There once was a minnow.

Do you suppose it’s terrible to talk about yourself or anything positive (or negative) that doesn’t happen to be about world events?

With everything that is going on in our world today, I feel pretty guilty writing about myself …yet here I am.

I just accepted a position with a company that will pay me a lot of money. They believe I am “a talented and gifted writer and strategist” at the “top of my game.”

Talented? Shakespeare doesn’t live here, folks.

Gifted?? Not inept, but far from masterly.

At the top of my game? Sure, if we’re talking minor league.

(My cover letter is pretty awesome, though. It begins this way: I consider myself a Swiss-army knife of strategic disciplines. I know writing and editing as much as I know business strategy. I am also a left and right-brain thinker. I believe in turning over every stone (in a piece of writing and every campaign), then polishing it so the whole thing sparkles majestically.)

***

Imposter Syndrome is real, but so isn’t my vision of greatness in work. Can one transcend self-limitations and be extraordinary when it matters most? The president of Ukraine proves it’s possible. No, I’m not comparing myself to President Zelenskyy. But some people are meant to rise higher in life. Some people have an unwavering attitude of gratitude and grit. They achieve this growth mindset and thereby achieve their moonshot dreams. I’m not even sure I know what my moonshot dreams are. And grit? I might have had nerve… back in my 20s. And do I want to rise higher in life? I’m getting old. I’m getting tired. I’m very comfortable in this mid-level area where I don’t have to work extraordinarily hard to maintain my innate drive to be excellent.

Now, a story about a pike.

***

Pikes are pretty forgettable fish unless you’re a smaller fish, in which case pikes are downright troublesome. (That’s what you call a creature that eats you alive.)

Scientists dropped some tiny minnows into a tank containing a single pike in an experiment. Predictably, the pike ate the minnows immediately. But then, a funny thing happened. The scientists lowered in the next group of minnows inside a glass cup. The pike, who couldn’t even begin to grasp the concept of glass and, using his tiny brain, began to smash up against the cup in chase of the minnows. He did this for hours until finally, he drifted to the bottom of the tank, dejected.

Then, the scientists removed the glass cup, and the minnows swam freely all around the tank, undisturbed by the pike. Tasty little morsels swimming right under his nose, and he didn’t move so much as an inch.

This is what scientists today call “learned helplessness.”

Learned helplessness is a condition in which a person (or animal) suffers from a sense of powerlessness due to traumatic events or persistent failure. It’s the reason we believe a situation is either unchangeable or inescapable.

What does this have to do with my new job and colossal paycheck?

Learned helplessness is also a form of thinking that we are a certain way, so we can’t do certain things. A job that pays a hefty salary usually comes with hefty accountabilities and responsibilities, right? Hiring managers don’t typically offer large salaries to entry-level employees. No, I’m not entry-level, but the idea that my salary has jumped as high as it did in one move makes me wonder what accountabilities I’m in for. Better yet, am I qualified for?

Back to the pike. He couldn’t get those minnows, so to him, he was destined to never eat another minnow again. I’m a bit like the pike today. I never pulled in this salary, and I’m reasonably sure I’m not that “level” of an employee. Hmm, how can I better tie this together? Try this: tasty little morsels are swimming right in front of our noses, evidence and ideas that suggest we should make certain choices or try certain things. But we don’t budge. We discount or overlook them. Like our ornery friend the pike, we’ve been trained into believing we are helpless in a situation – or in my case, not worthy of such a large salary.

This story runs in my head as I walk into my new job. And it’s the story that’s been running in my head for years. I think I’m suffering from a specific case of learned helplessness. Thanks to years of cultural norms beating a particular message into my brain, it was learned.

So, the appropriate next question is, if we learned something, can we un-learn it?

Yes! We can un-learn our sense of learned helplessness. How we view things may have calcified thanks to a previous narrative. Still, we can and should seek to change that narrative when we recognize our current story is limiting us. In other words, we can tell a better story in our heads, which then affects how we approach our work.

Unlike the pike, we aren’t running into the glass so much as other barriers. Every time we come up against one, we try to make sense of the moment. We explain the world to ourselves. The more we explain setbacks and obstacles, the more the explanation calcifies in our minds. If we aren’t careful, a pessimistic description can harden our worldview. We then suffer from learned helplessness.

