When I travel outside the country, I am regularly reminded of how many people are struggling with immense problems and living in great need, without basic necessities like food, shelter and freedom. I am also reminded, at these times, by how blessed many of us are to be facing lesser struggles.
“Is this supposed to press down on my nose so much,” I asked Ryan, the trainer administering my metabolic and VO2 max test. “Yeah, it needs to be snug enough so air doesn’t get in through the sides,” he explained, adjusting the straps and checking the seal of the mask.
It’s resolutions season again - a time of review and reflection, and for many, a time of frustration. We may find ourselves facing some of the same issues we faced last year and the year before. And not all of them have improved with age.
Maybe it's my imagination, but I've begun to notice this weird phenomenon in my editing work. If I start working on an interesting story, or I get into researching a new topic, I'll often have some sort of direct personal experience with the subject matter. Some of these serendipitous encounters are quite pleasant. Others, not so much.
For the past few months, my neighborhood has been slowly filling with signs. Lawn signs, mostly – signs about war and peace, signs rallying support for different points of view. One morning last week, I went out for my morning run and noticed that all the signs belonging to one camp had disappeared. Overnight, I presume, one side took down the other side's signs – an effort that would have required both trespassing and stealing.
In the game of Scrabble, there’s a very handy rule that allows you to exchange some (or even all) of your letter tiles for brand new ones. In my experience, this rule is chronically underemployed. People often forget about it altogether – until they find themselves looking at the board and their available letters, and discovering that about all they can spell is plfhxt.
When I was a kid, my mom referred to me affectionately as her "worry wart." This was because, from a very early age, I fretted and worried myself silly over just about everything, from whether my toddler tights were on straight, to whether or not other kids would like me, to whether I would grow up to be the sort of adult I imagined I was supposed to be.
It starts when some nice clerk ma'ams you at the supermarket. Then you notice waitresses aren't asking to see your ID quite so often. Next thing you know, you're saying things like, "When I was younger," and it no longer sounds even a little bit silly.