Tag: World news

Bad News Does People No Good

The news makes me so sad. The state of the world, the way people see it and think about it and react to it – it’s hard. Perhaps it’s no different than any other time in history, we have learned about the chaos humans create…and endure. Chaotic times go back as far back as history remembers.

But it’s hard to fight for the calmness we humans so desperately seek when we’re surrounded by a deep unhappiness that spreads like a contagious virus.

I woke up to the news of United Airlines hurting a Chinese doctor because he would not give up his seat due to airline overbooking. He is an old man who just wanted to go home, but instead was sorely mistreated by airline employees. Ugh, horrible.

Or the story about children in several states being publicly shamed in school because they could not afford to buy lunch. Worse – denied lunch when the visible stamps on their hands say “I need lunch money.” And these children walk not just through a lunch line, but throughout their day in school, every day, stigmatized, humiliated and hungry.

So incredibly sad. And as we know, that’s not the half of it nor the worst stories “out there.” Some are too terrible to even absorb.

These are humans. People. Living, breathing, loving, and losing – people. The human race is losing. But haven’t we always? History seems to think so.

It’s easy to blame. We have a crippled democracy now, governed by a few who think it’s ok to hurt people and seemingly by no accident instill that mindset to ignite their cause. But it’s more than that. It’s the whole planet, all the way down to my street.

We live in an urban setting but ironically surrounded by nature that we see every day. Not just the usual squirrels or birds, but deer, coyote and wild turkeys. Recently traffic was stopped on my street because a large flock of turkeys was crossing the road – big, beautiful, slow turkeys.

One man continued to try to swerve his car around the long line of stopped traffic, honking, yelling out his window, flailing his arms and cursing at those of us who tried to point out that we were stopped for what looked and seemed so beautiful, so peaceful – creatures simply living their lives without concern about the turbulent world around them – but with great concern for each other.

You could see the bigger ones rallying the smaller ones, helping them cross the street. It was a Make Way for Ducklings moment right before our eyes. But the enraged man certainly couldn’t appreciate it. I think he would have run them over if he could. Sad.

I’m not sure what causes people to be so hateful. Whether we are optimistic or pessimistic, kind or cruel, observation over time shows we are who we are and that’s who we put out into the world.

There is beauty out there, sometimes it’s just really hard to see.

 

 

I Prefer My News On A Need-to-Know Basis But Then I Botched A Job

be-who-i-amIn spite of our world’s news, life goes on. Truth be told, I sort-of stopped watching the news a long time ago. It’s too much negative input for me and feels so unhappily intense. I don’t look at life through a peephole, but I choose where to comfortably focus. So when I was recently assigned a story to write about a devastating global crisis, I cringed. It was beyond my expertise.

I was no more than two sentences in on the story research when I became a daydreaming child. I looked out the window. Sang to myself. Jiggled in my chair. Thought about getting some food, or even a glass of wine, never mind it was barely past noon. This stuff wasn’t light reading.

While Frank Sinatra was piping out of Pandora in my living room, I couldn’t wrap my head around the horror of this worldwide situation and my first-world pinhole view. How do you reconcile the juxtaposition of those two realities?

The assignment also involved attending an event with high-level experts whose lives focus on world news. I dreaded going for two reasons. First, serious embarrassment as I talked to the high-profile players, and second, sadness about the intense topic. I had to exercise that old fake it till you make it although I just wanted to forget it.

courage

But I tried. I toiled. I went to the event then attempted to write an article that felt extremely hard for me – over my head, out of my realm, out of my knowledge range, out of my experience, out of my skill. So I spent the next several days beating myself up and feeling pretty low. This wasn’t something watching the news would fix. Just because I’m a writer doesn’t mean I can write about this. This was about expertise in a world I know nothing about.

Everybody has discomfort in their lives, their jobs, their relationships, their personal world. I’m sure I’m not the only one who had a task they couldn’t do. And I didn’t go into it trying to fail, but if we can’t bring ourself to the table before a task even begins, how do we do it? We can say we sort-of don’t care what people think, but in this case I actually did.

Nobody knew I botched it, some magic dust and a brilliant hand-holder saved the day. There’s a lot to be said for teamwork, we don’t always have to go rogue. I am grateful I had support and came across this quote that validated that.

The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards. They either help us become the best version of ourselves or encourage us to become lesser versions of ourselves. No man or woman becomes great on their own. The people around them help them become great. We all need people in our lives who raise our standards, remind us of our essential purpose, and challenge us to become the best versions of ourselves. 

Thank you people. And while I won’t be watching the news, here’s to trying again.

kitty-climb

Pause for this Important Message

Nothing like a major reality check to propel you into the life transformation you have been working on. I knew that the interior house painting I started a week ago was supposed to help change my perspective, but it wasn’t the paint that stopped me in my tracks. It was the morning news.

I don’t watch the news, I have an aversion to it, and for good reason – it’s all bad all the time. I am who I am and I get news as I need it. But I mostly watch the Today Show during the week, a softened version of the news, and the CBS Sunday Morning show. Sunday mornings are not for world news, but for a peaceful respite on the day of rest. The classy, informative program almost always focuses on the arts, and personal interest stories that are relevant but not dire.

So I wasn’t expecting what I saw when they veered from the norm and did an extra-long segment about the Syrian refugees. It was heartbreaking, painful to watch, hear and feel this gut-wrenching story about people’s real lives living in what appears to be hell.

They are humans. It shook me up.

And it made me feel like a complete idiot to sit here and work every day on how to heal and evolve and grow. Sure that is so very important, but that’s nothing compared to people who cannot live in their own country, are shut out of other countries, and are trapped in prison camps with young children when they were just trying to move somewhere safe.

What do I worry about every day? How to manage my fibromyalgia. Whoopee. What color to paint the walls. Are you kidding me? What to make for dinner…what’s on TV that night…whether I should do yoga or Pilates…writing whatever I need to write that day.

How lucky am I.

What am I supposed to do with this horrific world information now that I’ve seen it and the images and sounds are emblazoned on my mind and in my memory? I can’t fix it, or change it, or even help it. Sir Husband always wished he was a war correspondent, and this one lights him up. He knows the story of his grandparents’ immigration from Hungary before WWII, and Hungary is causing huge problems now for the Syrian refugees.

Next up, a story about a man who collects working washing machines. Wow. Had to do a mental 180. I had a hard time even thinking about what we would make for breakfast at that point.

But eventually we went about our business and got on with our day, although I didn’t forget what I saw. And that’s why I don’t watch the news. It’s one more thing I have to accept but put out of my mind. How do you do that? I guess you get good at it? You watch the news and become numb to it? No thanks.

Life goes on as they say, but I assure you I will never be the same. And that’s a good thing.

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