My Facebook app and my Gmail account. Those are often the first things that I click on in the morning while on my phone, or the first pages I navigate toward on my MacBook. Like most people, I don’t riffle through the newspaper, but I scroll, click, and like. And sometimes comment.
Yet even if the format of the ‘newspaper’ has changed, its purpose remains the same: to see what happened while I was sleeping.
Reduced to a certain level, checking the newspaper first thing and checking Facebook and Gmail is just FOMO, or the fear of missing out. It’s the fear that if I don’t check those things first thing, I won’t be in the know on some key milestone or some bit of cultural currency, and I will be on the outside looking in at the tribal knowledge.
This is coupled with the expectation that since we’re all hooked up to the network, we should all be accessible all the time. There’s a tribal impatience when people take too long to respond to messages, or don’t see certain news stories, and then we lord it over one another by sharing the story, even though we have likely only read the headline.
And if I’m honest, like most people, when I say I heard about something, it means I’ve seen the headline, and possibly read an excerpt. Sometimes I’ll click and skim an article. Yet I’ll rarely read an entire article. It’s as if my time is better spent scrolling the news feed, skimming the surface of all the news and updates, both global and personal, rather than becoming knowledgeable about one thing.
So each morning I start this shallow skim, this wading through the lives of others, through the news of the day.
And it leaves me quite unfulfilled.
There’s a time and place for the news. There’s a time and place for keeping in contact with my friends, family, and loved ones.
But is it every morning? Is it every time I have a spare moment? Rather than explore the physical world around me, ought I just look into what other people are up to?
I don’t think so.
And I don’t think it’s the best way to start my day.
The only person that I have to spend all day with is myself. That’s 24/7/365. And yet how much time do I spend in the morning making sure that I am ready to face my day physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually? How much time do I spend on making sure that I am an active participant in my day, and not just a piece of driftwood, floating down the stream obligation from one duty to the next?
If I’m honest with myself, it’s not enough time. Nowhere near enough time.
And then I wonder why I’m burnt out, or frustrated why there aren’t enough hours in the day. I’ve done nothing to become an active participant in my day. I’ve done nothing to take control.
Sure I can’t be in control of everything, and there are duties and obligations that I must meet. But I can choose to face them on my terms, rather than walk through things mindlessly, like a zombie of sorts.
Today I choose to take care of myself.
My news feed can wait.