We all do something complicated and daunting in our work, no matter what we create: content, companies, cultures, change in society. It’s daunting to think the product of our minds must be good enough to resonate with others, cut through the noise and spark action, and create movements, businesses, and legacies. That alone is daunting enough, but making matters worse is often how we explain the world in our own minds.

But if we knew about learned helplessness and how it formed, and if we could dissect our own explanations of the world, then maybe we could better control the way we see that next task or opportunity or challenge. We can harness our internal narrative for forwarding momentum and avoid falling victim to the tricks our minds play on us, causing us to shrink for the moment. We can un-learn any helplessness we feel and learn to show up better in our work and lives.

Perhaps I never pulled in a big salary because my work wasn’t worthy, but employers didn’t value it. And therefore, neither did I.

I guess what I’m trying to say is even though the world is in disarray, we shouldn’t put our own story on hold for fear of sounding self-consumed. We shouldn’t think we need only to speak the story of world events. In fact, in the end, the most important story we tell is the one we tell ourselves.

Who else wants to change lanes?

First, I will tell you a story about something that happened to me in the past. Next, if I’m as talented as I think I am, I will connect that story with what is happening presently. And finally, because I think I am that talented, I’m going to bring it full circle and roll it into the future.

Once upon a time, in a land called Tucson, I picked up my father to drive him to the doctor’s office…

“You should get in the carpool lane.”

“I don’t want to get in the carpool lane.”

“WHY?”

“Well, because we’re going the same speed as the people in the carpool lane, plus it makes me nervous. Driving all fast next to the wall like that, and then not changing lanes if I feel like I want to. It’s restrictive. And if you drive next to the wall, you have to drive perfectly. If you drive in the middle lane, you have a little bit more room for error. And you can escape.”

Most people think this way. Most people think it’s perfectly sensible to drive in the carpool lane if two people are in the car. It’s like, “YAY! Carpool lane!” I’ve actually heard people get that excited.

I am not one of those people. As a matter of fact, I prefer to not even take the freeway. I’d instead take a longer, more scenic route because I may decide on the way to wherever I’m going that I don’t want to go there; I’d like to go somewhere else first. It’s much harder to make choices like that when you’re on the freeway. It becomes an ordeal.

My whole issue with driving in the carpool lane directly relates to the fact I like to have an escape mechanism. This also speaks loudly to the truth of my intense need to make choices: New choices. Different choices. Better choices. Choices. MY choices.

Being able to make choices is my way of maintaining my freedom. Everything I do, from the type of jobs I hold to the places I decide to live (which is a big one lately) to my nightly plans, etc., etc. My disdain for the carpool lane reveals how deep this is for me.

You may be thinking, well, what if you’re going to work? You can’t just decide to drive somewhere else first, or what if you have plans? You can’t just decide to change them because you feel like it. Well, I know that’s what you’d think. However, I often decide I’d instead like to do something else for that very reason — because I feel like it.

We have free will, so there really isn’t anything we have to do. We can make choices no matter what our spouses say, our bosses require, our president mandates. But lately, there are things that society or people have decided we have to do, which makes our will to stay free less simple to decide.

Our president is forcing our family, friends, coworkers, colleagues into making choices that some don’t want to make.

You guessed it, I’m talking V* mandates in the workplace. The people who do not want to take the V are being forced to decide to keep their job or lose their job. If you’re on the fence, being forced into a decision can be a great thing (but only if you’re stalled), or it can be an awful thing (even a selfish thing).

Let’s call it what it really is: forcible penetration of a medical instrument into a person’s body against their will to deliver chemicals they don’t want into it. This is no less than medical rape. I have the right to decide what goes into my body. You have the right to determine what goes into yours.

(Imagine the outrage if the government enforced weight loss mandates for the obese to relieve the health care system? And while I’m here, If I am forced to wear a mask to protect your health, I’m going to start slapping McDonald’s out of your hands too.)

Everything that subsequently happens in our lives is the result of choices. And those choices do change our experience, even if for a brief amount of time. I have to remind myself that we are never stuck. Even if we feel as if there is no way out, there is. Of course, if I had remembered this in the past, I’d have a list of more life lessons and experiences under my belt, but I do not in the absence of action.

