Whether you’re perfectly healthy or struggle with Parkinson’s disease

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Photo by Peter Drew on Unsplash

My experience with the game of golf is incredibly limited. I’ve done it twice. But what I’d like to expound on today is what a short article in the New York Times about Michael J. Fox’s golf hobby taught me about life.

Michael J. Fox is known for his iconic ’80s roles in Family Ties and Back to the Future, and for his decades-long struggle with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s is a disorder that’s mostly characterized by severe body tremors. It can happen to anyone at any age; the cause is unknown and there’s currently no cure. Michael J. …

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Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

“I’m so angry. And I have no idea where to put it.”

This was Della Street, the firebrand character on HBO’s new Perry Mason series, lamenting the state of her world just a few days into her team’s defense on a murder trial with all the odds stacked against them.

But, she may as well have been speaking for me — and for all of us.

Trigger warning, here’s a list of things we all know and are sick to death of hearing about: There’s a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic happening, the economy and livelihoods of millions of are suffering more than any other time since the Great Depression because of it, domestic abuse counts are up as is hunger and unemployment. There’s a once-in-a-generation reckoning with race relations that has led to important change, but not without anger, violence, and death. And there’s an abundance of national and local leadership obscenely ill-equipped to deal with any of it, leading to more uncertainty, sickness, inequality, suffering, and death. And that’s not even mentioning the climate crisis and the rising natural disasters case counts happening right along with it — people displaced from windstorms in the Midwest, record-breaking heatwaves that make storms and start wildfires, and earthquakes in places there were never earthquakes before. …

And it’s looking less and less likely by the day

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Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

When the country largely shut down in March and April of this year to try and contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, many people were let go from their jobs. In response, Congress put the CARES Act to work: it passed legislation to provide economic relief to the millions of American workers who longer had any source of income.

And then everyone started referring to is as “economic stimulus.” As if the economy were just a little sleepy and needed some caffeine. A little jolt to get it going. But what had really happened was that an economic disaster, the proportions of which we have never seen in our lifetimes — and probably even the lifetimes of anyone alive. …

Trump threats, demands, and tantrums will lead to sickness and death

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Photo by Jeffrey Hamilton on Unsplash

A few weeks back, the culture at large seeming to realize that the coronavirus isn’t going to “just disappear,” there started to be some nuanced, thoughtful conversation around the subject of how to get kids back to school safely.

Then Trump got involved.

It was almost as if the bully-in-chief heard some rumor that middle class voters were afraid of what to do with their kids in the fall, and so he took up the cause in his typical way: by threatening, haranguing, and demanding that those responsible for the very delicate problem of whether or not — and how — kids can safely gather in classrooms with their teachers and other staff in a few weeks just make it happen. …

We must commit to the physical act of voting if we want to oust the racist, fascist dictator who currently occupies the Oval Office

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Donald Trump has dedicated 2020 to proving himself the worst American president ever elected.

He has stoked the fires of racial and partisan divide. He has buddied up to global dictators like Russia’s Vladimir Putin, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and China’s Xi Jinping.

And his mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic has led to the United States being able to boast of the highest infection rate in the world, even behind countries with a fraction of the resources and technology available to them — such as Brazil, whose far-right populist leader, Jair Bolsonaro, is another dictator who not only has modeled his behavior after Trump’s, but has recently managed to contract Covid-19 himself. …

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The highest office in the land is currently held by a white supremacist.

That Trump is “casually racist” can be seen pretty much daily. And for those of us who might have parents or grandparents his age, and might from time to time (probably not every day, even then) hear insensitive remnants of racism from times largely bygone, we might be tempted to simply shake our heads in shame and chalk it up to his generation’s lack of evolution on social matters.

But this is absolutely not the case. Donald Trump is a white supremacist.

I’d like to take a moment to define what I mean by “casual racism.” It feels strange to categorize an idea as hateful, ugly, and disgusting as racism as merely “casual.” Maybe a better phrase is “insensitive,” but since you can be insensitive about so many things outside of race, I think it’s best to stick with casual racism. …

Learning what takes up a lot of your time — and what doesn’t

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Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Do you know where your time goes in a day, a week, a year? If you start any sort of (effective) weight loss program, one of the first steps is to record what you eat for several days, sometimes even weeks. It’s a part of getting to know where your calories come from, and how can get enough nutrients but fewer empty calories. And it’s pretty essential.

Likewise, if you put yourself on a budget, advisors will tell you to pay attention to and record — actually write down — every dollar you spend, and on what, over a given period of time. Most of us know our salaries (if not our actual net pay), but if you don’t know how much is going out in relation to your pay, then how can you budget? …

Or others’ racism. Or homophobia. Or ableism, or southpawism…

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Photo by annie bolin on Unsplash

In the wake of the 2020 Democratic primaries, one of the many anxieties I’m left with is how we put our assumptions about other peoples’ -isms front and center in our decision-making process.

Much has been written about how the recent Democratic presidential primary began as the most diverse in history. In the beginning, there were candidates of African American, Latinx, even Pacific Islander heritage; there were 6 female candidates — surely a record, an openly gay candidate, and candidates ranging in age from their 30s to their 70s.

And, of course, the old white guy got the nomination. …

Especially if you have kids

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Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

I sometimes feel like I’ve regressed to a 1950s housewife.

And I don’t even have kids.

I’m unemployed, and my partner works. He works from home due to the pandemic, but he is still gainfully employed — thank god.

Our home life is very happy. But since we’ve added the work life to that happy home, we, like many, many — as in, over 50% of U.S. households —others have had to make some new arrangements.

There’s one unenclosed office in our 900-square-foot starter home. …

Black Lives Matter, and we have to keep pushing in order to hold our heads up as a society

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Photo by James Eades on Unsplash

On this Juneteenth, after weeks of protests against the killing of George Floyd (even during which still others have been murdered by police, including — but not limited to — Rayshard Brooks), two things are impressed upon my mind as I’ve turned to introspection and reflection: 1. Slavery is not as far in the past as we tend to think it is, and 2. The momentum the Black Lives Matter movement has gained absolutely must continue to stay strong if we ever hope to be able to hold our heads high as a society. There are systemic forces to be broken down and rebuilt. …


Heather Nowlin

Favorite topics: politics, mental health, travel, business/the office, humans, dogs, empathy, pop culture, movies, books, TV, plays, theatre.

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