A couple of weeks ago, I decided that I wouldn’t watch or listen to the news anymore. Now, I don’t want to sound like I don’t care about what’s happening in the world – because I do! But if there is such a thing as having an addiction to following the news – I was an addict.
And the funny thing is that I seldom watched the local or national Canadian news, although I did catch the odd bit of news on the radio station that also gives the traffic report. But that was the only time that I’d listen – when I wanted to know about the traffic jams so that I could avoid those routes.
It’s not that I don’t care about world events – that’s precisely the problem – I do care! But I cared so much that my stomach was always tightening, and I was always worried about the latest mass shooting, impeachment, war, terrorist attack, or children living and dying in cages. I was also deeply concerned about our environment.
So, on February 4th, when I got the email from the specialist, advising me that he wanted to see me, my nerves were about to explode. I was stressing myself out but couldn’t see a way to bring balance to my emotions.
And that’s when I got a revelation.
Maybe, if I stopped watching and listening to the news, I wouldn’t be so uptight. Perhaps the world wouldn’t fall apart. Maybe I’d be able to smile again and find things to laugh about. But just before I made the pact with myself, I began to doubt my ability to overcome the ‘withdrawal’ that was sure to follow.
So, I decided to take a page from the book I’m reading, and try to do it for one day and then see if I felt any improvement on the ‘happy meter.’ Besides, what did I have to gain?
Now, when I watch television, I choose to watch comedies or documentaries. I have a PVR, so I can tape programs to watch later, too.
One of the stations I now watch is Frame TV. It’s commercial-free, and it is on the air 24/7. The station features pictures and videos of scenes from around the world. The programs are all thirty minutes long and include titles such as Waterways, Sunsets, Skylines, Fountains, Beaches, Sunrises, Waves, Mountains, Green Spaces, etc.
This morning, when I got up, I began watching sunsets from around the world. My favorite scenes are the videos with the sun setting on the ocean or lake, while the waves trickle almost silently to the shore. And then suddenly, a silhouette appears of a man walking along the coast, with a young child on each side of him holding his hand. They weren’t at home watching television or playing games on their computers.
Another favorite scene is a hiker standing alone on top of a mountain, with both arms outstretched to the sky. It’s difficult to tell whether it’s a man or woman, but I’m almost envious of them.
Another scene shows a group of seagulls, drinking water from the ocean. But that’s saltwater, I screamed to myself. How are they able to do that? I just learned something new.
Every so often, the name of a website appears Armchairtourist.com – click 7062. When you go to the site and enter the four-digit number into the search bar, it will identify the location of the scene, which in this case is Puebla, Mexico.
You can also view Armchair Tourist on YouTube. I enjoy the almost endless list of videos from places I’ve been, never been, or in some cases, never heard of before.
For example, I was in Maui in 1988 for three weeks. I wondered what it is like now, so I clicked on a video link and watched a 47-minute walk on Wailea Beach Path.
On Sunday, I walked with the ‘Venturers in Stanley Park. It was a beautiful morning, and I walked almost ten kilometers with my friend Lawrence. We always have lots to talk about, and that morning was no different. I decided to inform him that I no longer watch the news. I hoped that he wouldn’t think wrong of me for not being interested in current events. But to my surprise, Lawrence said he hadn’t watched the news in a long time.
And while I usually take a lot of photos or videos of my walks, I never took my cell phone out of my pocket. I enjoyed our chat and being with the club members. It was a great outing, and my emotions were positive – my stomach and nerves were at peace.
I’m trying to find happiness again. I go to bed each night and watch a few episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm. It makes me laugh, and I’m sure I fall asleep with a big smile on my face.
I’m proud to say; I’m no longer waiting to watch the live news at five anymore.
Dedicated to Unicorns
Today’s tune from Danny’s library (purchased):