Striving for Sanity

tornadoI don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but I’m kind of a neurotic mess of a girl. I’m compulsive, obsessive, obsessive-compulsive, addictive, paranoid, anxious, and fearful, to name a few of my more endearing traits.

But other than that, I’m fine.

I’ve been a bit more insane than usual over the last few weeks / months. The election did it to me. The news of what’s happening in the world did it to me. The good people dying.  The rising hatred and divisiveness on the Internet. The breathless flame-wars on social media. The shouts of radio talk hosts, or cable news anchors, or bloggers.  Everyone who wants to tell you what you should think, and believe, and do.

It truly has been a long, hot summer.

There are still many, many messages of joy and peace and love out there—I know this for a fact. But joy and peace and love don’t get you ratings or clicks or views and, thus, advertisers.  So it’s the ugliness we tend to see the most of.

In the face of all of this, I feel helpless, and that just makes things worse.  I realized a few weeks ago, that I needed to find a constructive way to respond, at least in my own mind.  I needed to find a way to walk my path, even when the world seems like it’s spinning out of control all around me.   To live, and not get swept up in the tornado.

Oh, by the way, there are tornados, too.  And hurricanes.  And massive flooding. And earthquakes.

Anyway, I knew that I needed to protect myself – my “self” – or I’d go nuts.

“Go?” I hear you say.

Smart alecks.

So, here’s the first step I decided to take.  I turned off the wifi router.

And peace descended upon the Palatial Horvath Estate.

I don’t have cable or a smart phone, and my antenna only picks up three stations, so turning off the wifi connection basically cuts me off from all media. And when I’m at my day job, I’m actually, you know, working.  So even though I can’t turn off the Internet connection there, it’s not as bad.

I need to dole out my Internet connectivity in small chunks because my compulsive / addictive personality demands it. I do still need to connect, but deciding when I want to be online instead of just having it always on and available, gives me the power to choose.  It means I won’t be looking at social media or email as much, so hopefully, I won’t miss anything time-sensitive.  But since I will still be looking at it, I shouldn’t miss anything important.

The second thing I’m doing is writing with focused intensity (see the last blog post).

You see, it occurred to me that the only thing I can do to make my little sliver of the world even the teensiest bit better is to write, and work towards my goals.  To live as fully and as well as I possibly can.

But, wait, you say.  That makes absolutely no sense. How do my pathetic attempts at writing impact anything whatsoever?

I don’t know, but it’s all I’ve got. All I can be is who and what I am. I don’t help anyone or anything by trying to lie and be someone else. I don’t help anything if I try to be what other people tell me I should be, or if I hide under the bed because I’m so afraid, or if I get caught up in all of the ugliness and spin around in a circle because I’m going insane.

Well, more insane than normal.

And me being more insane than normal is not pretty.

Yes, there are a lot of horrible things in the world, and my writing doesn’t do anything about any of them. But it’s essential to me. And if I turn away from something that’s essential to me, only to be pulled into watching and opining about the gale force winds blowing around us, I’m nothing. Just a leaf. Or dust, as the song goes.

If I’m doing something I love, something that’s essential to me, then maybe I’ll be more fully present in my life, more able to help the people around me. And maybe that will help the world a little bit, too.

At the very least, I might keep my sanity.

But don’t count on it.



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  1. But don’t forget that what you are producing is going to give others the opportunity to sneak off into a more peaceful, less stressful (well, in some ways, anyhow) world for a time. You are helping others to get away from the hateful avalanche of EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW! which has become the internet, if you give it the opportunity. We all need to reclaim our individuality and our lives from the monster that seeks to engulf us.

    • Betsy Horvath says

      @Athena: I sure hope people get some enjoyment out of what I write and maybe even a wee little bit of happiness for their day. I have to say that turning off the Internet has been wonderful. It makes me a little slow to respond, maybe, but having a more planned and measured interaction is working very well. Just like my old dial-up days! 🙂

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