COLUMN: I could care less, and I will

 

BY MIKE HANKS

mike.hanks@ecm-inc.com

Every December I tell somebody that I’m going to make the same resolution I make every January: to stop doing so much for everyone else and to start doing more for me.

No matter how many years I repeat the line, and no matter how wry and sarcastic I am in my delivery, I rarely earn a chuckle in exchange for my attempt at humor.

This year, however, my resolution is no laughing matter.

Despite the fact that I resist the New Year’s resolution game, I’m joining in the fun this year, and I’m serious about my 2013 resolution. I resolve to care less.

I’d like to say I’m going to stop caring, but I know better. I’m simply going to care less.

Caring is often associated with concern. We care about our family, we care about our friends.

Caring is also defined as having interest.

I care about my friends and family, but I don’t care about their political opinions, their favorite sports teams or their musical preferences.

The problem is that thanks to the power of the Internet and social networking, I am exposed to thoughtless, simplistic ramblings of my friends and family. And yes, I have been guilty of sharing a few of my own over the years.

But this past election season pushed me over the edge. The simple-minded nonsense I saw day after day, and still occasionally see, made me realize that for all the benefits social networks provide, they also expose me to things I’d rather not know about my friends and family.

At the end of the day I don’t care what political party my friends or family think can do no wrong. I don’t care how great my friends think their football team is. I don’t care what song my friends are listening to on a Friday afternoon.

And what am I going to do about it? I’m going to stop caring, that’s what.

I’d love to say I’m going to delete my social network accounts and focus more of my time on things that matter in my day-to-day life. I’d love to tell you I’m going to stop playing cute online games that I occasionally sit down to play, but I’m not sure I can take such a bold step.

Several months ago I was having a lousy day, and I thought about sharing a few details with my online community. There’s nothing wrong with seeking a little sympathy from your friends and family, but I didn’t want to explain why I was having a lousy day, and I didn’t want to sound pathetic, or despondent, in doing so. I sat there for five minutes, staring at the computer, thinking about what I wanted to write.

And then I realized what an incredible waste of time that was, and wondered why I felt compelled to write anything at all. For whatever reason I decided that a better thing to do was disconnect from my social network for a week. And I did. It wasn’t hard, despite the dependence I have developed for daily glimpses into the lives of my friends and family.

Somewhere there’s a happy medium between my daily ingestion of the pointless and total disconnect from my friends and family. I still want to see pictures of my nieces, I just don’t care how miserable the next four years are going to be here in the United States, or how much better a friend’s life is because their football team is better than my football team.

I’m going to find that happy medium in the weeks and months to come, and I’m going to do so by caring less.

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