I admit sometimes, I’m afraid the choices I make will affect me negatively. In turn, they’ll leave less room in the future for any option to make a different choice. It’s harder to veer in another direction when flying down the freeway than it is if you’re cruising on a country road.

But I suppose this is just fear, and fear is a thing you create. It isn’t an actual thing. Action is.

And boy do I see action rising in the air (shoutout to Southwest, holla!), and I predict a lot more action very soon.

Have you chosen your lane?

The power of small

It is 12:03pm. I recognize my behavior as the Sort-of, Kind-of-Worried Phase. The hands of the clock are inching their way into the future, and I know I have to stay rational. What’re five more hours? I tell myself.


Today, I’ve decided to steer my boat 2° to the left.

If two boats are on the same path and one veers off just 2° … over time, that two degrees equals a massive difference in the distance of your destination. (If this sounds familiar, it’s because I stole it from Anthony Robbins.)

There are a million reasons why everyone should have a sense of their own wellness. Did you know our genes control 20% of our health and old age, but 80% is controlled by our own hands?

Eighty percent!

A Harvard study proves that if we do the five basic things our doctors always tell us, we can extend our life span by 14 years on average. And the five things are the easy stuff—eat healthily, get regular exercise, get enough sleep, don’t smoke or use tobacco, reduce your stress.

(Well, not *easy* per se. A client once directed me to break an AP-style rule for the article we were publishing on a major media platform because they felt “using all caps showed emphasis,” and well, that near killed me.)

OMAD. This is my  .

One meal a day. 

No snacks. No mini-meals. No protein shakes or smoothies, or energy bars. No bread and butter pickle chips. No spoonful of chunky peanut butter. Not a single chocolate chip. And I’m OMADing for a week. 

For the biology geeks: Going back 6 million years, our bodies were designed (or evolved) to respond to adversity. But we’ve removed that from our lives – we’ve removed adversity because it feels good. 

But we need adversity (we. need. adversity.) to be resilient and fight disease. When we face adversity, the body turns on these ‘adversity hormeses’ response’ genes (aka, longevity genes). And when they turn on, what they’re basically doing is making the body fight aging and disease. But by eating through the day, we’re doing the opposite of living adversity. We’re living “contently.” For the record, eating with the traditional mindset of having breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus two snacks in order to think clearly and have mental acuity, etc., is a myth. I’m not talking about children or malnutrition or starvation. I’m talking about the typical “healthy” adult. And I am only talking about lengthening the window between meals. Think about it for a minute. If we’re always satiated or fed, our bodies will say, “Heyy, I just killed a mammoth, no problem. I don’t need to worry about survival. I’m just going to go forth and multiply and screw my long-term survival.” But by making the body freak out a bit by thinking it’s facing tough times, like being hungry, well, I’ll tell ya’, the data backs up the claim that this is the way to be healthy in our 80s and 90s. 

I know that’s just a tiny snippet of information (and I understand not everyone wants to live to be 80 or 90), but it’s compelling data. And there is a ton of information published on intermittent fasting (IF) that covers everything from why it’s excellent to why it’s stupid. From what it does to what it does not do, how you do it, to how you do not do it. There are studies, trials, research, testimonials, philosophies, rules, podcasts, blogs… I promise if you seek it out, it will show up in your feed.

(Unless someone really wants to know), I am not really wanting to talk about why I’m doing it; but I do want to tell you how it’s going.

Day One. (Technically, Day One started last night at 5pm.)

From 5pm to a little before midnight, I made it without thinking about food. In fact, it is eye-opening how easy it is to not snack before bed. Who knew!

When I woke up, though… 

7:59am: My first thought, “coffee doesn’t break a fast, does it? DOES IT??? Shit.”

9:12am: I tried the first trick of the day to distract myself: Hellooooo, INSTAGRAM!  

9:27am: I tried the second trick of the day: I shall drink water, feel full and be merry for the remaining 7+ hours. Well, I drank water and then I cursed at the plants, fluffed the pillows, and paced the floor. I was starting to feel a little snippy.

10:05am: “So what if my best feature touches my lap when I sit down, so what?” 

11:49pm: It’s practically Noon. If I go to the gym, that’ll kill an hour, and, well, then it will practically be five o’clock!

12:17pm: The gym, the gym, the gym. Just go to the gym. Food is not everything. 

