These past few weeks have been really rough. Bad things are happening everywhere.
150 years ago, people only heard about bad things that happened nearby. We’re not built to process every bad thing that happens everywhere.
— Just Bill (@WilliamAder) July 8, 2016
This tweet came by me during the attempted coup in Turkey. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot the past few weeks. It’s something we’re all dealing with.
These things, these awful things, keep happening, and instead of hearing about them on a contained, digestible newspaper page, or on the 6 o’clock news, we hear about them all day, every day. These stories are mixed into our wedding announcements. They’re alongside baby photos, restaurant check-ins and Pokèmon GO screenshots. Everything gets equal weight and evaluating the triviality of any given report is exhausting. Social media brings the whole world to our pockets and that carries with it a myriad of complexities.
The world is statistically a safer place than it has ever been. And that’s because of a more informed and involved public. When we saw the real photos from Vietnam, we opposed the war. When we saw the Holocaust in Nazi Germany, we chose not to stand by idly in the face genocide in Rwanda, Bosnia, Sudan, etc. When we saw the abuse of people of color in the Jim Crow south, we demanded (and demand still) equal treatment and justice.
It’s important to see these things. It’s important to stay woke and informed in order to make the world a safe place for all people and things. But the fatigue is real. And it can be unhealthy and drive us to helplessness and cynicism.
We should do what we can. But we must learn to pace ourselves. We have to know that it’s okay to have joy, even when there is pain in the world.
Today, I’m going to listen to the Reds play the Brewers. I’m going to drink a cold beer. I’m going to be with people I love. I have to.
But tomorrow, it’s back to work.