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Monday Moment: Embrace the YONGI

Emma Grey

No unnecessary drama. No buying into controversy. No asserting valid views in fruitless threads on Facebook.

“I was going to comment on that post,” I said to friends over dinner. “But it’s my YONGI.”

They put down their forks. “Your what?

“It’s an acronym I invented for my Year Of Not Getting Involved.”

No unnecessary drama. No buying into controversy. No asserting valid views in fruitless threads on Facebook. No reading the comments. No writing articles that are likely to stir people up. It’s a blanket ‘no’ to ‘involvement’.

It hasn’t been easy. There have been times when I’ve been so enraged by something I’ve read that I’ve typed a killer comeback, only to delete it to honour the YONGI. There have been times when I’ve really wanted to say my piece or point out what seemed to be the glaringly obvious, wrestling with the ‘enter’ and ‘delete’ keys… until YONGI prevailed.

Not saying what you want to say online when people are expressing views that differ wildly, and in some cases offensively, from your own can be quite excruciating. It’s not just about ‘not feeding the trolls’. It’s about not getting involved in perfectly reasonable yet slightly heated conversations with friends and their friends, triggered by real issues that do matter.

Normally I’d jump in with bells on. Always have. YONGI doesn’t mean I’ve stopped thinking or being interested. But as the YONGI experiment goes along, it starts to get easier to remain aloof from forms of ‘debate’ that pit people against each other, usually via sensationalist journalism, and get nowhere.

YONGI was kickstarted by unsubscribing from a women’s website that I’ve followed for years, and written for several times. It had spiralled into a clickbait frenzy of tabloid-esque ‘meh’. Each time I clicked on another article, against my better judgement, I realised allowing myself to be stirred up by this stuff was chipping away flecks from my life.

Unsubscribing was liberating, but as YONGI took hold and I became more selective about what I read without entering ‘the conversation’, I realised I was gradually curating a personal online space that it’s a pleasure to occupy again. I absolutely love intelligent debate. I love a good ‘argument’ about a meaty issue and that sense of having your eyes opened in ways you hadn’t previously considered. I’m just NGI this year using any methods that feel like bashing your head against a brick wall.

The extra space allows me to pour what would otherwise have been wasted energy and brainpower into tackling problems closer to home. It means I’m more focused and creative—it’s only May and I’ve co-written a script for a musical and co-written a book so far this year, while working on other things, which is a much higher-than-average creative output for me (thanks YONGI). It means I’m less annoyed with the world and more enamoured by it.

We have access to more information than ever before in human history, and I had to get better at sieving it and interacting with it. There’s gold in there if we let the grit and grime wash through. YONGI for the win!

Image on young woman ignoring the other from shutterstock.com

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Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

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