3:16pm: Either an old-fashioned train is approaching my house, or Arizona is experiencing an earthquake. It’s hard to tell where the rumbling sound is coming from.

3:40pm: I’ve accomplished nothing today. Nor in my entire life.

4:32pm: ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

4:41pm: I am NEVER. AGAIN. doing this.

4:52pm: OH MY FUCKING JESUS.

4:59pm: …

5:31pm:  Sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, Everything that’s wonderful is what I feel when we’re together, Brighter than a lucky penny … *sing it with me, everyone!


I’ll do this again tomorrow, for sure. But, weirdly, when five o’clock rolled around, I almost didn’t want to eat. I did eat. But I sort of didn’t want to. Suddenly I was more aware of what I was putting in my body—and it needed to be worthy of my 24-hour fast. I think I’ll start making incremental changes in other areas of my life and see what happens.

The moral of the story: Steering your ship 2° to the left now and then may not be an aggressive or huge move, or it might be massive.

When I try to let it be and let it go, but I can’t.

Simple questions bug me. I’m constantly nitpicking, and I have little patience with what I consider stupidity all around me. Words annoy me – like “smooch.” Right now, my stomach is heaving as I write the word.

I wasn’t always this way … there was a time when I was much more accepting, not on edge, and friendly. Needless to say, I’m irritable and bothered by some very petty things.

Like this email I just received…

Few people and few things can talk me down from the ledge. Blogging is one of the few, so sit tight.

Six or seven months’ish+ ago, I started following a few new accounts on Instagram. I was looking to spice up my workouts.

As a renowned creature of habit, I tend to head for the exact weights, log the same workouts each week, and even walk the same route every time I lace up. Now there’s a lot to be said for regular, consistent exercise, and if I ever dial in my nutrition I could prove it. But there are benefits to trying new activities. While I tend to gravitate toward traditional exercises, over time I do get bored. And when I’m bored, I look for new ways to work my body. 

I’ve been working out a long time, and I’m pretty knowledgeable about exercise. Few things separate me from personal trainers: 

They have a certificate saying they passed a weekend course.

I studied anatomy and kinesiology.

I don’t pretend to know more about someone’s body than the person knows about their own body.

With. That. Said.

IF… I started following you on Instagram, and IF… we made our way into each other’s DMs, I KNOW… I gave you my history. My history, meaning a rundown of all of the forms of exercise I partake, and the many (many) years I’ve partaken. You’ve seen my pictures (we’re on Instagram, after all), and although I don’t post a ton of workouts, I do post some. Hopefully I look like I do OK in the gym, no? I’m not a bodybuilder – I’m a grandmother – but I’m also no beginner, rookie, greenhorn, amateur, or gremlin.

And with that said.

I received an email from a “trainer.” I want to reply to her, but I know my response will be less than kind. In fact, I’ll be mean.

I don’t want to be mean.

In her email, she tells me what type of lifting schedule is suitable for me. She also tells me what (in life) I should deem important. 

First, only I know what type of lifting schedule is suitable for me. And second, “guiding” me through life when you’re half my age is infuriating. 

Maybe it’s my ego. But the unsolicited email and unsolicited advice madden me. It’s making my already dark features grow blacker with anger. Like I’m fighting to contain a terrible fury. And how ridiculous, right! I mean, I can delete the email and get on with things, but noooo. So here it is:

Do not coach me on something I have not requested your coaching services on.

Do not coach me on setting goals.

Do not coach me on how my body feels.

Do not coach me on mental health.

Do not coach me on your definition of a balanced life.

I imagine as a coach she feels compelled to give advice, but this tells me she is ruled by compulsion more than self-awareness. And there’s no golden opportunity here. I am not in search of wisdom, and I have no problem I need her to solve. My crusade is simple: beat workout boredom. That is all.

Are you wondering whether I’ll address this with her? No, of course not. Besides struggling to find an inoffensive way to say what I feel, I am also terrified that if I speak my disdain into existence, then the entire glorious facade of our burgeoning digital relationship will come crumbling down, and I happen to enjoy the spicy moves I’ve stolen from her.

But really, people need to take note of the fine line between being supportive and being a kibitzer. Caring is what you want in a friendship; kibitzing, not so much. But if you truly feel you need to pour one out for this homie, then send pears, or cabernet, bad chick flicks, or text messages full of emoticons. You can even dedicate a prayer, mindfully. But please, PLEASE do not coach me on how to workout … or live. I’ve been doing both, by myself, and successfully, for several years.

