I’ve been following the recent controversy around accepting refugees into our country. Our country was created by people fleeing oppression and it continues to flourish by all of us who make up this glorious melting pot.
History repeats itself – I shared a recent article about groups of people not wanting to accept Jewish refugees fleeing from Germany during WWII and we all know what happened there.
With the explosion of digital information there are groups of people who are taking advantage of situations like the terror in Paris to instill the fear of fear in people world wide. In this NYT editorial, Fearing Fear Itself, Paul Krugman makes the interesting point, “the biggest danger terrorism poses to our society comes not from the direct harm inflicted, but from the wrong-headed responses it can inspire.”
“The world would be a whole lot safer if people would stop caring about politics and start caring about people.” – a friend on facebook
It also goes along with the sensitivity of society lately. Disruption, thinking differently, being better at something or inadvertently saying something stupid – any and all of the above can produce responses that seem unfit for the situation.
Here are just a few examples I’ve seen lately…
Online, people can’t make an off color joke (intentionally or unintentionally) without it becoming a big ordeal, causing an uproar, a boycott or producing a verbal lashing. What used to happen? We would think to ourselves or even say out loud “oh that person is an asshole” and we moved on.
Kids and sports. My son and I were not that thrilled that he received a ‘participation’ trophy for playing flag football this Fall. All I did was pay to have him on a team and he got a trophy at the end of the season. That is not trophy worthy in my book and as it turned out, it wasn’t trophy worthy in his book either.
I think all of this ultra-sensitivity is causing people to be less kind, more risk averse, and too careful -which seems to be the sentiment in this email my brother sent to me today (copied below). I obviously did not write it. It was one of those long, forwarded, you don’t know who really wrote it, emails, but it resonated with me because I do think we as a world are becoming more and more sensitive and less tolerant than is good for us.
TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE 1930s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s!!
First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.
Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.
As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes..
Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And we weren’t overweight. WHY?
Because we were always outside playing…that’s why!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. –And, we were OKAY.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem..
We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs,
no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms.
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broken bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from those accidents.
We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.
We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and -although we were told it would happen- we did not put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever. The past 50 to 85 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas..
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
If YOU are one of those born between 1925-1975, CONGRATULATIONS!
You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good. While you are at it, forward it to your kids, so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.
Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn’t it ?
This weekend I attended the memorial service, well, it really was a celebration of life, for my friend Niki. A group of her local DC friends gathered in a church basement behind the Nation’s Capital to connect and share the joy that was Niki Mitchell.
Niki was a writer, a published author, The New Color of Success: Twenty Young Black Millionaires Tell You how They’re Making it, and a masterful PR executive with a wicked sense of humor, wit and passion. It was clear if you knew her and if you didn’t, all you had to do was be in this room this weekend. Her friends and family are a collection of amazing, talented, funny people.
The celebration of her life was full of stories told by the people who knew her best – the ones she loved, she worked with and shared with. We laughed a lot during the afternoon as we remembered her. We cried about the void her unexpected passing has left. We comforted one another as we said goodbye. She will never be forgotten by anyone who had the pleasure of knowing her.
Her childhood friend, who literally knew Niki her whole life, shared all the phases of Niki’s life – childhood, young student, writer, wife, mother. One thing she did share was a few weeks before Niki’s unexpected passing, they spoke about taking better care of themselves. She said she had noticed that Niki was not taking care of herself. She was so busy taking care of everyone else around her – she was neglecting her own wellness. It’s a reminder to us all – take care of yourself first -mentally and physically- so you can take care of others around you.
Closing out the celebration, her business partner spoke about ways you can tell you lived a good life. Niki checked all the boxes and even though she left too soon, her life made a difference. His words reminded me of a favorite quote: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln
On the drive home, Scotty and I talked about how this type of remembrance is how we would want to celebrated. I want a celebration of my life that included laughing, eating good food and as I shared with Scotty, dancing! Everyone will need to bust a move in my memory! I want people to say their goodbyes in the spirit of who I am.
The rest of the weekend, I was mindful, evaluating where I am, where I want to be and who I am around. Life is too short to be around people who suck the happiness out of you. It’s cliche but true — life is way too short to waste time with fools and to worry about stupid little things that at the end of day, don’t matter.
