For the majority of my life, I’ve had a very serious news habit. I set my alarm each morning a full hour earlier than I really need to, and then, still lying in bed in my pajamas, I happily let loose. Usually, I start with the New York Times. Then comes the Washington Post, the Süddeutsche Zeitung, and the Guardian. After the liberal leaning papers, I wade through the more conservative bunch: the Wall Street Journal, the Daily Telegraph, and the Frankfurter Allgemeine. By this time, I’m ready to head to work and switch to the online outlets. Jezebel and Slate and Mother Jones; recently, the Apple News app that collates articles based on my previous reading habits.
This ritual is one that, for most of my life, I have loved. There’s a deep-seated comfort I gain from these acts of intellectual engagement, of sitting alone but feeling a part of something. I love exercising my empathy and understanding on a global scale. For me, keeping up with the nitty-gritty details of what’s going on in the world has never felt stressful. Indeed, I find that the act of absorbing knowledge possesses an intrinsic, soothing grace.
Recently, however, much of the quiet dignity that my daily news time brings has been erased. Some days, ninety-percent of the articles I read are Orwellian hellscapes of absurdity. Ridiculous statements out of the United States, violent power exchanges in Africa. Tax evasion in Europe and food shortages in South America. It’s not that I expect my morning news to a be a plethora of sunshine and rainbows, but the seemingly never ending collection of bleakness feels new. It feels urgent, and hauntingly real in way that it hasn’t in the past.
Honestly? It makes me tired. It fills me with a bone-deep exhaustion that I don’t always know how to move beyond. Some days, it sticks with me, the tragedy and outrage and heartbreak and terror. Sometimes, it feels like it lingers.
Today is one of those days. The fog of sadness just stuck with me. So today, I don’t have much to say. Tomorrow, I’ll wake up at 5:45. I’ll linger in bed until 7:15 and read articles from 10 different sources, at least. I’ll love it, because it’s part of who I am. Undoubtedly, tomorrow the fog will have lifted. I’ll be fired up and ready to react to the realities outlined on each and every page. But, today? I’m exhausted. Every once in a while, even in the midst of a fight like this, I’m pretty sure that’s ok.
Day 24: January 24, 2017