The EU Referendum. A Survival Guide

I woke up this morning with a deep sense of calmness. For the first time in weeks I was at one with the universe. We were almost late for school but there was no sense of rushing. No anger. No shouting. No frustration.

There was no tears.

There was football, explanations of tables and potential results, blue skies, little traffic, and poppies in the car park.

parking for poppies
parking for poppies

Shouldn’t every day be like this? Damn right it should, so what has gone wrong? Many months ago I made a decision. The wrong decision.

I chose to get angry, to get frustrated, to yell at politicians on the tv instead of listening to what they were saying. I made up arguments in my head. I got swayed by anger and bigotry. All of this was my fault. I take full responsibility for my actions. It was a huge mistake to make. My clients know that the referendum is something I care passionately about. Looking back, I think they deliberately raise the subject to get some perverse pleasure from listening to me. (Either that or they think it gives them 30 seconds extra rest. I’m sorry to say that I sometimes let them get away with this. Not any more though).

I have thought long and hard about the appropriateness of writing about the referendum but last night I decided to write and see what came of it. That first draft made me realise how important my words are. My feelings this morning have ratified that.

I have returned from a wonderful weekends away with The Family. An easy journey had the consequence of a late night for everyone. I woke up tired on Saturday to a cool, wet and windy day. Pretty rubbish for staying in a caravan, plus my windscreen has started leaking, badly. Sunday was spent at an incredibly busy BeWILDerwood before we dragged Anya out and headed home.

The thing is, I arrived in Norfolk feeling bitter and angry. As the weekend flowed on i became calmer and happier.
It couldn’t be the weather that lifted me, although it felt good to have fresh sea air.
Was it because I ran my fastest Sheringham parkrun in 3 years?
Was it the prospect of Wales qualifying for the knockout stages of Euro 2016?
Was it time with the loves of my life? Perhaps a little.
Mostly it was fortuitous combination of no 4G at the coast and a text from EE saying I had used 80% of my data with 2 1/2 weeks of the billing period still remaining. The result off this was true downtime. No internet for 48 hours. Arriving at my parents on Sunday evening I was feeling love and exuding calm.

Of course by Monday morning I was livid again. If anything I got worse. Call it the Bale Effect if you wish, but by late last night I was over the worst. I find writing to be incredibly cathartic and this has been the best recent example for me.

So how is my experience going to help you?

Circles of Control

Rather than trying to make your circle of control bigger, make your circles of concern and influence smaller.

Shrink your circle of concern. You have no influence over concerns other than to decide not to be concerned. so do that. Turn of Facebook. Turn off twitter. Turn of the news. Turn away from newspapers. Turn conversations to the the football, to porkbelly futures, to the Olympics, to knitting, to anything but the referendum. This may, unexpectedly, increase your circle of influence. As others see you being pro-active in your reactions, choosing not to get angry, to distance yourself from unnecessary debate, they will follow.

Expand your circle of control in one simple step. You need to decide. Decide to make your choice based on facts rather than rhetoric. Decide to spend structured time seeking out unbiased facts if you have not yet made up your mind.
Like all of you, I too have confirmation bias, I will actively seek out data to back up my position. I have listed a couple of sources in the comments that i feel are able to give data and information rather than opinion but cannot guarantee that you will like what you find.

Then turn of the internet and get on with your life.

Vote. Then get on with your life.

Decide again. Decide that you will make the world a better place. Decide that the vote is the right one and you are going to do everything in your power to ensure that the future is bright.

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