I’m going to tell you a story about making resolutions to yourself in the New Year.
So it’s first day back from holidays, and I’m trapped behind a desk catching up on 1000 emails and calls, and I have twitter open, as the internet is (rightfully) responding vociferously to the Republicans in the USA gutting their own independent ethics oversight committee, a committee that was formed after the several high ranking Republicans were caught out from everything for bribery to money laundering and multiple child sex abuse cases. (But they call themselves the “moral majority”. K.)
Some silly egg avatar troll started in on me, which for me is nothing, as I’ve committed the crime of being a Woman on the Internet With Opinions for 25 years and counting, but I was tired of returning phone calls and had a spat with him over my lunch break, even going so far as to invite him to lunch later in the week (my treat!) so he could…I’m not sure what. He was screaming about conspiracy theories, and then couldn’t magically get any closer in town than Greenwich, then didn’t know there was a Regent’s Square in London though he claimed to be a Londoner, then blabbity blah blah and yes, I know, at that point I should have muted him, but my morbid curiosity got the best of me at that point, and I really wanted to meet a keyboard warrior who believed the easily debunked lies, in person*.
However, at some point in his outright lying, I just snapped, and blocked him. Now for me, that is odd, as usually I just ignore, but I think something about this past US election has changed me. I don’t have good natured humour when it comes to wilfully ignorant any longer. Seeing people vote against their own self-interests, not to mention the interests of the nation, has hardened me. And while I won’t remember the twitter trolls name tomorrow (I akin it to not thinking about the apple core I put in compost last week – if you’re digitally binned, why should I think about you again?), this hardening is concerning.
It’s easy to be hard. It’s easy to become rigid in your ideologies, to believe not because of evidence, but because of your own cognitive bias, it’s easy to be self-contained in your thought. And I’ve never liked doing things the easy way. I like pushing myself, debunking myths, trying to figure out what makes conspiracy theorists tick, even when they are frankly a pile of flaming garbage opinions. I’d rather do things the hard and sweary way (seriously, don’t follow me if you don’t like salty language) than take the easy way out. But the last few months I’ve noticed a hardening to my approach with walking Dunning Kruger effects. And that has to stop. Not because it’s kind to eggs on the internet, but because it’s kinder to me.
It’s a new year by this calendar, and people make lots of resolutions, many of which never get fulfilled past February. I already made my resolution, which is to have more nachos, but I’ll add another, which is this: There is one thing that unites every single person on the planet, and that is time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. And while many of us have excess time to argue with fools as we’re in a relatively safe, 1st world nation, where the first 2-3 levels of Maslow’s hierarchy are taken care of without us really thinking about it, we still can choose how to use our time to better ourselves versus fighting a losing battle against time wasters.
Every day, I’ll acknowledge that my time is more precious when improving myself, my family, my community, than anything else. And if that means an egg on twitter thinks he’s “won”, well then Hell, I bet that’s the best thing that’s happened to him all week, and I should just let him have that.
You have 24 hours today. What will you do with it?
Update: In the amount of time it took me to write this, the House Republicans were so burdened with jammed phone banks from angry Americans speaking up for ethics that they unanimously withdrew the amendment to gut the EOC. A lot of you used part of your 24 hours for awesomeness (seriously, I’ve had a busy tone for a full hour now on speed dial!) and I could not be prouder of us as a people.
*before the health and safety crew gets worried, I booked a lovely public restaurant, and let’s face it: I’m originally from the US but live in one of the biggest cities in the world. I’ve worked with inmates, teen gang bangers, and CEOs with serious boundary issues. And thanks to genes and athletics, I’m built like a brick house. I can handle impotent rage, online or off. 🙂