How The Decision To Not Watch The News Changed My Life

About 10 years ago I made a decision that has made such a significant difference in my life for the better that I share it with anyone who allows me to. What did I do?  I stopped watching/ reading the news. Around that time it seemed to me that news was omnipresent. It felt like a force. A force that was permeating our thoughts, feelings and experiences. Most of which were messages of death, destruction, cruelty, abuse, lies, deceptions, spreading fear, unrest, stress, anxiety, misery, distrust to be with us in what seemed like every moment of our day. With little or no respite. Then one day a thought came into my head. It was a memory of something someone whom I loved very much shared with me. They asked me what I thought was my (and everyone else’s) most important asset?  I thought about it and replied “Time” 

“Very good.” they said. 

“So if that is all we have then doesn’t it make sense to make the best use of it that we can?”

I nodded, struggling to take this in. 

“What is most important to you in your life?”

I wasn’t sure, I was only 10 or 11 at the time. I shrugged my shoulders.

“Well when you figure that out then make that what you put your time and energy into. To put into things or people that you have no control over is a waste of time”

It would take almost 20 years for me to figure out what on earth they were sharing with me. I didn’t think about it everyday but it was something that remained with me. 

What I finally figured out was that it was those who loved me and that I was close to that was most important to me. Then I figured out that time spent doing things that robbed me of that gift was a waste. It was this realisation that informed my choice to stop watching the news. I had allowed it to become a time thief. I had the influence of things that I had no control over to take a hold of me. It wasn’t easy though as I had underestimated just how many tentacles were stuck in my head and body. 

One of the things that really helped was to read more.  I had always loved reading but had let it slip. I thought it reasonable to read one book every two weeks, that would be approx 25 in a year. As it turned out I underestimated my ability and I read fifty books. I had at least three different titles on the go at once. By including ebooks and audible books I found I was able to read anytime I had a moment to do so. Then one day I read a book that made me angry, ripped out my heart and left me shocked, stunned and filled with what I can only  describe as a righteous indignation. A term I learned when I was with the Mormons to describe a type of anger that was considered righteous and worthy. The book has a title that some may find challenging. Referring to the subject of Transgenderism. If this is likely to be a trigger for you then I advise you stop reading now and read another of my blogs instead. 

The book is called Irreversable Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters

Written by Abigail Shrier. She started her career in law before becoming a freelance writer in various news publications including Newsweek and a regular column writer on the Wall Street Journal among others. Her writing focuses on injustice in society and the fragile mental health state of teenagers who are given wrong information. 

Shrier began investigating adolescent on-set gender dysphoria after being contacted by a mother of a young adult with no apparent history of childhood gender dysphoria who was identifying as transgender at College. She describes the distress of parents trying to understand their child’s transgender identification or transition as well as critiquing the gender affirming model of care in the US. Discussing trans activism and related controversies including sex specific privacy concerns, passing versus trans visibility, the role of celebrities increasing trans acceptance, conflict between transgender people and lesbians or radical feminists, transfeminine/ male to female athletes competing in women’s sports, the use of trans-inclusive language, intersectionality and identity politics. In an interview in July 2020 on The Joe Rogan Experience she described it as a ‘contagion’ and compared it with eating disorders and cutting. 

In the current climate this is highly controversial and has brought a lot of criticism and hatred toward the writer. 

Out of the hundreds of books I have read over the last ten years this to me stands out as one of the most important books I have ever read. It was also one of the most difficult books I have ever read. For me it is on the same level as The Gulag Archipelago by Doestoyevsky and The Road To Wigan Pier by George Orwell. 

I know someone very close to me who had a child almost thirty years ago that they have never met. In a heart wrenching moment we shared not too long ago they spoke about the issue of Transgenderism. What if that child they have never met comes miraculously into their life and brings with them their experience of being Transgender. They asked themself the question “How do you think you would handle it?”  “What differences do you think it would bring into their life?”  “How would it affect their reunion?” In my opinion some very brave questions to ask oneself. I was moved that they had been able to contemplate such things. Touched that they felt able to share it with me. 

I had read the book and shared with my friend how deeply it had touched me and offered it to them to read. My friend, having sufficient trust in me, opened up to share something deeply personal and because of my experience with this book we helped one another to find a lens in which to view this highly controversial subject. 

As a parent of a daughter and the grandparent of a granddaughter I keep a prayer in my heart that having the courage and strength to discuss these matters, I will be spared the agony of comforting my daughter because her daughter was a victim of what Abigail Shrier described as a ‘contagion’. I hope with all my heart that it won’t be us but one thing I feel certain of is that it will be someone.  How many more will there be before we find ways to combat this ‘contagion’. How many beautiful glorious lights will be extinguished before we learn the lessons that this book is shining a light on. 

I want to thank Abigail Shrier for writing this book and for enduring the fallout that it brought upon her. Thanks too to Regnery Publishing for supporting her. 

If by saying these things it brings difficulty and fallout to my own life then so be it. To me this is too important to stay silent about. 

If you are someone you know has been affected by these issues I would really like to hear from you. If you have been moved by the things that I have spoken about I’d love to hear from you. 

You can:

Email tom@tomgalewriter.com

Leave a comment on my website www.tomgalewriter.com

Tweet me TomGaleWriter

Or leave feedback on Facebook search tomgalewriter

I am looking for some beta readers for my work in progress, a memoir where I as a young man struggles to understand my sexuality and spirituality in Edinburgh during the 1970 – 1990’s. Despite poverty, violent abuse, the Mormon Church, the British Army, marriage and fatherhood he finally finds courage to make the biggest decision of his life. 

The feedback from this will influence my editing and rewriting so that when I do finally send it to a professional editor it will stand out as one that has avoided the pitfalls that beset others ultimately making it a better prospect for publishing. If you feel that you would like to part of that you can send me an email to tom@tomgalewriter.com with Beta Reader in the comments and I will share excerpts and get your valuable feedback. 

Until next time. Take care of yourself and those you love. 

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