Over 30 news outlets are saying the same thing, and *that’s* the problem

Disclaimer: I cuss in this one.

There is a lot of media coverage around Biden’s on-camera response to Afghanistan. Everyone – Fox News correspondents, Newsmax, DailyWire, Charlie Kirk, Bongino, Candace, Shapiro, Knowles, heck, even Sky News Australia and CNN – are all saying the same thing and highlighting the same Biden talking points.

The. Exact. Same. Talking. Points.

“…that was four days ago, five days ago…”  

“…no one is getting killed right now…”

If you’re not living under a rock, you know the handful of clips I’m talking about. Every channel is playing them, and every news outlet is talking about them. But what the heck! If you ask me, these reports are missing what’s really on display.

For instance, who cares that he got the number of days wrong. “Four days ago/five days ago.” We all know he can’t count. Remember, he thinks he got 80 million votes.

Now listen past his words and pay a bit of attention to his tone.

HIS TONE. He’s cocky. I bet he thinks he looks badass in a Prius, too.

He could care less what happened four days ago, two days ago, a week ago. That’s what he’s saying. What happened doesn’t matter. ‘C’mon, who cares about what happened? It was days ago.’ Can’t you hear the “who gives a shit what happened” in his voice??

“No one is getting killed right now.” HE KNOCKED ON WOOD. LITERALLY. HE TOOK KNUCKLES TO THE TABLE.

Our president knocked on fucking wood. I do that in hopes that Safeway restocked my favorite snack. Our Commander in Chief knocked on wood regarding the mortally dangerous activity that is going on in Kabul.

His speeches are terrible. We all already know and expect bad speeches. It’s his eyes, though. They are blank. Go to YouTube and replay these clips and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I listen to these sound bites and my head spins. I look at his eyes and his rapid blinking and I go into a flaming tantrum.

He is not capable of leading. It’s obvious he’s not cognizant of the position he’s put the U.S. and the world in. It’s obvious he’s in a severe downward mental health spiral. So stop fucking talking about it in seven-minute snippets. Get this man out – yes, even though this means Harris will be in charge. She’s useless, we already know it, but at least she’s mentally capable. Maybe I’m just assembling options prematurely, but isn’t this kind of sort of important right now? That we have someone in charge that is mentally capable of, if nothing else, understanding what the generals and the leaders are saying?

Biden left American citizens behind enemy lines.

Biden left key allies behind enemy lines.

Biden left an estimated 2,000 armored vehicles, including Humvees, at least 40 aircraft, including Black Hawks, attack helicopters, military drones, and an estimated 600,000 infantry weapons, including M-16s, communication equipment, and night-vision goggles behind enemy lines. He equipped the Taliban.

Why isn’t there more conversation about removing him from office? I think I read that one or two republicans are moving to impeach. Not a lot of sound bites surrounding this.

I feel our country is dying on the inside, and I’m embarrassed by what we look like on the outside. We’re better than seven-minute sound bites, and we’re more than pronouns. When are we going to remember we’re Americans? We’re the greatest country on the greatest planet in the entire solar system. But it’s like we’re on this self-deprecating fad diet overindulging in (you pick the vice). Talk about being in a fucked-up situation! The next generation is going to feel the shame. He/him and they/them, too.

We need to stop rehashing Biden’s bad speech on every fucking channel and get him out of office. Yes, folks, the hallowed day has arrived. It was yesterday!

C*19: A new study is published—and the government is getting it all wrong

  1. A California school district is in the news for saying they will be testing students via temperature, nasal swab & BLOOD DRAW.
  2. Veep Harris is in the news for telling folks to start their Christmas shopping early to avoid possible global supply chain issues (which suggests more economic lockdowns may be on the horizon).
  3. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla is in the news admitting that, as of yet, scientists have not been able to identify a vaccine that can stop variants in their tracks: “Every time that the variant appears in the world, our scientists are getting their hands around it. They are researching to see if this variant can escape the protection of our vaccine. We haven’t identified any yet…”
  4. Biden is in the news for (well, several reasons not limited to) urging corporations, private businesses and nonprofits to mandate employee vaccinations.

