I realized yesterday that I have been so disconnected from the outside world. I don’t read the newspaper. I don’t watch TV anymore, so I never watch the news. I rarely go on my computer, so I miss most news stories that tend to pop up when you’re surfing the web. Don’t ask me about politics; I have no clue what’s going on aside from Donald Trump running for president. Don’t ask me about popular crime stories; I haven’t heard them. The one thing I may know about is the weather, and my knowledge is limited to whatever the app on my phone provides me. Which, by the way, isn’t much, since yesterday a friend mentioned a hurricane coming and I had no clue about it.
I realized that, while some disconnection is okay, I feel like I’ve cut myself off from the world too severely. I used to take pride in knowing everything about what was going on in the world, whether it be politics, economic affairs, ethical issues, et cetera. I watched the news every day. I spent hours online reading articles about whatever sparked my interest. Now I’ve become the total opposite.
I did a little self-reflecting to figure out why I’ve become so cut off. I know why I avoid watching television. It was something I did with my father for the last few years, since he was too sick to do much of anything else. We would watch all kinds of shows, even “trashy” reality TV. I admit, I am using the term watch loosely. I was mostly listening to the TV as I typed a paper up for school on my laptop and obsessively checked my Facebook newsfeed waiting for something exciting to come up. Regardless, watching TV reminds me of my father, and I just don’t want to be reminded of him right now.
I’m not sure why I’ve become so disconnected with reading the news. I wonder if part of it is just being so mentally exhausted from my own life, that I have little energy left to expend on anyone else’s. Maybe my mind doesn’t want to focus on anything else right now. Maybe I’m afraid I’m going to come across something that will remind me of home or my family. I don’t know.
But connecting with the outside world could also provide an escape. I won’t have to focus on me all of the time. I could think about other things. I’d be able to interact with people and talk about things without having to pretend I know what they’re talking about. I can feel connected to something again, something that isn’t going to put me in danger.
I did something last night that I hadn’t done since I first moved here. Part of it was prompted by my earlier blog post, and part of it was because my house was so numbingly cold. But I made myself a bowl of spicy green and wax beans (one of my comfort foods) and went outside on my back porch. It was too cloudy to see any stars, but I could still breathe in the air, and I could still hear the crickets chirping. So I took it all in. I sat on my stairs and ate my beans and for a brief moment, nothing bothered me. Then the police came for a domestic dispute across the street, a mother starting yelling at her kids to stay on the sidewalk, and my sense of tranquility disappeared. Even so, I realized that peace doesn’t come without a little disruption sometimes.
Perhaps I will try to do this again. It helps me connect with myself. It helps me to connect with the outside, even if the outside consists of the area around my back porch. It helps me not feel so alone in the world.