The "limited news" diet

For the last few weeks, I have been on a very limited news diet. It is really hard to avoid the news. You have to work at it. I had to change my browser on my computer not to flash the “headlines” every time I go to search the Internet.

Good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished, hoarded and worshipped like a priceless diamond. - Hunter S. Thompson

I do not have cable so I do not have to avoid the news on TV, but when I start my car the news just starts as if it is on command. I turn it off as soon as I can. I removed apps for newspapers that I read on my telephone. The Twitter app is also gone. I’ve thought that it is very important to pay attention today and I have - almost obsessively. It was time to stop and take a break. I have some big things coming up that I need a lot of energy to manage and the news is an energy viper.


I have struck a deal with several people in my life that while we will not talk about the news, they need to let me know if something truly worthy happens that I can actually try to DO something about. So far, not one of them has brought anything up so I can assume that all is beyond my control.


What I notice the most is how much extra time I have now. I am not clicking on the news item that pops up on my browser without my asking. I’m not typing in my usual news websites and taking a look. And I am not obsessively picking up my phone to see what wisdom is being tweeted on Twitter. It is a lesson about how much time I was looking at what is always bad news (or it wouldn’t be in there) and how much I am missing what may be good news

and therefore not reportable in the paper.


In my life, what is “newsworthy” is all good for now. I find that I am paying attention more to what good comes my way. Instead of listening to news-related podcasts as I am getting ready and on my way into work, I pulled out my playlists on my iPhone and listened to Nancy Sinatra sing These Boots were made for Walking. Ladies, I dare you to listen to that song one morning and not feel a just bit invincible. I played the 5th Dimension and traveled back to the Age of Aquarius and jumped on the Midnight Train to Georgia with Gladys Knight and the Pips.


So often, I get to work and have almost no memory of passing through what I consider landmarks along my commute. Lately, I do remember those landmarks and I am paying attention to the bright crimson of the burning bushes and the yellow of the sugar maples and the elm trees in their full glory. When I get to work, I am in a pretty good mood.


I have time and the energy to walk our 8 month lab Maisy over to nearby camp where she still wants to swim and where she chases her ball down the hill in the woods and brings it back proudly. My grandson and I had a bubble blowing contest with his bubblegum. We didn’t keep score. I played Scrabble and 500 Rummy with my son on his visit. What is most important is that I was fully present and in the moment without bad news humming in the back of my mind.


I do not recommend turning away from the news completely because these are important times and we do need to pay attention. However, there is a healthy and less healthy way to do this. Now and again, we should ask someone else to keep watch for a while, take a break and see the good news that is out there in our everyday life. Nancy Sinatra, the 5th Dimension and Gladys Knight still rock. Fall is here and it looks like we got just enough rain to have a beautiful fall. Board games and bubble blowing contests still thrill boys of all ages. And a day with my husband and Maisy who grows by the minute is just about the best way to spend a day. That’s all good news and I know it is all both temporary and priceless.


By Theressa Harrigan