Vote. Get your coveted sticker. Go home. And don’t stress. Don’t spend every waking moment refreshing FiveThirtyEight, getting intravenous hits from the NYT needle, or watching the cable news coverage that has helped turn politics into a sporting event. Ignore John King and his big board and don’t look as Steve Kornacki does his best impression of a junior high geography teacher who visited Miami in the 80s and fell in with the wrong crowd.

We’re not going to know many of the results for days, maybe even weeks. That’s one reason I’m pacing myself and, for tonight at least, I’m placing my thoughts elsewhere. I obsess over news every day and I wrote a book that covered my parents warnings about America’s slide away from democracy, so I may be a strange messenger to deliver this suggestion, but here goes anyway: Don’t obsess over politics. Don’t let it overwhelm your everyday experiences, moods, and interactions. That’s not the role of politics in a representative democracy—and we should enjoy that fact for as long as we still have one. Like our relentless mutual hate, our nonstop political obsessions are by design, manufactured by others, and no good for us.

The other night I was watching Lyle Lovett performing with his big band on Austin City Limits. During a post show interview, he explained what inspires his songs. “I think life is inspiring. Gosh, there’s interesting things to see and something to learn everywhere you look. People are fascinating. People that you meet in your everyday life can inspire you, can make you want to write a song. Really, all you have to do is look around and pay attention.” It occurred to me that I rarely do that. I obsess over national politics and global news at the expense of all the good that’s happening right in front of my face. If Lyle Lovett didn’t practice this philosophy, he’d never have come up with a contrarian, yet accurate, take like this: “Pants is Overrated.” Nate Silver could crunch polling data from now until the the end of time and he wouldn’t come up with a comparable insight. Like most of my writing, maybe this is as much of an internal monologue as it is a missive that you need, but today, after I vote, I’m gonna tone down the worry, the alienation (I don’t even find Chris Evans sexy), the disappointment, and the rage, and see if, absent all those emotions, I can find something to write a song about.

If you can’t look away, here are a few reads to prepare you for all the political feels.

+ “The consequence is a politics in which neither party can sustain a durable advantage over the other, and political direction for a country of 330 million people is decided by a tiny sliver of voters in about half a dozen states—maybe a few hundred thousand people in all.” Ron Brownstein in The Atlantic: Why Politics Has Become So Stressful. And Anne Lowrey in The Atlantic: Why Is America Always Divided 50–50? “Every election is close. Every election feels consequential, because it is. And far-reaching policy outcomes are over and over again determined by just a few thousand votes in a handful of states.” Polarization is a powerful drug. In Slate, Jim Newell explains how to stress out appropriately. With an electorate so evenly split, it seems inevitable that—despite all the fighting, lies, attacks, and decorum vacuums— this election is going to come down to one big issue: Inflation. Maslow’s hierarchy beats political messaging every time. And the NYT’s Damien Cave with a reminder that you’re not the only one stressing. The World’s Democracies Ask: Why Can’t America Fix Itself? “For most of the world, the U.S. midterms are little more than a blip — but they are another data point on what some see as a trend line of trouble. Especially in countries that have found ways to strengthen their democratic processes, interviews with scholars, officials and voters revealed alarm that the United States seemed to be doing the opposite.” (I didn’t say not to worry. I just said try not to obsess.) And let’s end on a positive note that all Americans can be happy about. After the polls close, you’re not going to get any more of those insanely irritating unsolicited texts from politicians you’ve never heard of running in places you’ve never been. Those will end until the 2024 election starts. Which is not until tomorrow.