I want to look at this through an unbiased lens. I mean, I can be unbiased. I think.

I know none of us are truly unbiased, and I do have biases. One, maybe two. But I think if you read what I’m about to show you, number one, you’ll realize why I’m so biased, and number two, you’ll see that my biases are, indeed, founded. And my attempt is to deliver it in such a way that it does not tilt your biases, rather it informs and educates. (*fingers crossed emoji)

Just to be upfront, my biases (this word is already getting old): I believe we need to make health the main thing because healthy people are less vulnerable to ending up in the hospital or in ICU. And they’re surely less likely to suffer adverse health issues.

Here we go.

According to the research (see below for the link), out of 4.8 million hospitalized adults (over age 18) and across 800 different hospitals in the U.S., 540,000 individuals were hospitalized due to C*19.

(I would have thought this number would have been much higher.)

Of course there might be data that’s not included, and this research was only conducted from March 2020 to March 2021, but we’re talking about 11% of the hospitalization visits from 800 different hospitals were for C*19.

This new data found 94.9% of C*19 patients had the following common underlying health conditions (which most of us probably expect to be present) (except for number four) (and that all were highly preventable):

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Lipid imbalances
  3. Obesity
  4. Anxiety

In fact, the entire top 10 most prevalent conditions listed in this research were caused largely by people’s nutrition and lifestyle choices.

It’s been long known that underlying health conditions were risk factors for more severe infections and death, but this data from 540,000 infected patients across 800 different hospitals shares new insights.

NEW INSIGHTS. NEW INSIGHTS. NEW INSIGHTS. NEW INSIGHTS.

While it’s known that the number of underlying conditions that someone has increases the risk of death by several orders of magnitude, it’s important to know that 5.5% of all the hospitalized patients DID NOT HAVE one or more chronic health conditions. This says that half the C*19 hospitalizations included at least one, maybe more, pre-existing chronic health conditions.

The two conditions most strongly associated with risk of death were obesity and anxiety/fear-related disorders.

In fact, the strongest factor for death was obesity at 30% increased risk of death, and anxiety-based disorders at 28% increased risk of death.

This is where I have to pause and be critical of the bingeable fear-based messaging and propaganda, and misinformation from the main-stream media outlets.

Think back. Heck, look forward. A lot of people were so scared they didn’t leave their house, they sanitized, they wore masks and gloves, they had social-distancing hula hoops around them when they walked outside. I have to wonder if this unintended harm associated with the fear-based messaging can actually make people more susceptible to getting severely sick or even dying? I’ll let you decide what you think.

And then there is Diabetes with complication which shows 26% increased odds of death.

Figure 1 (above) shows the prevalence of the most frequent underlying health conditions in the sample of hospitalized patients.

What you’re seeing is this:

  • Essential Hypertension (and this means elevated levels of blood pressure) is prevalent in about 50% of individuals
  • Disorders of Lipid Metabolism (this involves cholesterol)
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes with Complication

You can read the list but look at all that’s at the top. This is preventable stuff.

Let’s get to what I find eye-popping and mind-blowing: Anxiety and fear-related disorders only made up about 20% of the most frequent underlying conditions, but they were strongly linked with death. Remember: 28% increased odds in terms of death. See above.

This is important to hit again regarding the unintended harms from the fear-based messaging and the disempowering information. What is the neurobiology of anxiety and the results of how our thoughts transmute specific messaging into our immune system? Anyone know that answer?

Constantly consuming fear-based messaging… death, dying, problems, the economy, the border, Afghanistan, Christmas shopping in August, and, and, and… all this can obviously contribute to anxiety – and now we’re seeing that anxiety is a frequently linked challenge here.

Eye-popping.

Figure 2 (above) shows the risk/ratio of death and the chances of going on a ventilator. What you’re looking at is:

  • Individuals that have no conditions compared to at least one pre-existing condition are 1.5x more likely to die.
  • Now compare individuals who have two to five pre-existing conditions compared to those who have none, we’re talking about 2.55x higher likelihood of death.
  • And here’s where it gets really interesting: some people have 10 or more conditions, and, yes, the prevalence of pre-existing conditions vary state from state (on the low end from 20% up to 63% depending on where you live), but individuals who have between six and 10 pre-existing conditions are 3.29x more likely to die compared to individuals who have none.

