Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Vow to ignore the world more

The main thing I’m planning to do in 2019 is ignore the noise. Used to, in the dark ages before DVR and streaming, when we watched live TV, commercials (or adverts, if you’re across the pond) would blare into the interstices, wresting our attention and spoiling our groove. Nowadays we can avoid those ads, but the persistent low hum of mental friction may be worse: 24-hour news, push notifications on my phone, Twitter, Facebook, Insta all e-mailing me constantly to tell me I’ve missed something important. (To be fair, updates from that lady on Twitter who raises sled dogs and posts puppy pictures is SUPER IMPORTANT and don’t keep me from the sled puppy pics don’t you dare.)

I was exhausted and overwhelmed and didn’t even realize it.

Until August, when the cosmos reminded me of the melody in all the noise. August 15 my mom was in a car crash and broke her neck. She had to wear a halo device for four months and couldn’t do much for herself, which as you can imagine was frustrating and heartbreaking. I took care of her for a while, and then my mother-in-law moved closer and we both focused on helping Mom. Between that and all the usual family responsibilities, I didn’t have time to listen to the noise. I didn’t read social media. I didn’t listen to TV news. I didn’t read headlines. I just existed. I did the thing, went to sleep, woke up, and did the thing some more.

And you know what? Even with all that stress of health crises and family drama and pet angst (for the duration, I had five dogs living at my house, all with special diets and diva personalities), my life was, well, not stressless but ... content? Focused, definitely.

And man did I get shit done.

So that’s my chief resolution in 2019: to hear the signal, not the noise. To read, to write, to focus on the things that are important to my tiny circle and let the rest of the world be as crazy as it wants. I can’t fix the crazy. But maybe, if I do the things I’m meant to do, I can add to the melody and with enough of us trying, we can lift music out of the noise.

P.s. — Mom got her halo off about a week before Christmas and is doing really well. I am so, so grateful to still have her around.