When Scotty and I first moved to Northern VA, my new boss, Daryl and his wife, Niki, were one of the first people who befriended us. That was almost twenty years ago. They moved away recently and although we didn’t talk regularly, when we did – it was just like old times. Yesterday, Niki died unexpectedly.
Niki was a loved and loving wife, mother and friend. Professionally, she was a journalist whose articles have appeared in the Washington Post, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times. She was part of a reporting at the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour that earned the prestigious Peabody Award. She ran her own media relations firm.
My heart breaks for my dear friend Daryl and his daughter. Another reminder of how precious and short life is. There is no time to waste….
The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed.-Eminem
I found out a former co-worker of mine took his life two weeks ago. I can’t get him out of mind. While I didn’t know him all that well, he appeared to be a happy, successful man and showed no signs of what was to come. I have come to find out that he was having marital and family problems that must have weighed heavily on his mind. Still, nothing is bad enough to end it all. I can’t even imagine getting to that point where you no longer want to exist. I have been sad, and down – who hasn’t, but never have I considered ending my life to solve it.
I can only imagine the pain he must have been in and the despair he was feeling. I hope he has found peace now and my thoughts are with his wife, kids and family as they try to understand what happened and learn to live a new normal..
This month is National Suicide Prevention Month and to remember my former co-worker, Amrik, here is some information and resources:
When it comes to suicide prevention, EveryDay Matters. In honor of World Suicide Prevention Day and Suicide Prevention Month, we thank those that work in a community and take action every day.
- The Trevor Project: 1.866.488.7386
a 24-hour free and confidential crisis and suicide prevention helpline specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or questioning youth.
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
I’ve been dealing with some heavy shit the past few weeks and it’s been hard.
I have an older family member who has been asking/expecting financial help to live because for years, he and his wife did nothing to prepare for their retirement and lived at a level that was well above their income. Not to mention, they were less than stellar family members and did little to help others voluntarily throughout the years.
Should you help everyone in your family just because they are family?
I keep hearing because they are my family as the reason why I should ‘do the right thing’ and pitch in but thinking about that brings up more questions for me…
- Where is this rule written?
- Why did they not have to follow it when others needed help?
- Am I a bad person if I choose to not help?
- Do I have to help because others in my family will be burdened and I should share the burden?
What I think bothers me more as my family starts to figure out how to offer help together is the lack of any sort of real understanding or care about the impact their ask has. It affects our ability to pay down our own debts, save for our children’s college and put away for when our retirement comes. All things they never did as they lived a high stylin’ life. When you don’t have any extra money, you have to change your standard of living – you can’t shop at high end stores or get fancy cars with a high monthly payments. It’s been their problem all along –they don’t grasp the concept of having to lower their standard of living.
The worst part of having to figure out how to help them is the bubbling up of old buried family issues. Maybe we need to celebrate Festivus – and air our grievances! Things that you thought were way behind you come to the surface with each back and forth. Their apparent lack of understanding or taking responsibility for their situation and their combative responses to any sort of inquiry into what’s really going on with them financially and physically literally brings me back to my teens and early 20’s when I was dealing with them more regularly. It’s a huge reason why I keep them at a far distance from my every day life – they are not healthy people.
Is there a way I can help, whereas it does not play into their unhealthy lifestyle but also does not cause me to revisit old family crap? That’s the question really – I try to focus on being kind to everyone but I am not willing to do it to the point where it burns me. No way…
Every family has stuff to deal with — good and bad. I am certainly not the first person out there who has had to deal with mooching family members. It’s causing me to turn in emotionally and I am finding it hard to be inspired and motivated to share like I used to. It’s a very sad situation and while I certainly want to help if I can – I’m not sure I can without causing myself inner turmoil.
I’ve been quiet on here the past week or so. Nothing really going on and nothing to really inspire me to write and as I have always said – if it has to be forced, then it’s not right.