And I get it – you  might have bad genetics (which no one can control). Mom and dad gave you a bad deck of cards. Maybe you have an autoimmune disease that’s inheritable. Maybe you have asthma. Maybe you have a pre-existing condition you can’t control, but I find it hard to believe that if you have six or seven—or 10—that you can blame all of them on genetics.

I can also believe there might be a small percentage of people that do have maybe 2-5 conditions that are 100% inherited, but personally I think it’s much more likely that individuals who have multiple chronic conditions got them from their own nutrition, lack of exercise, lifestyle, and bad habits. ßbiases

You can blame genetics. You can blame information. You can blame the system. But really, we need to take ownership.

We all have access to information and to the internet. I mean this isn’t 1920. With that in mind, and while I do have compassion that some people are not actually getting health information, I believe this is why the CDC, WHO, our government, should all be disseminating the information. This should be the message. I mean, if the more [preventable] pre-existing conditions you have, the more likely you are to die or end up on a ventilator or in ICU, then why are we not talking about preventing death with good nutrition, sleep habits, exercise… ?

Unbiased/biased. How about just plain common sense. We need to prioritize health with proper nutrition, exercise, and a whole host of other preventative strategies. Yes, these are my biases and I’m critical of main-stream media networks because they have (for whatever reason) ignored health and omitted this entire topic in their reporting. I think it’s disingenuous and dishonest. And saying I’m critical of the government for their fear mongering might be the understatement of the century. But we could save so many lives if we make health the focal point rather than death.

Reference (published July 1, 2021):

Kompaniyets L, Pennington AF Goodman AB, Rosenblum HG, Belay B, Ko JY, et al. Underlying Medical Conditions and Severe Illness Among 540,667 Adults Hospitalized With Covid-19, March 2020-March 2021. PrevChronic Dis 2021; 18-210123

Mile 20

I’m running a marathon, and I’m at mile 20, and I’m tired.

This is the perfect segue. Kick me in the shins if you think otherwise.

Today.

It’s either like, ok, I’m using ALL my brain cells here, and the client doesn’t give a rat’s ass, or I’m using zero brain cells here.

There’s this story of a girl. She was 20 years old when she started writing her first novel. It took her 10 years to finish it. She was 30 when she hit the NY Times best seller list.

She was hailed a genius for the times. Her book was being made into a motion picture; it was translated into seven languages. Everyone wanted her on their talk show and podcast. She was on the news doing interviews almost daily. She won literary awards.

She had it all.

Ten years later — age 41 — and she was unable to write and finish another book. She had hundreds of starts, but not even a first chapter.

She went down this dark path of assumption. With decades left in her, she feared that anything she wrote from that point forward would be judged by the world as ‘the work that came after the freakish success of her first book’. She started to believe that it was exceedingly likely that her biggest success was behind her.

This led her to drink gin at 9am.

The lesson: Me, like she, needs to know to put a safe distance between myself and the anxiety if I want to continue to do the thing I love — and that’s writing. Distance between myself and what the reaction of that writing is going to be from now on.

(Also, if you really start to get into this gin thing, there is another realm: vintage gins.)

Do you love your problems? Because that would be helpful.

In the middle of a grinding conversation at work: “X wants to sell more lamps so if we find out what kind of wine their customers drink…” Pause. Pause. We’re thinking… thinking. Brows are furrowed. Or maybe just mine?

We’re working this RFP like a piece of gum, folks. There’s a lot of chewing going on but all we have to show for it is an achy jaw.  

“Hey, by the way everyone,” I raise my hand for pause and effect, “I just want you to know, I LOVE this shit. This is my idea of fun.” And we plod on.

(That’s right; no one can say I’m not going the distance with my calling!)

OK, so maybe not every meeting or interaction or event in our lives brings a monumental level of emotion or impact. And not every event is meant to shake up our lives in a big way. But some do.

