The world is full of disaster and heartache, and the older I get, the more I become aware of the horrible tragedies happening all around the world. When I was a kid, it was easy to live in a bubble and not pay attention to worldwide problems. I didn’t read the newspaper or watch the news because I honestly didn’t care. What kid does? Like most kids, I didn’t understand how worldwide issues could possibly affect me.
Social media as we now know it was in its infancy when I was a teenager. I didn’t use Twitter until college, and even then, I only followed my favorite television shows. I didn’t care about what was happening in the real world; I only cared about what was happening in fictional worlds.
Now that I’m my approaching my mid-twenties, I still spend a lot of time reading fiction books and watching television dramas, but I’m also more aware of the world around me. I’ve had some sad awakenings in the past year or so.
Humans are naturally attracted to angst. We want drama–we want to feel. That’s why posts about heartache and tragedy get so much coverage in the media. As we age, reading the drama and the angst and the heartache becomes harder and harder. I spent many years lost in fictional angst, so it didn’t occur to me that many of the fictional stories I was reading, watching, and even writing were happening in the real world too. It was easy to get lost in the fictional aspect of the matter, since the characters themselves weren’t real.
In today’s world, it’s scary to turn on the television or click on an article and read more than just the headline. These aren’t fictional stories. They’re not based on true stories. They are true stories. I’ve realized just how scary the world around me is. Sometimes, I turn on the news, and I have to reflect on if I’m watching Criminal Minds or the news. When the lines between fiction and reality blur, tragedies become difficult to digest, and truthfully, most of the time I don’t know what to say, so I choose to say nothing at all.
I’m not heartless. I’m not ignorant to the horrible acts of violence happening around the world. There was a shooting in Paris today, which I think is devastating. I feel sick when I hear about a shooting, a person dying from cancer, or a natural disaster. People die every day. But if I allow myself to submerge into the tragedies and heartaches of reality, then I’ll never be able to live my life.
I live with anxiety, so I’m always worried that something bad is going to happen. When I was a kid, every time the phone rang late at night, I thought someone was calling to deliver bad news. As an adult, whenever I receive a phone call from my mother, I assume something bad has happened. Whenever I have a stomachache or a headache, I think I have cancer. Whenever my cat throws up, I think he has a blockage in his intestines (My childhood cat had a blockage and needed an expensive surgery to save his life). I’m an anxious person, and that’s why I write. Writing helps alleviate my stress. It serves as a release.
That is why I will opt to re-post cute cat pictures and focus on the good in life. That’s how I stay sane. I’m making an effort to focus on the good in the world in my daily life instead of the bad.
Tragedies remind us to appreciate the little things. I want to smile when I look at my timeline, even if it’s because of a silly cat video. Plus, it’s an added bonus if I can make just one person who follows me smile also. That’s why many people, myself included, are drawn to sharing inspirational quotes, especially when we’re having a bad day.
You can use your social media pages to put a smile on your face, or you can use them to remind yourself that the world is a horrible, awful place. The choice is ultimately yours.
“When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.” – Unknown