Daydreaming about packing up and plugging in wherever there’s a decent Wi-Fi connection.

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I recently came across a story in the Japan Times about how national parks across Japan have improved internet access to increase remote work capabilities and I found myself wondering what if.

There I sat, in the living room I’ve spent far too much time in over the past 6 months, readying myself for another dull day of work, staring out the window imagining I was somewhere else entirely.

The idea itself isn’t exactly new. Marek, the Indie Traveller, has been working remotely for years, but has seen the trend really take off during the pandemic. He says friends who work 9-to-5 jobs have been spending lockdown in beach houses or country cottages and he also notes that the CEO of Airbnb affirmed a surge in demand for holiday homes in rural areas for longer periods of time. …

How failing to practice gratitude disrupted my career, relationships and self-esteem.

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The benefits of gratitude have been well documented, especially in recent years. Joel Wong and Joshua Brown wrote about the results of a gratitude study they conducted at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, a primary finding of theirs being that gratitude, “unshackles us from toxic emotions.” Robert Emmons documented a number of physical, psychological and social benefits he observed over more than a decade of research on gratitude, benefits like stronger immune systems, better sleep, more joy and pleasure, more forgiveness, more generosity, more extroversion, less loneliness and isolation.

Gratitude became a big part of my therapeutic recovery when I entered treatment because I hated myself, everything around me and was clinging to a dwindling list of reasons to stay alive. Alongside talk therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy I practiced mindfulness and wrote in a daily gratitude journal that my therapist reviewed for more than a year. …

Rather than measuring them up against ideals that don’t factor in the complications of reality.

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“What if they were doing the best they could?” My therapist asked in a session, responding to my anger and inability to forgive my parents for failing to protect me in my youth.

“What do you mean?” I asked, suspicious of how she could absolve them from having a hand in something that left me muted for more than a decade.

“Okay, so it’s true that they failed to protect you at a time when you were highly vulnerable, and your hurt about that is valid,” she began tentatively, “But what if that’s only half the story, what if they were truly doing the best they could with all the available resources?” …

Even if I feel the same.

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Photo by Dmitry Schemelev on Unsplash

I didn’t recognize the slow, sinking feeling as depression at first. I noticed some of the warning signs, the fatigue and the uptick in negative thinking, but I assumed I just wasn’t getting enough sleep or eating too much garbage. Then, it dawned on me a week later when I was in the throes of a depressive fog: Yup. I’m depressed. Again.

You might be wondering what on earth a depressive fog is. …

Hustling for your next gig on dating apps.

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It’s a natural development for the side hustle generation to start utilizing their dating profiles as tools to grow their businesses and yet, it’s interesting to have potential matches selling you far more than themselves.

Here are some of the things I’ve personally seen promoted on Tinder:

-Photographers building their portfolios and looking for people to shoot.
-Tattoo artists searching for people to practice on.
-Independent filmmakers looking for actors.
-Artists promoting their latest installations.
-Influencers beefing up their Instagram or YouTube followings.
-Unemployed people looking for leads on jobs.

I wonder if there’s any data on how well this marketing strategy works. I’ll admit, the practicing tattoo artist was tempting and I considered doing it even though I failed to follow through. I’ve always wanted to be photographed professionally, however, I watched way too many Lifetime movies as a child to ever consider responding to a solicitation for models online. And, once I had plans to meet an artist at a gallery showing his work, but he decided to call me late at night with no warning before we met, which gave me the creeps so I blocked him instead. …

Let’s take a closer look at three major challenges of working in an open office and three ways employers can lessen their negative impact on employees.

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1. Open Offices Don’t Accomplish What They Intend to Do

Open offices have long been praised for increasing creativity, communication and teamwork, but the research shows open offices do the exact opposite. In an open office, face-to-face interactions decreased by 70 percent while email messages increased by 50 percent. Workers were less productive and their open workspaces had a negative effect on attention spans, creative thinking and job satisfaction. When compared to workers in a standard office layout, workers in open offices had higher stress levels and lower concentration and motivation.

There are only three people in my little open office and there are still times when it’s impossible to focus. Whether a coworker is on a call, discussing a project with a supervisor, or chatting with a colleague, it’s hard to stay on track with the task at hand. Recently, a coworker left our office for a much larger one and she’s having a rough time adjusting. Dozens of voices overlap in the wide-open area and drown out the constant background music that seems to be an attempt to buffer the noise. …

It’s been six months since we woke from our romantic fever dream and we linger in one another’s lives, still tempted by what could have been.

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Photo by Valentin Antonucci on Unsplash

We melted the moment we met. There was an an eerie familiarity between us. We mused that the intensity we felt must have carried over from a past life or an alternate universe.

The problem with us getting swept away so quickly was that our feet left the ground. We forgot to have conversations about what we’re doing and where it’s going because we were caught up in this blissful breeze.

But a month later when the wind died down and our feet were almost back on solid ground, you wondered how this delicate delightfully delicious development would fit into your world. …

Death is different in the digital age. Your avatar can carry on living long after you’re gone.

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My father died on January 30th in 2016. We knew it was coming, but that didn’t make it any less gut-wrenching. It was my first time experiencing the death of a close family member after the rise of social media. It was a powerful space. We announced his passing and shared the details of the memorial we held in his honor on Facebook.

Navigating the minefield of social media requires a high level of emotional resilience, or, strategic use of filters.

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Image by Lisa Fotios on Pexels

A week ago, when scrolling through my Instagram feed I came across a video of a man spraying liquid into a cage with a puppy in it. My eyes glimpsed the words ‘setting them on fire’ in the caption and I could feel my feet losing grip on the ground I stood on as the entire world twisted itself up into a frightening, fucked up, tragic, cruel place.

It’s hard to know how one should react when they come across graphic, violent content like this on social media. I think the right response in most cases is to report both the post and the user. In this case, however, that response didn’t make sense. …

*You’re not being helpful or nice when you point out typos or grammatical errors in what you read online.

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Like most writers, I love when readers respond to my work by sharing their own stories, disagreeing with a point I made, explaining their own take on the topic or simply conveying that it was something they enjoyed reading.

A response pointing out a minute error, on the other hand, is deflating to receive. It tells me that the only thing you’ve gotten out of reading my work is the brief rush of gratification you got from pointing out even the slightest oversight.

Let me tell you a little bit more about that instant gratification you feel. One of the main reasons you feel it is because you now feel superior. You’ve demonstrated your literacy privilege. You’ve established yourself as someone who knows the right way to write. And you’ve taken up arms as a Grammar Nazi to publicly shame anything you perceive to be below the standards you and the gatekeepers of intellectual language have set.

A fair counterpoint to my argument would be to ask how will writers who aren’t at the same level of literacy improve if you don’t point out their boo-boos?

I promise you, they’ll be just fine without your rude interjection. They’ll learn through reading, attending workshops, joining writers groups, taking classes, seeking feedback from friends and family, and they will get better with each new piece they pen.

They won’t learn anything from you getting up on your high horse to point out their mistake. …


Liz Stevens

Interested in how our online lives affect us IRL, personal growth, self-awareness, feminism, relationships, mental health, compassion and vulnerability.

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