I spent a couple of blissful months unaware of the happenings of the world, cut off from my muscle-memory visits to The Guardian, Hacker News, Google News and a dozen other websites as I wait for my code changes to build. When I first stopped reading the news, I thought I’d miss being out of the loop and “relapse” pretty quickly, but I managed to hold off for about three months. Towards the end of it, I dipped back every week or two, mostly to know how COVID was ravaging the world and whether I’d be allowed back into India (Has any other country ever shut down all international flights and refused entry to its own citizens?), just in case that became a necessity. I even managed to read more long-form articles (Thanks Aeon!) and books, since there was a surprisingly big chunk of free time that I would have otherwise filled with news.
All of that came crashing down with Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last month, and the imminent US election. The anxiety of not knowing what was happening out there quickly exceeded the anxiety I felt when I tried to keep up with the news. I can’t think of a time when so much has hung in the balance of an election - The US is set to withdraw from the (non-binding!) Paris climate agreement in November, and those who wish to trample upon women’s rights are surely emboldened by the recent anti-choice declaration led by the US and of course, the coup de grâce, RBG’s replacement.
I’m really looking forward to cutting news out of my life again, but I cannot imagine skipping the news first thing in the morning for the next two weeks.