Newish President Trump has got me considering the idea of introspection—the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes. Despite the never ending parade of self-help gurus all touting it’s benefits, surprisingly few people are introspective. Those opposed to self-examination still rise through the ranks, lead people, and even become President of the United States, yet remain ignorant of their shortcomings. Rather than toil in self-awareness, they plow through life pushing aside others with blissful disregard. But what if they’re right? What if we don’t need introspection?
Evidence suggests a strong link between the sharing of deeply personal information and readership. Not just things like a favorite color or food, but real important stuff, like one’s shoe size. Medium.com is littered with ordinary folks who share intimate details about themselves, accruing more followers than Jesus—Jesus is the hispanic guy who runs the awesome local food truck in my home town.
Purchasing condoms when you’re 16 can be life altering. There are lots of choices to make. A misstep can mean eighteen years of accidental responsibility, or painful shots to clear up unplanned infections. But what should be a straightforward decision can easily end up a complex evaluation of options.
It seems spring is the time of year people publish articles and blogs about all the things they wish they’d known or did, or wish you to know or do. My email is the unwilling recipient of a tidal wave of titles from twenty and thirty-somethings touting 9 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About My 30s, Things I Wish I Knew at 25, and 25 Things You Must Know By The Time You Turn 30. Sites like Medium and Bloglovin rain thoughtful, provocative, timeless pearls of wisdom past my spam filter, filling the folder titled, “Emails from the Ninth Circle of Hell,” where a rule designed to keep them out of my inbox reroutes them until the highlighted unread-email indicator becomes sufficiently annoying as to require action.
It was disconcerting to read of my recent death in the NewsTribune—”Serving readers of the Illinois Valley.” The online periodical, obviously committed to brevity in a world of gratuitous loquaciousness, ingloriously reported that I “died the morning of December 31, 2016.” The revelation of my passing, er, death, got me thinking, which is a testament to the NewsTribune’s other commitment to thought-provoking reparte’.