Wednesday, February 19, 2014


DSC03611 (1300x962)Wake up in quiet time, advised Lifehacker, describing seven simple things that can improve a bad day.  It's good advice (except item 5 for dealing with fools and negativity) and, while I used to publish my clippings to twitter, I’ve switched to publishing some curated links here in the blog, instead.

‘Some worthwhile early-morning reading for half-term, then:

sven kramerDutch speedskaters are thrilled; Americans baffled:  I haven’t had time to follow the Olympics closely, a bit of curling and biathlon while working out at the Leisure Centre.  But the discussions among friends have centered on the stellar performances of the skaters.  It was especially gratifying to see Sven Kramer get medals after he was disqualified in 2010 due to a coaching error.

DSC03615 (1300x918)Loneliness twice as unhealthy as obesity:  A new study reports that living alone increases six-year risk of dying by 14%; poverty by 19%.  Earlier studies have suggested that almost half of older people (depressingly defined as “over 50”) suffer persistent loneliness, and suggest maintaining contact with colleagues and engaging with “befriending services” is a remedy when family is far away. 

Isolation is certainly an issue in expat life, often attended by loneliness: my worry is always that I’d suffer an accident or emergency without anyone knowing where I was.  A laminated wallet card would seem to be prudent; living in a house-share likely helps too.

DSC03328The Apartment:  (Business success is) becoming a millionaire and getting a speedboat.  Eventually, he got it, but his wife wouldn't let him take the kids out on it, and the neighborhood association wouldn't let him park it in his driveway, so he kept it in a storage facility thirty minutes away, visited it like a spouse in prison, and rarely spoke of it. 

The moral: Cultivate relationships and collect experiences, not money and things.  And if tempted, read the Times on the emptiness of Going to the Gala

DSC03572 (1300x975)How free are we?:  It’s a sign of maturity that I find reading The Shrink and The Sage more interesting than Tyler Bruhe’s Fast Lane on the weekends.  This week they debate whether free will is an illusion, as viewed from choice therapies.  Fascinating stuff.

I’ve struggled to calibrate and accept the extent of my choices: what (natural) events are beyond my understanding and control, what (people) things have reasons but are forever beyond my knowledge or control, and what (plans and futures) I can actually influence. 

The Shrink holds that therapy helps with identification and acceptance of that sliver of life we can actually control; the Sage affirms that people do things for reasons and are able to modify their behaviour on the basis of argument and evidence. But is that the same as “free will”?

DSC0356615 Reasons to date a scientist: Predictable fun (You’ll likely win at trivia night), but still fun.  Contrast this with the incomprehensible writings of Relationship Coach Rori Raye.  Creator of Circular Dating strategies (Take each offer as it comes, without manipulating who calls or where you want to go), her blog is, well, like this:

“And what was your issue with that…?”

And so I said, “It would feel good to hear what you thought I said…”

And he did. And he got it right, too. Perfect.

AND – I didn’t feel any better!

I STILL felt angry, combative, not comprehending the “conflict” in our two views…still all of that.

BUT!!! – And here’s the really, really important part: HE FELT HEARD!!

…and there are distressed people in her office paying for advice.

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