Many, many years ago, I called myself a Data Angel, a term taken out from an adventure game that hardly anyone remembers. The name still holds, since what I do at every waking moment is to absorb, cross reference and analyse data. If you know me, you may have had situations where I can pull up references and information on the fly, sometimes dating back months or years, all from memory and a quick search. That’s my ability, and some say (mostly myself) superpower. Yet for every superpower, there comes with it a side effect, a cost of using it. Burnout happened to be mine.
One day I woke up and realise that regardless of everything I know, trivial or otherwise, caring about that knowledge became a burden. When social media hit full swing, so too was the weight upon me. The amount of data didn’t fuss me. I mean, I have 3 screens setup so that I can continuously pull information off the net. It was the effect of analysing all that information. So what if I know that crime rates are increasing in a particular area that has a particular socio-econimic value? So what if the demographic of people for or against LGBT relationships doesn’t correlate with people who are for or against immigration of foreign people? I know these are problems that consequently the infrastructure of a society 2-3 years down the line, but what more can I do?
So I did the only thing I could do. I stopped worrying about what I know and using it for what I could do.
Don’t get me wrong, I still am an idealistic person. I have dreams and I have hope. There were days and nights where I would rant and rant to world and anyone that would listen that “This is wrong and this is what we should all be doing to fix it.” I was the proto-activist before activism became a thing. It’s just that somewhere along the line, I realised that life cares more about the results and consequences of your actions than your actual words and what you know.
As one person, what made me cynical was the inability for me to get enough people to listen and therefore act in the best interest of the society. I didn’t have the charisma, the looks or the money. I was not a leader, and if you didn’t already realise it, I am a think-tank. That’s what I do best and leave it to people in charge to be guided by my information. That’s a perfect world. A perfect world this ain’t and that was killing me.
The thing about the word “World” is that it can be defined based on your perceptions of it. You can see it in a literal sense and say it’s about you and everyone in it, or you can take it in the metaphorical sense and realise there are more important things in life than trying to flog a weary horse. I chose the latter.
So yes, I stopped caring about the world. So what if we’re screwing up the world by polluting it? So what if feminist fight against misogynists for the place of the everyday women? All that doesn’t matter in my life until I make it matter. What I know means I can take steps to deal with it on an individual case by case basis. I will protect my home. I will accept people for who they are. I have goals to go on solar with a house battery because it’s an awesome thing to do. I will raise my daughter right to take the world as it is, no matter what it throws at her.
I am not doing the world any favours. I am just doing myself and that which is mine a responsibility. As it turns out, hard work that it is, I am happier for it because for the first time, I am actually getting somewhere with what I know. It’s amazing and it’s a whole lot better than being a person that used to complain why the world is a shitty, dumb place.
Before you think that I’m touting that this is better than being someone who fights for a better literal world, I just have to say, people who do just that, and I mean do, fight, work blood, sweat and tears instead of whining, they are ways stronger than I could ever be and I have a grand respect for them and their accomplishments. I just ultimately chose a different life, one that works best for the circumstances I found myself in.
Know that a perfect world mine ain’t, but you know what? I’m alive for it.