The news is rather unsettling lately, to say the least. How do you handle that? Do you watch endlessly or do you avoid the news altogether? Or maybe something else entirely? I ask because what we do with the news we hear is important. I have a friend who likes to chat politics when he’s not at home because at home he isn’t allowed to. His wife refuses to listen to or watch any news because it will disturb her sense of well-being. That’s certainly one way to handle the news but I find it very privileged. How lucky are we that we can do that? How lucky are we that we live in an area that exists fairly unscathed from most of the horror we hear on the news. Even when the “bad stuff” hits here, like Covid, there isn’t too much talk of how bad it is. Remember the article I quoted that said Ocean County had one of the highest death rates in the world from Covid? Did you know that at the time? I didn’t. Why didn’t we know this? Would it have changed anyone’s behaviors?

That is why I watch and read the news-so I can know what is happening and change my thinking and behavior if needed. If we only look inward we cannot be the change that is so desperately needed out there. It sure is tempting to just look inward, into our safe bubble here. I know I did for a long time. But things are intruding. Sandy hit 10 years ago and made climate change a reality. Covid hit and killed thousands of our fellow residents. Politics have polarized us and since we live in a very homogenous area many people will never hear another viewpoint if they never look outward. The costs to not looking outward are growing.

How can we challenge ourselves to look outward? It is hard to do because who likes to hear or see the bad news? But it is imperative that we do look and listen. It is imperative that we have the difficult conversations and share what weighs us down. Sharing will educate others and build community. In the greatest possible sense it can create change. One more person making changes is still change. WE are the only ones on this earth who can fix the problems we are witnessing. Humans have the power to change. It’s time to look outward. Until next time, stay well and stay curious!

Elder Lynn
Lynn O’Hara, MS, RD, LPC, Licensed Psychotherapist and Registered Dietitian