Events of the past few months have been the catalyst for so much change in my life – not just the obvious physical issues of quarantine (masks, hand sanitizing, grocery delivery, being under curfew, etc.) but also more metaphysical issues. I feel like an entirely different person than I was a few months ago.
I know we all change all the time, but most often those changes take place over longer periods of times. Or, if something traumatic happens to force a change, it’s isolated and there’s time to process and adapt. Lately, it’s like one giant ongoing trauma that has given little or no time for processing.
So I have felt myself become more brittle, less patient. Interestingly enough, I feel like those are good things. My loss of patience has not manifested in me becoming overly reactive as it might have in the past. Before all of this, when I had times of stress where my patience was thin, I would often overreact to nearly everything. I took things personally, I had road rage, I would brood for days or weeks over supposed slights or insults.
Now, this new lack of patience feels more like a lack of caring about minor things – or at least those things that feel minor to me. It’s like I have taken my personal worldview and moved it from being on the ground, circling up to a higher perspective and seeing things with more context. “Little” things still bother me in the moment, but they pass more quickly.
This leads me to one of the more significant revelations I have had recently. As I have grown less patient, I have found that I need to distance myself from social media more and more. I am also not checking news with any frequency. At first, I thought that just pulling back a bit would help, but the minute I dive back in to check things again, all the stress cascades back over me.
I finally realized something. I don’t want to hear anyone’s opinion.
I don’t just mean the people with whom I disagree, or the frightening “flat earther” types. I also mean people I like and admire and with whom I agree.
At the risk of sounding like another cranky old man, I long for the “good old days.” Some of you will remember the days I mean. Back when, if I wanted someone’s opinion, I would ask for it. Back when there were only a few networks and news was actually researched (mostly) before it was broadcast. Back when, if you were outraged by something, you wrote a letter to the editor. If it got printed then people could respond, but it took time – time during which you might actually go to the trouble of thinking carefully before responding.
I long for the days when someone shared their opinion and you could then have an actual conversation about the topic – a real, honest-to-goodness face-to-face dialogue. Even if that conversation were on the phone, it was still a live human interaction with people discussing things like actual rational human beings.
I long for the days where people could not hide behind a virtual wall if they wanted to put their opinion out into the world. Back when you had to own your words and actions if you put them out into the world and you had to take responsibility for the results of those words and actions.
So here’s my true confession for today. I don’t want to know what anyone thinks about anything any longer unless/until I ask for that opinion or unless/until a friend feels strongly enough about something that they truly feel I need to know. Social media has some good points – I guess – but right now it’s making me sad, angry, unhappy, and basically depressed. I am not going to entirely divorce from it – not just yet – but my already curtailed use is about to get even more curtailed.
I will keep up my daily gratitude posts and this daily blog (at least until I am finally not quarantining any longer). Otherwise, you might think I am ghosting on you. I’m not – or at least it’s not personal if I am. I am ghosting on everyone.
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.