I want my time back

Donald Trump spent 513 days running for president, and against all sense and decency, he got the job. At the time that I’m writing this, he’s been in the news as a candidate or president for 589 straight days. And while I hope that elected democrats (and some republicans) work very hard to keep the pressure on him, I have to get back to work. We all have to get back to work.

What do I mean by this? I am not saying: “move on” or “accept the results” or “he’s everyone’s president”. That’s not going to happen, and given the way things have been going, it probably should not happen. We have to stay informed, aware, and involved.

I wanted to write a brief lament to the loss of time, loss of ideas, loss of cognition that was a fallout of the Trump campaign and presidency. I write this so that I can eject these thoughts from my mind and clear some mental space. I want to be done with him and with his embarrassing campaign and I’d like to reclaim some of the time he’s cost me. I’d send him a bill, if I could.

What I lost

I probably spent minutes to hours nearly each day reading about Trump, talking about Trump with family and friends, and arguing about his candidacy and election. Why? Because that’s what was in the news. That’s what was on twitter, that’s what was going on. I’ve posting my opinions, looked up facts, read tweets, retweeted retweets. I’ve worried, thought, ruminated. No one outside of my own wife and children deserves that much of my mental real estate, and Mr Trump most certainly does not.

Suppose I spent just 15 minutes a day thinking about Trump. Well that’s 15 minutes X 589 days or 8835 minutes. That’s over 6 days! That means I essentially wasted an entire vacation week at the cottage by the lake because of Trump. And of course, there’s cognitive switching time and the mental effort expended trying to ignore Trump news. Add in an extra 10 min for that an we’re close to 10 days…I very well could have lost at least two solid weeks of my life because of Donald Trump. Sad!

What we lost

And that’s just me. Consider all the countless news stories, essays, think pieces, radio, TV, SNL sketches, etc. that were written and rewritten over the past 2 years. Consider the worried collective consciousness of America. Think of what we’ve lost.

What new discoveries were never made because a critical idea just slipped away as we were obsessing about Trump? What new relationships failed to take root because we were looking for the next Trump tweet? What families drifted apart as they argued about Trump?

We (the royal “we”, the editorial “we”) let this person, this candidate, occupy the public conscious for far too long. I want my time back. It was an ill-advised investment with poor returns.

I know we need to remain vigilant and take care not to condone or normalize this, but we cannot let him own our minds. So look to the solutions. Call your congressperson or senator. Work to ensure that there is a slate of electable candidates for the 2018 mid terms. Get involved for the next steps. Don’t let the president decide what you think about. Move forward, don’t just move on.

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