Let's just say that in my zeal to spend time actually enjoying my own life, I sorta forgot about one tiny thing - the inbox!
Suddenly it dawned on me that I DO have a choice about this sort of thing.
I long ago took action on my overflowing snail mail by cancelling subscriptions, removing myself from every mailing list that I could, and signing up for various do not mail lists.
But somehow email seemed less bad to me - I always figured it was a good way to stay informed about things I care about without all the paper and hassle.
However, while it might not consume as many physical resources, having an inbox full of emails begging for my time, attention, and money is not helping me. All my email inbox is really doing is taking my time and attention away from more important and meaningful things.
And the thing is, while most of these emails do come from businesses and organizations that I care about and want to support, I am a finite being with limited resources of time, energy and money. I just can't be responsible for staying engaged with every little thing that's wrong in the universe.
And soooo... I decided that help was really only a click away...
First I tackled the easy ones... the pure marketing crap. I'm not even sure how I got onto some of these email lists, but I certainly don't need to be wasting my time reading (or even just deleting) emails from Target or Big Lots or Best Buy. Sorry dudes, but being a "good consumer" is not my job!
Next came the "newsletters." It seems like every organization I've ever done business with wants to send me a monthly or weekly "newsletter" telling me all about what's going on with their group. And while many of these are small businesses or groups that I really do want to support, staying "up to date" on the minutia of every organization that does good work is just not my job either.
Then came the non-profits. Boy, oh boy do these people have me pegged. My inbox regularly overflows with emails from every animal shelter, sanctuary or environmental group on the planet. Oh the guilt. I know the world is full of homeless & abused pets, and that wildlife habitats are being destroyed right and left, and ecosystems are coming apart at the seams, but do I really need to be reminded of it on an hourly basis?
I contribute when I can, and receiving the constant stream of heartbreaking stories and pictures along with pleas for more money really only makes me feel... well... it makes me feel heartbroken and helpless. And to be perfectly honest, I've got my hands full just trying to take care of the 4 once-stray cats that I've already adopted. As much as it pains me to say it, saving every animal on the planet is just not my job.
And then there's the real kicker... the political emails. Just thinking about it gives me a knot in my stomach. Here's the thing. I know our personal freedoms are under assault. I know that the corporations have ridiculous amounts of power and are working hard to buy this election. I know that a return to the right wing economic policies would be devastating to the people of this country. But is my digital signature on a bazillion petitions really going to fix it all?
I guess I'm just coming to the sad conclusion that trying to save people from themselves is pointless, and it's not my job either.
I still feel a little bit guilty, but to be honest, I'm kinda looking forward to the inbox being something other than a giant energy suck vortex.
Does anybody else out there struggle with this stuff? How do you keep from feeling like you're responsible for fixing everything that's wrong in the world?