Saturday, February 11, 2017

Dear Younger Me

There is a song entitled "Dear Younger Me." It gets me every time. What would I say to my Younger Me? I think I'd start with "you aren't fat." Because thinking you are fat seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not to mention that I wasted a lot of years believing that was true when it really wasn't and wasting a lot of life when it really was. So I'm fat. There are people our there with real problems. Cancer. Multiple sclerosis. Dairy allergies. Not to put that on the same plane as dread diseases, but... cheese!

Other things: 

  • Do NOT let your husband take the job that pays more, but requires travel. Just don't. 
  • Don't put your kids in school. You will waste a lot of time trying to unteach the idea that knowledge is something given to you (instead of sought), and can only be acquired during school hours (instead of joyously chased every moment of every day). 
  • Don't spend a single moment waiting for others to step up to the plate. Just do it yourself. Fill the gaps without resentment. Whatever that looks like. 
  • Travel more. Letting your passport expire will kill your soul. 

What things would you like to be able to tell your Younger Me?

Hear the song here

Full lyrics:
Dear younger me
Where do I start
If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far
Then you could be
One step ahead
Of all the painful memories still running through my head
I wonder how many different things would be
Dear younger me
Dear younger me
I cannot decide
Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life
Or do I go deep
And try to change
The choices that you’ll make ‘cause they’re choices that made me
Even though I love this crazy life
Sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride
Dear younger me
If I knew then what I know now
Condemnation would’ve had no power
My joy my pain would’ve never been my worth
If I knew then what I know now
Would’ve not been hard to figure out
What I would’ve changed if I had heard
Dear younger me
It’s not your fault
You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross
Dear younger me
You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart
A brand new heart
You are free indeed
Every mountain every valley
Through each heartache you will see
Every moment brings you closer
To who you were meant to be
Dear younger me

"Agnotology" and the Rise of Opinion over Fact

2016 was a tough year for our old friend, Truth. 2017 looks like an equally rocky ride! 

As much as I enjoy Social Media, I'm going to blame it for the train-wreck of Truth. Our interactions in the digital world have somehow led us to believe that opinion is equal in importance to fact (climate change is one example). This phenomenon creates "sides" of arguments that don't exist in reality. We choose a side that comes with a set of arguments that fit our bias instead of really looking at [actual] facts. Then we go on to dismiss those actual facts and the sources for them, as "biased." 

People can't handle the truth! This best evidence of this is the enthusiastic "thanks" you will receive when you send someone a link to Snopes (or other fact-checking site) in response to a post you realize contains bogus information. Nada. You will never be thanked, enthusiastically or otherwise, for pointing out that a fact is twisted or false. I used to send the Snopes link via private messenger out of sincere concern that someone might be embarrassed by their honest mistake and just assumed the person would say, "Oops! I was punked. Thank you so much for telling me!" and withdraw it or issue a retraction. I'd wait. Crickets. Nope. You are much more likely to get the response: "You must be a liberal!" (Because that must be the only reason anyone cares enough to fact-check?) 

And then there is the "alternative fact." Most recently made famous by the American government -- much to my chagrin -- it has really been a "thing" for as long as people have been opinionated. Have you ever heard someone say, "Well, it may not be true, but it makes sense and is something to consider." Huh? If it is not true, I maintained that it should *not* be considered. 

I was delighted to recently find there is actually a word for this: Agnotology. "Agnotology is the study of wilful acts to spread confusion and deceit, usually to sell a product or win favour." (Clearly written by British folk.)  

Click here to read the article:

Let's try harder to keep our facts... well, factual. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Giant Meteor 2016!

Like a lot of people, I'm not feeling very optimistic about the year 2017. Actually, that's probably the understatement of the year. The truth is, I look at the Year 2017 with a sense of impending doom. If I had placed a bumper sticker on my minivan during the recent (un)Presidential election cycle, it would have read read something like the one in this picture:

But see the caption? The downward spiral to utter chaos is not limited to every. single. political institution in America. This sticker was born in the UK. The slippery slope we are on has been mounted worldwide. Scary times.

Ironically, I've also -- at the risk of sounding like Oprah -- been thinking a lot about how I could live my best life, since it is slipping away at an alarming rate.😅 (Does that emoji have a milk moustache?) I'm now claiming Expert status at making New Years Resolutions, since I've been at it for probably 40 out of 51 years. This vast experience has taught me not to quantify my lists, because that's just setting myself up for failure. That's the same reason I don't read self-help books, but I digress. 😄 So here it is, in all its glory. My list of attainable goals for 2017. That is, if a giant meteor doesn't strike first. 

1. Read more actual books.
2. Write more.
3. Walk daily, hike more.
4. Drink more water.
5. Remember more birthdays.
6. Travel more.
7. Be a better friend.
8. Teach more English.
9. Do creative things more often.
10. Organize my house!

In my dreams, I would have included "learn a new language," or "learn to play an instrument," but if I can just toddle down to the mailbox once in a while, I will consider 2017 to have been a major coup!

After all, with this nice mushroom cloud compare it to, how can I go wrong?