Of all the months in the year, I think June is my favorite. I just love the weather and the vibe and the fact that everything is (finally) blooming and, well . . . bustin' out all over!
Turning the calendar over to June also means it's time to . . .
On the first Monday of the month, I share random things that have recently caught my eye. Interesting articles, little factoids, and inspiring this-and-that, for the most part. Things that might help get your day started in a revved-up kind of way.
Let's start things off with a quote . . .
"It's not your responsibility to do everything. But it is your responsibility to do something."
--- Sharon McMahon
There is . . . a lot going wrong in the world. It's easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed by the All Of It. It's easy to become cynical and think that there is nothing to be done, nothing that we can do. (This would be me, on many days of late.)
Today's Start Your Engines post is my attempt to inject some . . . action and control . . . into your overwhelm.
First of all, let's turn off the news, okay?
Personally, the constant access to news updates really gets me into a spin. Years ago, Tom and I stopped watching any kind of TV news. Then, we stopped listening to NPR. It was just too much . . . all the time. I got rid of all the news apps on my phone. I stopped subscribing to any news-related podcasts.
And, no. I don't live in a cave. I do pay attention to the news. I just pay attention on my terms. Now, I decide if and when I want to check in with the news. And when I do, I seek out headline updates from The New York Times or NPR. Sometimes I click in and read/listen further, but often . . . I don't. It really helps my state of mind. And . . . I'm not missing anything by not being constantly tuned in.
So I'm just here to encourage you to . . . assess all the ways you get your news. Consider how you feel after reading or listening to the news. Think about how long it takes you to recover from exposure to depressing news. Then . . . make some little change that allows you to keep up with what's happening in the world without immersing yourself in the news cycle.
What works for me (mostly)? I like having a reliable source of headline news that I can skim quickly and then click in to articles of interest when I'm ready to do so. I have friends who swear by The Skimm (a daily morning headline news site), but I prefer The Morning (the daily newsletter for New York Times subscribers). I still get sucked in to the vortex of bad news sometimes, but having control of what I pay attention to - and when - has really helped my state of mind.
Now, let's curate our social media accounts.
Over the past couple of years, I've really changed the way I interact with social media. I've written before about how I got rid of Facebook (and don't miss it even a little bit). And I've drastically changed the way I interact with Instagram. First, I just don't go there very often anymore. But, more importantly, I've carefully curated "who I follow." I now only follow people who inspire me, people who make me feel better about my day or about the world. I encourage you to create a social media presence (if you even want one) that adds to your joy. Get rid of the stuff that makes you feel bad or "less than" or tired.
Next, let's learn.
Sharon Says So (someone I do choose to follow on Instagram) hosts workshops -- or "deep dives" -- on relevant (or sometimes just interesting) topics related to American government or social issues. Back in 2021, Sharon put together a workshop about Gun Laws in the U.S. She explains the issue from a legal standpoint -- what the current laws are, how they evolved, what are the facts. Her "deep dives" are not debate workshops. They are not meant to convince participants that any "side" is right; they are simply fact-based and informative. As Sharon says, "whatever your beliefs are about guns in America - you are welcome here. No shame, only facts."
After the Uvalde shootings last month, Sharon made this workshop available for free for all who are interested in learning more about U.S. gun laws. (Her workshops are normally $12.99 to download.) Click here get free access to the workshop. (I'm not sure how long she's going to be offering it at no cost, but it is still an active link as of this morning.) Once I submitted the form (with my name and email address), I received an email with the link to access the workshop. I chose to download it and save it for later, so I can watch it when it's more convenient for me (it's an hour and 43 minutes long). Easy Peasy. I'm sure it will be very informative, and I'm looking forward to deepening my understanding of the issue -- and having the facts (so maybe I can more eloquently express how I feel).
(A great piece on Sharon McMahon of Sharon Says So fame came out in The Atlantic over the weekend, by the way. Click here to access the article.)
And, on the lighter side . . .
Here in our house,a favorite book to read when my kids were young was this one . . .
I was happy (okay, and shocked) to learn that the book is celebrating its 50th birthday this month! Read or listen to the interview with author Judith Viorst - now a very young 91 - and her real-life son, Alexander, here. The book is a true classic, and is such a wonderful description of . . . well . . . a really bad day. Which happen . . . even in Australia.
And with that, we're OFF for another week; another month!
I hope my post today has given you some ideas for action and control.
We can't do everything, but we can do something!
Happy June, everyone.
FINAL REMINDER . . .
Tomorrow - June 7 - is the Read With Us discussion day for Young Mungo. Our Zoom discussion will begin at 7:00 pm (Eastern Time). Please let me know if you're planning to join us for the Zoom -- either in the comments or by sending me an email (my email link is at the very top of the sidebar).
I'll be sending out Zoom invitations later this afternoon. If you haven't received on by 5:00 Eastern time today - and you want to join us - please let me know.
(As always, we'll also include discussion questions on our blogs that day, in case you can't make it for the Zoom.)