I live in two worlds: mine and everyone else's. I vastly prefer mine, thank you. I live in everyone else's world of inescapable necessity, in mine through choice. Everyone else's world is a deafening cacophony of things which really have little or no direct impact on my day to day existence, yet they're there, clamoring for attention even though I could do little about them even if I had any interest in doing so.
As a result, I found that constructing my own world to be a viable alternative. Submerging myself in books from early childhood gave me all the tools I needed to build my own world, the job made easier by the combination of not feeling accepted in the world of “everyone else” and, from what I saw of it, not really wanting to belong.
I found early on that the vast majority of things over which people concern and with which they absorb themselves have little or no actual effect on their individual lives, either. So I cut out the middle man, as it were. If something doesn't effect me directly—Charlie Studmuffin's paparazzi-slathered breakup with Veronica Vacuous, for example—every melodramatic detail of which is followed with mesmerized fascination by millions, I can spare myself the shared agony by simply ignoring it. Were I to depend on Charlie or Veronica, personally, for my livelihood or physical wellbeing—were they paying my rent, for example—it would undoubtedly be of interest to me. But since I have never met them, am unlikely to ever meet them, and even less likely for them to play any part whatsoever in my day-to-day life, I can simply sail through their stormy seas like the Flying Dutchman, totally unaffected.
Thinking it over, I believe I have by now managed to largely ignore eight-tenths of what goes on outside the perimeter of interests I have carefully established for myself.
It is not as though I have totally disassociated myself from the world in which I physically live, or from people. I am truly touched and saddened by the real troubles of others and would of course do my best to assist someone on a one-to-one basis. But I have learned that to get too worked up over those things over which I can have absolutely no impact no matter what I do is an exercise in misery.
While I easily grow fond of those people I encounter regularly and with whom I share history or interests, I am simply neutral to just about everyone else. I have no interest whatsoever in engaging in the gossip and speculation and rumors that so many people seem to find so titillating. Other people's lives are their lives and I do not concern myself with them any more than they should concern themselves with mine. The almost universal fascination with “celebrities,” touched on above, utterly escapes me. I can admire artists and actors greatly for their work, but I have absolutely no investment or interest in their daily lives, their emotional entanglements, or their trips to drug rehab centers.
I treasure my friends and perhaps oddly consider you, since you are kind enough to read what I write, to be one of them. I expand the perimeters of my personal world to encompass those people whose absence I would feel.
And as hard as I may try to shut out the world's negativity, it is almost impossible to do so without becoming a hermit. The despicably inhuman and inhumane words and actions of those utterly devoid of compassion, tolerance, logic, or understanding—those who believe that the only way to raise themselves up is by stepping on others—affect me deeply, if I allow them to. Therefore I choose not to, whenever possible. Since I, personally, can do nothing to change their opinions, to fret and stew about it is a monumental waste of time. If I thought for one moment that I could change them, I would. So my alternatives are either to be constantly frustrated and heartsick or to simply ignore them. I choose the latter. It is next to impossible to escape the F-6 tornados of hatred and stupidity and pure, true evil which seem to be sweeping across the land with increasing strength for the past several years. It is utterly incomprehensible to me and, were I dwell on it, it could be enough to all but crush hope. I will not allow my hope to be crushed. So until the storms pass, you can find me inside my little perimeter of life-as-it-should-be.
Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1).