Here are six events that rocked my world — and I list these in the most pragmatically joyous sense:

  1. In 2012, I sent an email to 700+ employees that was meant to be read by only three regional chiefs. (In the words of the late, great Hunter S. Thompson, “You know, would I leave my Keith Richards hat with the silver skull on it, on the stool at the coffee shop at LaGuardia? I wouldn’t do that again. But overall, no, I don’t have any regrets.”)
  2. I chased after a boy and chased him away. (Once you feel you are avoided by someone, never disturb them again.)
  3. I wrote my will. (Nothing will grow you up faster.)
  4. I turned 40. (It was a fantastic year of sass & soul. I often mingle back and pretend I’m still in my prime. You can usually find me there on Tuesday’s.)
  5. I created a bucket list. (Before I had this list, I jumped out of a plane strapped to a guy with the nickname Frogger. Now I follow the list.)
  6. This event hasn’t happened yet, but it’s slated for May 2022. I’ll give you a hint: this.

Truth has become whatever you want it to be

I was listening to a podcast the other day, and the guest quoted Brené Brown. I’ve never read her books or listened to her podcast, but I did catch her 2010 breakout TED Talk, The power of vulnerability. Back then, I immediately tagged her as an expert in all things human connection.

Remembering I have her in the category of ‘expert,’ plus the quote I had just heard, and it was plenty good for me to search up one of her podcasts. The one I listened to included both Tim Ferriss and Dax Shepard.

Tim Ferriss said something. His comment brought me to another podcast.

I proceeded down a long and torturous podcast rabbit hole.

Days (and so many ridiculous podcast hours) later, I listened to Megyn Kelly and former Portland State University professor Peter Boghossian.

Who cares how I got here, right? THIS is where it all gets good. (Everything before the ‘but’ doesn’t matter.)

Boghossian talks about “lived experience” and how it becomes a reality, regardless of the facts. His example and I won’t do it justice, so you may want to bring up the podcast on your own, was centered around the number of unarmed black men shot by police each year. One woman said the number is 22,700 (unarmed black men shot by police each year). Another woman said it’s 7,000 that are shot.

The fact (checkers) says that number is 13.

As if living in an age of “fake news” and “alternative facts” doesn’t already make it hard to know what to believe, let’s throw in “lived experience” or “post-truth.”

According to the lived experiences of these two women, they set the number far, FAR outside the actual.

“My opinions are no longer things ripe for judgment and discussion, but rather they are opportunities for the fundamental aspects of myself to be “right” and to be considered “right” by the people around me.” ~ Kate Colombo

Gone are the days when people would say, I think. Now it’s, I feel. This language ultimately positions the speaker to regard his opinions less like ideas he’s informed with facts and more like personal truths. And, wham, there you have it. This form of discourse displaces the importance of truth and replaces it with “what is true for me.”

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. Before today I would have said speaking my truth is acceptable and should be considered more honest than any mere statement of facts.

I’m not so sure anymore.

Can we speak our truth sometimes and have it received as truth, but other times default to actual facts for truth? Is that possible? Serious questions. I’m not choosing a side. I mean, our personal experience influences how we decide things, but is that just an illusion?

I guess the truth is, I don’t know what the truth is.

10 Things I stopped doing—and my life instantly got better.

  1. Buying cauliflower-based foods.
  2. Overthinking eye contact.
  3. Buying colored yoga pants.
  4. Re-reading emails after I sent them.
  5. Taking selfies with the front-facing camera.
  6. Texting while walking. (This is how “butch” became “bitch.”)
  7. Food prepping. (Food prepping takes 4 hours. Eating takes 3 seconds. Washing Tupperware takes 7 days and 7 nights.)
  8. Reading long Instagram captions. (When I stay on a post for too long the algorithm thinks because I read one inspirational meme, I want to read a thousand inspirational memes.)
  9. Trying to move things with my mind (and Googling “How to move things with my mind”).
  10. Humblebragging. (Like making lists and bragging about how happy I am.)

Happy October—the best month of the year. It’s finally fall in Arizona. Know what that means? Absolutely nothing. It’s still 90 degrees outside. Fun fact: Arizona is actually closer to the sun than the earth. I drove with my windows down tonight anyway. All the landscapers were out scalping and planting winter grass seed. Planting a winter lawn while it’s 90+ degrees doesn’t make much sense, but then again neither does Biscuits and Gravy flavored potato chips, and that’s apparently a thing that’s happening. Sometimes you just have to roll with it (and try not to barf). Really though, when the temperature shifts from 110 to 90 and we roll our windows down, we’re really no different than Midwesterners who wear shorts when it’s 40 degrees in March. So happy October. Fall is here!