I’m about to head out of town to see a dear friend of mine get married. Brittany was my intern at K12 years ago, and then we hired her and she worked for me for a few more years. Have you ever met someone and you just clicked with them right away? That was me and Britt Britt. I instantly felt connected to her and we have always had each other’s back. At K12, in our department, that was really important since it was such a cut throat/mean environment with everyone trying to one up everyone else. Looking back now, the best thing about working there was Brittany. She lives far away now which bums me out but I love that girl —
Have you noticed lately that it seems people seem to be over sensitive and over reactive about everything lately? I get some of the bigger issues but someone says an off color joke or makes an ignorant comment and the internet explodes. What happened to saying “Hey that person is an asshole” and moving on. Nowadays people rally together and the media grabs hold and before you know it -that person has been financially or publicly ruined or at least shamed. We all say stupid shit — some more than others and it’s not a crime. We are a free country and free to think and believe what we want to believe. When a celebrity says something super stupid – I don’t feel the need to publicly shame them. I just think to myself –well, they are out of touch, spoiled asshats and I move on. I may or may not buy their records, or give my money to their causes or movies. That’s my choice but it is still a free country isn’t it and we are FREE to say stupid comments without fear of what will happen publicly.
One of my favorite sayings is Grab some popcorn and watch what happens…
I have found asshat people tend to be their own worst enemy. Ultimately they will bring themselves down. Maybe you have a co-worker that is lazy and arrogant. Sit back and watch him hang himself. It may take time but it will happen. Same goes for mean spirited, nasty people. You don’t need to help them, they do the job themselves.
Is your kid athletic? Do they ride a skateboard or bike? Both of you read this article: Teen fights for his life after skateboard crash
“Robin wants everyone to remember this: “It doesn’t matter how old you are … you’d be a lot cooler if you wore a helmet instead of putting your family and friends and loved ones through this.”
Robin said she did not push him to wear his helmet because she wanted to be the cool mom, and she does not want anyone else to feel the heartache she does.”
I’m sure we have all been there – and made exceptions to rules that we know are in place for our kid’s safety. Some are more dangerous than others. Never compromise on them wearing a helmet!
Lately I’ve been reading a lot about gender bias and the treatment of women in general. Maybe it’s because the influencers I follow have been bringing this issue to the forefront or maybe my college minor of Women’s Studies is rearing its head after years of lying dormant. Whatever the reason, it’s an interesting, relevant, shocking and downright disturbing topic that needs attention and change.
Yesterday, I watched John Oliver (who I think I love) highlight a very serious issue – Internet Misogyny- in a way that not only got the point across loud and clear, but entertained as well.
How scary is it that there are very few laws to protect against online harassment and revenge porn? And even scarier to realize that those hired to protect us are not prepared when it comes to what happens on the Internet.
Let’s Talk About Women Gamers
During the video, Oliver briefly mentions the harassment female gamers are subjected to on an ongoing basis. According to Emily Matthew over on the Pricecharting blog, 63% of women polled in 2012 report being harassed while gaming online. I’m sure that number has only increased…
There has been some heated discussions about the lack of ethics in video game journalism, and the role and treatment of women in the male dominated video game industry. Can you imagine being in so much fear that you actually have to leave your home because some anonymous gamer threatens you with bodily harm and death and also publishes your home address for all to see?
Throughout most of the discussions, the focus is on the victim and ‘blaming’ her for just being and living her life. Why should the victim be criticized and pressured to change? Where is the outrage at the behavior of these men? Men who have mothers, sisters, wives, daughters. Yes, of course women need to take basic precautions as a fact of life – we all do. But – being an awful human being is never OK. Lacking integrity and respect for fellow people (male or female) is never OK. Let’s figure out how to address the overall treatment of women as a whole and teach men to stand up for their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters.
We can be the change the in the world –and it starts at home.
Every day I check out Humans of New York and meet the people they are highlighting. Depending on the snapshot and the story they tell, I have felt sad, angry, or mushy inside – sometimes just from a few sentences. On a good day, I’ve feel all three. I think what draws me to HONY regularly is I love “meeting” so many interesting people and learning about all the things that bind us together. Everyone has a story to tell…
There is one that stands out and it was shared again recently because it’s that good…
Here are a couple gems of wisdom from the author Regina Brett:
- “Ask yourself, in five years, will it matter?”
- “Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.”
How many of us wait to use something for a special occasion or delay what we want because we want to make it really special? What I am finding out as I gain more experience and get older, every day is special. We are special and deserve to be around people who love us, make us feel happy and deserve to do things that make our heart sing, or feel fancy and pretty. Why are we taught we must wait?
