Is unplugging selfish?


I try to pick something once a month to work on--either something about myself, or my environment, to try to make my life a little better. For January I worked on making my apartment look more like an adult lives there (getting rid of my college-era mismatched dinnerware, a minor renovation project in my bathroom, buying glasses instead of drinking out of cleaned out Classico tomato sauce jars. Pictures of the "renovation" are forthcoming! 

At the end of January I decided that my thing for February was to unplug more. I have a news addition which is pretty unfortunately: I can't not read the news because I need to be very well informed for work. On the other hand, I consume way more of it than I need to, in addition to "news" peripherals, like thinkpieces, and thinkpieces about thinkpieces. And tweets. And angry Facebook posts. 

I decided to take all social media off my phone--I still have the accounts, just no access on my phone. I'm also trying to cut down on how often I check the news when I'm at home. The first think I noticed, even within a day, is how often I just idly reach for my phone for something to flip through. Why? What's the point? All the major things that are going on in the world are going to go the way they're going regardless of whether or not you are obsessively reading about it or feeling anxious about it. This doesn't mean choosing to be ignorant: I'm still very well politically informed, and I still do what political actions I can and engage in long convos about stuff. But do you really need to know something right away? Do you really need to read a second, third, fourth article about whatever rage-inducing thing happened? 

And social media. Yeah, I liked keeping in touch with my friends. But right now a huge percentage of social media is people being enraged about something that I am more or less impotent to do anything about right now. (I did, incidentally, decide in January that every time I heard something that enraged me rather than posting about it on social media, I would just send some money to help with whatever issue.) And as someone who reads a lot of actual news, the amount of dubious information passed along on Twitter is more than disturbing. Just because someone says something doesn't mean it's true. Even if you want it to be. 

I guess we'll see how it went at the end of the month. There's a line somewhere between actively choosing to be ignorant about the world, and giving yourself an ulcer--I don't think it's a fine line that's hard to find. You just have to commit to it.