The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret

Social media has made everyone stupid. Even the most articulate and sensible of people has a moment, from time to time (I do NOT count myself in this number, I’m perpetually dumb on Twitter) and we forgive them, mostly, because we are generous and kind-hearted rhinoceroses. I’m watching with increasing humour, for instance, as the White House Press Secretary who shouted at the media on Saturday appears to keep his phone in his pants pocket and is tweeting gibberish (or possibly his Twitter password, hard to say…) For some, technology will always be the enemy. It is one of those things you either use or don’t, get or loathe. I grew up with a father who was obsessed with computers, and still is well into his 70’s. It was inevitable that would rub off on me, on reflection, and now I can’t think of a time when I won’t be pottering with something.

Except yesterday, I did my very best to stay offline.


Some days, distance is the only thing that stops me from putting a foot through a screen. My anger at wanton and often specifically targeted selfishness and thoughtlessness is beyond the limit of my ability to either rationalise or cope. In fact, if I’m fair, since Monday I’ve been dealing with issue after issue where, like it or not, I can do nothing but stay quiet and wait to see what happens next. Last night I didn’t go and play games, I made a conscious decision to go to bed and this morning I went to the Gym with one thought in my head, to just not look at my phone until I’d rationalised the week. Amazingly, it worked. I have a handle on this now. Putting distance between contention and me does make things better. The catalyst, I now grasp, is that what is big up close is actually minuscule at a distance. I’m reminded, unsurprisingly, of the Father Ted sketch.

When you’re used to filling content with stuff that isn’t really significant, the moment a real huge-assed Drama comes along, everything shifts perspective. What was major and life changing a week ago is now small potatoes, when you look at the potential chaos in the bigger World. However much I’d like to make my issues important to a wider audience, I think I’d rather we all got to the end of this whole shit-show alive and in one piece more. That means, it is time for some adjustments. The first one, amazingly, is just to carry on and not collapse in a heap of emotional trauma.

Taking personal time for yourself when the relentless stream of horror shows no sign of stopping is REALLY important. The rules of Personal Care remain largely the same as they did when I was taught them as a child; in fact, this poster remains where I come back to when reality gets too much:


If you substitute ‘work’ for homework, frankly, this is my start point. All these things suffer when I’m stressed, and having the basic foundation of routine is what is needed to stay sane. It’s the reason why I write every day too, because habits formed then become harder to break and help sustain your momentum. That’s where I’m starting from again today, and once we have all that sorted, then there will be an opportunity to arrange the other parts of existence in a sensible order. I haven’t cried today, despite a number of moments where it would have been entirely acceptable to do just that. Here is the line, and there is the progress.

This is where I realise I need to reassess all of my priorities.

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