I’ve experienced so many changes in this month of May. Some were part of my plan. Other changes have been random: shocking my system; leaving me breathless for a minute. One personal change in particular wasn’t something that I tried to make happen. It evolved organically (a word that already feels tired but still works). It started when I began to listen – to really hear – the ways that so many people are coping with life lessons, and Change in general. A deeply unhappy, fearful and ‘negative’ perspective that seems to be gaining momentum and wanting my attention.
Life experience has always been open to interpretation. Depending on our own wiring, personal perspective puts the ‘spin’ on experience. The glass-half-full, versus half-empty theory: a tidy but imperfect way of explaining personality types. What’s lately started to shift for me are my own preferences. How much of my precious bandwidth – if any — do I want to allocate to negativity? From influencers and others who want to ‘school’ me about certain harsh realities. Is ‘negativity’ — like my grandma’s home remedies of mustard plasters and cod liver oil – actually supposed to be helpful?
What’s remained pretty consistent since my early 20’s is, What I Want for myself: more happiness and more wellbeing. But how I go about getting more of what I want has been under-review recently. Coping with so much negativity. Can I – should I — filter and shape my own day-to-day exposure to what lifts me up, versus what brings me down? Should I be so dependent on social media to screen my uploads (like its recent action to protect me from how many Likes I’m not getting)?
A casual convo I was in yesterday turned to Big Tech. Specifically, the ba-zillionaire whose recently-launched satellites lit up the sky, and social media, worldwide. One of my friends cheered: “Finally – Internet for the world!” But my other friend scowled: “Yes, so our government can spy on everyone, not just citizens in the U.S.!” I stayed ‘mum’ and let the two argue. But inwardly I thought: “If I feel happy and optimistic about these satellites, am I just unbelievably naïve?”
So much potentially-negative uploads about change these days – from friends and colleagues, my newsfeed and social media. Pick a platform, choose a side. I feel pressured to offer up an opinion: is (whatever) change a Good Thing, or an Imposition on My Personal Freedom? Not only do I feel compelled to make a choice, but I have to prep to defend my choice. “N/A” is not an option unless I want to be told I’m asleep. Or in denial.
I’ve accepted that what feels like a flood of new info and constant change in my life is not going to stop. If anything, the speed, force, and intensity is only going to escalate for the time being. No doubt: I’ll feel the impact of new events well before I can comfortably process them mentally. So I’m making the choice to allow myself both time and quiet space to adjust before I form, and share my takeaways. And I’ve made another important choice. For over two weeks now I’ve fortified my own boundaries when it comes to What, Who and When I choose to read, stream, listen to, and “hang” with socially. I don’t routinely (obsessively) check all the platforms with sway, or influence. When I do dive in, I scan. I don’t linger.
It’s not an either/or situation: either I’m embracing someone’s version of the Truth, or I’m checked-out, ‘living in la-la land’. (Like thinking I can eat a huge bowl of ice cream every night without gaining a pound.) I’ve given myself a third option. I’m still learning — moving into greater awareness every day — that ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ are totally subjective now. I don’t know how, or when that happened, but it did. I’m old enough to remember when conflicting ideas about those words wasn’t routinely life-threatening.
But that doesn’t matter in the Now. Which is all I have. Change is a guarantee in Life. ‘Negativity’ is a reaction; a choice. And so is ‘Living Bravely’.