One of my goals, while the world is tilted, is to come out of this stronger than when it started. This forced me to take an honest look at my life, my goals, what makes me happy. How close or far am I from doing the things that make me happy? This is when I noticed I was doing things that made me miserable.
When I Realize I’d Been Programmed
For example, looking at the news or social media before working. When I was growing up, we consumed the news many times per day. What was on my doorstep in the morning and evening? Newspapers. What was on TV in the morning, in the afternoon, in the early evening and before bed? The news. Media companies programmed millions of people to look at the news. For the first time in years, I viewed TV Guide. Would you believe it’s still like that? News in the morning, early and late evening.
Not realizing I was programmed, I continued this pattern as an adult. Through social media, I was consuming news many times per day. When I paused social media, I felt guilty because I wasn’t informed about what was going on in the world. As a person of color, where I lived, you needed to be informed. Being ignorant was not a good look.
Reflecting on what made me happy, I asked myself honest questions.
- Why would anyone want to hear about “bad” things happening around them before they go to work?
- Why would anyone want to hear about “bad” things happening around them before they go to bed?
- Is there anything in the news that I need to know?
- Why types of news wouldn’t put me in a bad mood or would inspire me?
The more I thought about it, the more toxic my habits were to me. I haven’t made a video in months. I noticed a bad cycle of coming up with an idea, going to my computer, seeing the news, my mood changes, video is never done. Looking at Twitter to give an example, I saw things trending that is making it hard for me to finish this article. If I saw it before I started writing, you might not be reading this right now.
Making Better Choices
The first step in solving a problem is admitting there is one. I need to consume less news. That meant redoing my RSS feeds and adjusting when I read them. Gaming and Tech news doesn’t bother me. I found a YouTube channel that summarizes the news in a brief, accurate, non-opinionated format. I stopped reading comments via social media. Avoiding people’s opinions were sometimes more triggering than the news. At night, I listen to things that gives me joy. Positive affirmations, music, gaming lore videos, or educational videos. Lately, I’ve been looking at bonsai videos before bed. The key is to find a playlist. I go to bed and wake up to something I enjoy.
I noticed, stepping back from the news, my creativity is coming back. My mental health has improved. I’m not angry and frustrated over things I cannot control. I stopped cursing as much as I used to. One positive change led to more positive changes. Who knows, I might upload a video!
There are a lot of people who aren’t happy but aren’t doing anything to resolve their unhappiness. They continue doing things the way they’ve always done them.
2020 was the catalyst to re-evaluate how we do things. Looking back at the years I spent being sad, frustrated and angry about world events instead of doing things that brought me joy is a valuable learning experience. Make more videos, work on my family tree more, change careers, talk to my friends more, learn more. The options are endless.
My goal, by the end of 2021, is to remove the programming that was instilled in me growing up. I am determined to replace it with what brings me joy. I’m going to drive my chariot exactly where I want it to go.