A writer and friend Lisbeth shared a writing of hers: Don’t Save It for Later that speaks to this idea of not saving things for a special occasion. It reminded me of an Oprah episode years ago with Luther Vandross. Luther was an amazing, talented, flamboyant, bigger than life singer who died way too young. During the show, Oprah was walking through his house and remarked about how all of his every day dishes were very fancy and his regular drinking glasses were crystal. I’m not sure of his exact response, but the gist of it was that every day is special so why not enjoy the nice and pretty things all the time. It’s strange that I still remember that part but none of the rest, but he’s right. None of us is promised tomorrow or a ‘later’, so why are you saving or storing things that bring you happiness and joy?
It’s also food for thought around your career or personal life. Why are you putting up with things or sticking around those that suck the happiness out of you? We all deserve happiness and love. If there are people in your life that are sucking your joy or if your job makes you miserable – it’s time to start the process of change. Many times it’s not easy and the journey may be long and hard, but in the end you can choose to struggle and be unhappy or struggle to reach your happy place. Which one would you choose?
“We read to know we’re not alone.” ― William Nicholson, Shadowlands
This quote, by William Nicholson, in the movie Shadowlands, is one of my all time favorites and I turn to it for perspective often. Shadowlands, a 1993 movie based on the life and love of C.S. Lewis’s life, is a film I have watched dozens of times throughout the years and each time, it hits me deep. When the young man in the film tells CS Lewis why he reads so much –we read to know we’re not alone, it said volumes.
It’s a simple but true thought for just about everyone. The need to know we aren’t alone. There is no discounting the importance and power in knowing that there is someone else out there, in this vast world, who thinks, feels, or has experienced what we are going through. It has the power to offer comfort, give us strength, calm our anxiety, and motivate and inspire us to change. Sometimes, it’s the one thing that pulls us through a rough time.
Sharing our mistakes, flaws, wounds is hard no matter who you are. The bravery required to open up, be honest, and show your vulnerabilities is one of the hardest things for any of us to. Imagine then putting pen to paper and sharing these experiences beyond your closest trusted circle. It’s not a small thing…
The ability to let down our defenses and share what really happens behind the social media filters is important. No one lives a trouble free life. We all have hardships and successes. We all have flaws and things we love about ourselves. Life is about learning to live your best life in the peaks AND in the valleys and inviting people who make you smile, lift you up, and push you to be better along for the ride.
“The Real Face of Depression” to bring awareness to the world that depressed people aren’t just those in the corner crying and pulling their hair out like you see in most depictions, although sometimes we may feel that way. Depressed people are everyday people – they are your co-worker, they are your friend, your neighbor, and in my case, a fitness coach. We look happy on the outside, we have big smiles in our pictures that come up on Facebook, we are the new moms smiling and playing with precious little babies, we are top CrossFit athletes at The Games…”
“The most successful and happiest people I’ve known understand that a good life, at its core, is about being personal. It’s about being engaged. It’s about being there for a friend or a colleague when they’re injured or in an accident,” Biden told the Yale crowd, adding: “It all seems to get down to being personal. That’s the stuff that fosters relationships. It’s the only way to breed trust.”
It’s hard to come back to the ole work life after the long Memorial Day Weekend. It was such a spectacular weekend – getting time to workout, spending time with friends and being outside for much of it. It was one of those weekends that was perfect in it’s simplicity. I spent time with kind, fun people including my own family. I got to appreciate the feeling a great workout gave me, got in some napping and the weather was perfect. Kumbaya!
This summer I am going to start to tackle one of my biggest challenges – decluttering and tidying up my house. I am going to start with my own closet and clothing situation. It’s a trait I come by honestly by way of my Mom and it’s one that drives me crazy. I read this article the other day:
“It’s not just about tidying up to get rid of things,” Ramsey says. “It’s about having gratitude for the objects you choose to be in your life.” So if something (or someone) doesn’t bring you joy, don’t try to justify its place in your world. Just say thank you and move on.
One of the points made is that you should try to get it done in one project. So not by room or bit by bit. You need to sit down and go through all of your clothes at once. I am going to organize my clothes and closet by the end of the summer because it’s starting to drain me of energy. Seeing the big piles of clothes all over my bedroom isn’t healthy and I can’t find any of the pieces that bring me joy and that goes against the principle of having the clothes I do.