By Shelley Hubal
It’s time for full disclosure. Feel free to judge; I am ready to be honest. It started slowly, probably around January 2017, but did not reach full abdication until a few months into the pandemic. What am I talking about? I have made a conscious decision to give up watching and reading the national and international news. Maybe one night a week I will turn on David Muir while getting in a quick workout, but that is mostly soundbites. I have no idea where to find CNN, MSNBC or FOX news on the television. When I sit down to read the paper, I go straight to the local section. NPR is no longer my companion while cooking dinner. I know in erudite circles this is unacceptable, but I stand by my choice.
Why would I choose to do this? It is simple: I care. I care too much about the work I do and my own mental health to allow the hostilities of the world into my daily life. We are all limited by the amount of physical, mental and emotional energy we have, and the news was stealing my precious energy. I now choose to start each day not with dread, but with optimism. In order to have a clear mind and honest interactions, I found it necessary to stop giving attention to the chatter. I prefer instead to stay focused on the people around me, to pay closer attention to my heart and to make space for God.
This is not the path for everyone, but it works for me. Through family, friends and a few well chosen podcasts, I have no problem being aware of critical issues in the world. How has this changed my life? In addition to having more energy and less anger, I feel more connected. More connected to God and more connected to my loved ones. I notice that I am less inclined to judge people based on their politics.
With age comes wisdom about your place in the world and I know that my life’s work is to make a difference. At the Federation, this means creating a sustainable community. In my personal life, it means steering the Hubal family ship through life’s challenges with as much grace and patience as possible. Giving up the news has enabled me to do these things and created more meaning my life.
Now, that confession felt good! Wishing you all much good news in 2022.