How to Stay Woke While Still Having a Life

Before being WOKE was even a thing: Baby Courtney at a Model United Nations conference, circa 2013.

Before being WOKE was even a thing: Baby Courtney at a Model United Nations conference, circa 2013.

I've found there are two types of people in the DMV area:

1. Those who are obsessed with keeping up to date on the local, national and global news at all times...

2. those who are utterly, (blissfully?) uninformed of any events happening around them unless it's directly pushed to them via memes, reddit or Facebook. 

My husband is the former. He keeps The Guardian comments section ablaze. He downloads breaking news to me during each night. Dinner with the in-laws always serves up headed political debates. Anything Trump, internet privacy or data analytics/integrety is his JAM, ya'll. 

For awhile after graduation, I was most definitely in latter. I'd argue that most of society is in the latter, beknownst to them or not. Why? Because news was a thing that happened around me, not to me. I had people to text. Work to do. Places to go. And if given the choice between scrolling Instagram or clicking over to BBC? Guess what? That's right, I'm scrollin'.

How did this happen? I grew up watching Larry King Live, Bill Maher, Sunday Morning, and 60 Minutes... in middle school, my friends and I saw An Inconvenient Truth and Sicko... for fun! Our classic liberal household had many firmly anti-Iraq war dinner table debates. I participated in Model UN for 8 years. I volunteered fort the second Obama election. I graduated college!

So why was I so uninformed?  For starters....

There was SO MUCH to absorb, I didn't know where to start.

There was SO MUCH disinformation, I didn't trust whatever I was reading.

There was SO MANY opinions, I didn't have time to examine them all before creating my own (perfectionist, much?)

All of this lead to a real dip in confidence. No one likes, let alone likes BEING, the young woman in the room who not only can't talk sports, but can't talk current events, either. 

Now, however, like to think of myself as somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. While not totally ignorant, I do attempt to keep up with the news enough to have informed opinions on the most pressing local, national, and global current events.

How did I turn? And how can you? Here's how I stay informed while still having a life:

1. Morning NPR Radio (Time: 20 minutes)

I know, I'm such a cliche. But this is my #1 source for actual news. Informative, fun, relaxing, and a great way to spend my commute. Once you say goodbye to morning radio jockeys and their fake phone call-ins, you will NEVER want to say hello again. Trust. 

2. Morning Twitter Check (Time: 5 minutes)

Because it's good to know what Trump is ranting about. This is more to find out what's "trending" rather than what's "real news." But with the lines so blurred now a days, I think it's worthwhile to do both. Also: your Twitter feed is only as strong as you make it. Start following your representatives, news sites, and all of the United Nations accounts (and me of course!) 

3. Afternoon BBC / Guardian / Mother Jones /FiveThirtyEight check (Time: 15 minutes)

After lunch, while drinking my coffee, I just browse around these sites and click on what interests me the most. Usually I end up reading 1 or 2 articles. Are these the BEST sources for independent journalism? No. But you know what? It's better than Fox. And it's even better than nothing at all. 

4. Bring it Up! (Time: varies)

Try to bring up relevant political and current events at least once a day in your conversations with others. It doesn't matter which way they lean. You will always learn something new during these conversations. 

5. Trust the process

You won't understand everything right away. But the good thing about news is that it's always changing, so you will be able to catch up to speed on what's happening and who plays what role in no time. 

That's what worked for me. What's holding you back from being a more engaged global citizen? What actions can you take to change?