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“If it bleeds, it leads.” Whether you’ve heard the saying or not, you understand its meaning. It’s never been more true than today. Even if you’ve managed to sneak out of your personal echo chamber, finding not-so-disturbing news is just about impossible. Sure, there are the feel-good stories they slip in, right after they tell you the world is on fire. Grandma finds her puppy, little Timmy beats cancer. But if you only consume social media headlines and posts, chances are it looks like we are on the brink of destruction. Cataclysmic events are on the horizon. How will they impact you? Click here to find out!

Algorithms are designed to freak us out. They don’t want us to read the article, just get mad and share the thing. The information isn’t important, your freaking out is. That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty to freak out about. There is. Life isn’t all donuts and unicorns. There is a lot going on that frankly, just sucks. Some of it we can act on. Donating, volunteering, and creating awareness all move us towards the progress we are hoping to achieve. And some of it we can’t.

Isolating ourselves from reality isn’t the answer. But we aren’t wired up to process all of the daily pain and tragedy on the planet either. When we’ve done what we have the power to do, what then?

Well, those ads aren’t gonna sell themselves. We get right back on that app, maybe looking for those elusive unicorns and donuts, but more often finding a reason to freak out some more. I know, I’ve been there. I’m a dedicated doomscroller. I will scour my phone screen looking for some sign that whatever is bothering me is improving or getting worse, and it’s usually the latter. When I tear myself away, that little voice in the back of my head says, “Hey, you could be missing something. It’s been 30 whole seconds since you swiped that little screen.” So I pick it up and see what I missed. And I find it, usually something I didn’t even think I was looking for.

And it’s almost always terrifying.

I don’t mean to suggest checking out altogether. Staying informed is important and necessary. But on the occasions I tell that stupid voice to stuff it, even for just a little while, I notice a slight but significant shift in my thoughts. I find a moment to pet my cat, usually waking and irritating him, but instantly lowering my blood pressure. I catch a few chapters in a book. Find that a walk sounds nice, and feels even nicer. I notice the birds chirping, and the squirrels doing whatever it is that squirrels do. Look at that, a rainbow.

Wait, what? My neighborhood is still intact? Surely you jest.

Taking a little break from the madness that is internet news, I have a chance to remember that I’m still here. Still alive. I have a chance to remember that even if things suck sometimes, I still have a chance to squeeze a little joy out of life. Hell, a lot of joy. Maybe even a donut.

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I am a former adult entertainer, with a love of books, writing and humor. My job has given me a unique perspective on life. I spent twenty years as a stripper on and off and started writing as a way to...