Find Happiness by Trading CNN for HGTV
We could all use a post-inauguration media diet makeover
I’m currently a week into my new media diet. As soon as Joe Biden was sworn in as president, I decided it was time to refresh my daily intake. Not because I don’t believe we all need to be politically active or outspoken (see all of my previous writing), but because in the end democracy did succeed, the adults are finally back in the room, and we can all breathe a least a tiny sigh of relief. The challenges ahead are daunting, and they will require all of us to be active citizens, but Jesus, I don’t need an update every five minutes. Enough.
So starting Thursday, once the inaugural celebrations were complete, I committed to a new media diet: I now check the news in the morning online over coffee (CNN, New York Times, MSNBC ); I spend a half-hour at lunch reading an actual column or full articles (Medium, New Yorker, New York Magazine, The Economist, and for silly fun, People); then I watch CBS Evening News for a half-hour at night. That’s it. No Facebook. No Twitter. No Instagram. No endless doomscrolling. I deleted all the apps. I put a sign on my desk: “Mamala’s got it.” And I refocused my daily energy.
The biggest change: I swapped out CNN for HGTV. For the last week, my evenings have been spent binge-watching Home Town, HGTV’s Southern reno charmer. A local design duo who once lived in New York now live in their home town, and they gut run-down homes for families who are new to the area. Genius, y’all. Instead of Erin and Don, I spend time with Erin and Ben. Instead of a New York soundstage, I journey through Laurel, Mississippi. Ahhh, trees. Instead of a pundit, a politician, and a press secretary, I watch a painter, a pipelayer, and an upholsterer.
I am not suggesting that you do the exact same. You do you. Your brain is your brain. But I will tell you this: I have had a much happier week. I am calmer, clearer, and much more focused. I have to — I want to — have faith that this ship is no longer heading toward an iceberg every waking minute. I’m making an effort to focus on the things that spark joy (thanks, Marie Kondo), that generate both active and passive income (thanks, Suze Orman), and that don’t waste my precious “fucks” (thanks, Sarah Knight).