It is terrifying to turn on the news today since everything is shock and awe. Be afraid, be very afraid. Why? Because fear sells. Could you imagine the news if only nice things happened and there were no tragedies? Who would stayed glued to the TV or smart phone? Probably not many people.

It takes some self-service to separate the extreme from what really matters to your day to day life.

Here is a simple list I like to go by:

Health – if you don’t have it everything in your world changes. Take care of you first and foremost. Do you get enough sleep? Survive off fast food? Work yourself sick while everyone else seems to be going to the beach, fishing and playing? Our priorities are out of whack.
Money – A man made device designed to control. Based on the level of control you allow it to have determines if you are always wanting or content. Stress, stress and more stress.
Privacy – Think you have privacy? Think again. If someone really wants to find out about you there is nothing you can do anymore to stop it. Try googling yourself.
Credit scores – Another man made device to lump people into groups. Have you ever known anyone with a great credit score and not a pot to pee in? I have. Stop worrying about this number unless you are looking to borrow money.
Traffic – Like most of us if you drive to work, school or shopping this can alter a perfect schedule, especially if something unexpected occurs. Turn up your radio and sing your heart out!
Education – Make sure you are as big a part of your child’s learning process as the teachers at school. Life lessons don’t come from a book or video, they come from experience. Go to a museum, go to a park and climb some rocks, teach a kid how to read a paper map.
Drugs – We have become a society of “instant”. Everyone wants everything fixed this instant without thinking about the consequences. Drugs should never be the first solution – but the very last. We need more massages and quiet time.
Fake News – Thanks to Face Book information can be shared faster than a speeding bullet without any validation. Don’t believe about 95% of what you read and you will be fine. You know what Face Book is really for? Sharing all those great animal videos. Have you seen the one with the mini pig being chased by baby emus? Now that will make your day!
Time – Again another man made control device. Have you ever spent 15 minutes watching butterflies in a patch of flowers and felt bad that you were wasting time? Beauty and simplicity are really what creates joy, enjoy it more often and throw away the guilt.
Driving – You are more at risk of being injured by a “pre-occupied” driver (someone texting) than by being involved in any kind of mass casualty event. Have you ever seen someone looking at their phone while you are driving beside them? That’s your life they are putting at risk, not just their own.

Remember knowledge is power and you alone call the shots in your life so make them count.

Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.