Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Columnist Robert Hawke Says It’s Okay To Ignore The World – For Now

For pretty much the last two years (two and half really) I have been watching events in the world and shaking my head. It has seemed to me that this part of the planet was going down a rabbit hole of confusion, sexism and xenophobia that left my head and heart spinning.

You may have felt this as well. I considered it my duty to stay informed, to keep abreast of everything as it happened, because I thought that the more of us are informed the better chance we have of influencing the world in a positive way. But terrible things just keep happening!

When the news of the world feels overwhelming, it’s okay to unplug. Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons, Matt Popovich.

Sometimes things are so crazy that it can feel as though you were baking a beautiful chocolate cake that you took from the oven, which got the dog excited. He jumps on you and knocks you down. Cake falls to the floor, spouse runs into the kitchen and tips over the candles on the table set for a romantic dinner. Candles hit the curtains and light them on fire, then things get worse.

Once everyone is out of the house, it is engulfed in flames. The fire department shows up, but crashes into your beautiful new car. After the fire is out, you stand in mournful silence, staring at your formerly beautiful home. Then the mail delivery person arrives and hands you your hydro bill, which was higher than expected. You get the idea…

Disaster paired with calamity has left me horrified, disappointed and – dare I say it? – cynical. It’s actually started to affect my sleep and appetite. (The sleep got worse and my appetite increased, which isn’t good for anybody except the National Ice Cream Association.)

You may have experienced this slow burn of terror as well. It’s not quite as scary as watching The Haunting of Hill House by yourself, but it has been close.

Because this has been freaking me out so much, I decided to do something simple and dramatic and that is to STOP PAYING ATTENTION! Heck, most of the things I’m upset about aren’t even happening in our country. (BTW, if you’re happier than ever to be Canadian, raise your bong.)

Make the world go away – at least for now, says Hawke. Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons, Steven Mileham.

It’s interesting as well that ignoring what is going on would have been impossible 20 years ago. I just couldn’t have done it. To create another metaphor, it has been like sitting in the stands of an Olympic gold medal hockey game while the Swedes have a power play for 25 minutes.

It’s just too much to take! If someone had suggested to the younger version of myself that I should ignore what’s going on, I would have lost my mind. I would have screamed, yelled and given an impressive speech about the need to always be involved.

But with age, I have gained some perspective on this. I just don’t think I can handle being upset for the next two years or so. It is time to invoke the ancient words of many a sage person and the rock band, OK, Go. Those words are: “This too shall pass.”

With that in mind, it leads me to believe that the twists and turns the world has experienced in the last two years will eventually reverse. Eventually, North America will find its sense of empathy again. Eventually, women will have the influence that they deserve in our societies. And eventually, the next season of Game Of Thrones will be released.

But for now, we must wait. I am starting to have faith that the world will find its way. That things will rebalance and the storm we are currently in will not sink us, but will give way to calmer, saner waters once again. In the meantime, let’s start baking another cake.

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