The Swiss Army Knife of psychological resilience

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Photo by Nils Nedel on Unsplash

Two weeks ago our family drove up to northern Minnesota to attend a wedding of Kristina, a young woman who grew up in our neighborhood and who is to this day a very close friend of our family.

Kristina is a force of nature, and consistent with her overall demeanor of anything is possible, she and Eric decided to have an outdoor wedding at their family vacation home on Gull Lake in northern Minnesota. …

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Photo by Andrew Teoh on Unsplash

As I was making coffee last Monday morning I absolutely could not remember if it was Sunday or Monday. I stood there watching the coffee dribble into the pot totally stumped. I had to pull out my phone to get reoriented, just like tapping the recenter icon in the Maps app. We all seem to be in a Ground Hog day existence, with each day merging into the next and with little, if anything, to look forward to. Many of us are chained to our computers, day after day, in a sort of Zoom hell.

And then there is the even bigger problem of nothing to look forward to. I met with my dear friend and colleague Ann Masten outside at a park, and here she was, one of the world’s foremost experts on resilience, revealing her own struggles with “nothing to look forward to.” I know from week after week of personal experience just how true this is. …

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Photo by Daniel Páscoa on Unsplash

I have skinny calves, sort of.

Sort of because for the last two months I have been working my calves at the gym almost every day. So they are sorta bigger.

I can finally see a glimmer of the large vein that runs down the inside front of my right calf (the saphenous vein, the one heart surgeons use for heart bypasses).

In all of my 65 years, I don’t recall having seen my saphenous vein before.

I have lifted weights religiously for 42 years. I worked my upper legs hard for a few years in my late 30’s, but constant back problems kept me out of the leg exercise ring. …


Michael Maddaus

Juvenile delinquent, high school dropout, Thoracic Surgeon. Visit me at

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