hard to avoid the onslaught of all that’s wrong with the world.
I might just have to cut back on my news consumption and unsubscribe from the listserv so I can keep on living in ignorant bliss. It makes me happier.