Early in 2016, my family and I travelled out to San Diego to visit one of my oldest friends. We’d grown up in the same town, but went to rival high schools and different colleges. Throughout all that, we remained extremely close. We went to parties at houses of each other’s high school friends; We visited each other in college. After graduating, we both moved out to California. After a year, I left; He stayed and has made his life out there.
In any case, he’s become successful running a business and while we chatted over a couple glasses of scotch last winter, he mentioned something. We were talking about Netflix or HULU or whatever and I mentioned a show that everyone seemed to love, but I couldn’t get into it and quit after just one episode. I said something to the effect of, “I just found myself feeling badly for the guy.”
“I don’t watch stuff that’s too negative,” he said. “I don’t watch the news, not even local news. Fucks up my mind.”
And he pinpointed how I can feel sometimes while following the news or current events or social media. There’s a lot of negativity. There’s negativity about politics and sports and negativity about people being negative. What’s more is that some sad shit happens in this world. For people like me, prone to restless mind-wandering, hearing news of murders and rape and domestic violence, that shit keeps me up at night.
Of course, I’m a member of the media. I can’t exactly tune all this stuff out. I can’t log off of the world because much of my life and way of making money is partially filled with media consumption. I have to read these things. And I can’t avoid them a lot of the times. In the past two months, my Twitter feed is a barrel of negativity. There’s anger and sadness and hostility and fear over our President-Elect. There’s news about Syria and updates on a horrific beheading of a teenager in a neighboring town.
I wanted to counter balance this negativity with stuff that I enjoy, so I came up with a solution. I made a Twitter list of “happy stuff.” A Twitter list is just a place that compiles a certain group of Twitter handles to follow. Some people utilize this for sports or beer-news or (probably) porn.
I thought to myself, “What can I make a list of that would be solely good news all the time? So that if I went on for 15 minutes every time I’m overwhelmed with worry or anxiety or sadness (about the world, about my personal life, about my career) that I can just forget about all of that for little bit?”
My list is pretty silly, actually, but it makes me happy. I follow national parks, where I get to see pictures of some of the prettiest landscapes in the country; I follow shark tagging Twitters that update me with shark pictures; I do the same for whales. So, when I’m feeling shitty or just need an escape, I head over to Happy Twitter and just enjoy the view.