The Joys of Being Chubby

Being overweight isn’t ALL bad.

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Even being vegan and active, I would not classify myself as a “health nut”, and like many people I struggle with weight. I usually carry an extra pesky 20-30 pounds that do no good for my physical health or self-esteem. Also, like many people, I have a mostly sedentary career and a few “sitting” hobbies, like watching movies and reading. I also delicious sweet baked goods and sweet stuff.

I mitigate my diet as much as I can without feeling deprived. For example, I rarely drink soda, I gave up my sweet, sweet welcoming morning lattes, and I don’t eat candy bars or even chew sugary gum. Plus, I am moderately active, especially on the weekends. Still, that pesky 20-30 hang around like a group of jobless, loitering high school hoodlums.

I know what to do to lose the weight but I choose not to. I do not want my life consumed by conscientiously eating small amounts of tasteless food or spending hours of my week walking in place or lifting heavy things up and putting them down over and over.

I guess, for me, having a little extra weight is not all that bad. Think about this… thanks to my being fat:

I am almost never cold. Nicole is petite and she always complains how cold it is (we live in TAMPA, FL). Even when we were inside and the temperature is set to 78 degrees, for Nicole it is sweater time. For me, it’s always shorts weather! Chubby = 1. Skinny = 0.

I can survive for days without eating. I wouldn’t want to, but I could skip a few (well, several) meals if suddenly the vegan store ran out of tofu (people think that is all vegans eat). Not only that, but I would also be bigger than all the scrawny people left and I could take their food without much effort after waiting them out a week or so. Chubby = #winning!

I am more cuddly. Because Nicole is tiny, when I wrap my arms around her, I feel bigger, stronger, and more manly than I probably am, but I also have to worry about crushing her if we are laying next to each other and I roll over. On the other hand, when Nicole cuddles with me, she knows she is safe because I provide a pillowy wall to keep her from accidentally rolling off the bed. I am fat because I care about her safety. Plus, cuddling with me is like embracing a big, warm, hairy teddy bear. Who doesn’t love teddy bears? Probably fish, but they don’t cuddle so it doesn’t matter.

 

I am still going to pursue, with mild to moderate will, eliminating the pesky 20-30 extra pounds I carry but then I will have to worry about being a shivering, starving, unsafe mangy bear.

One problem at a time, I guess.

 

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The Idea

Today’s Lesson: Share your goofy ideas. They might become good ones.

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The lesson I learned today has nothing to do with the idea I am about to share. The lesson is to share an idea. Having an idea and talking about it stretches your imagination, works your brain, and helps breed creativity, which leads to newer, better, stronger ideas. Even if none of your ideas become reality, they might become seeds for somebody else’s idea which may turn into a real thing… like doors that magically open when you walk up to them.

When Gene Roddenberry dreamed up automatic sliding doors for the original Star Trek series, it was something he imagined would happen another 400 years from now. However, the idea sprouted in other people’s minds and took form. Today, when we walk up to a grocery store and the doors whoosh open, we do not even think twice about it.

So here is my (admittedly poorly thought out) idea:

When you shop for something on Amazon, do you read the reviews before buying? I do. I check the reviews for any online product before I buy it. I even check reviews for products I have no intention of buying online. Some reviewers, though, are prolific. They review on multiple sites, they gain trust, and are essentially certified by sites like Amazon. They provide thorough information and are genuinely eager to help.

What if there was a new social media site (I don’t know, maybe “UReview.com” or something) where all of a person’s reviews are gathered in one place?

 

No matter what you review, no matter what site you post your review on, you can link all your reviews to UReview (or whatever you call it). Reviewers can build credibility and reputation scores by votes and endorsements from other trusted reviewers.

Rather than search for the same product on 10 sites and checking all the reviews on each site, search for the product review from a trusted, verified reviewer on one site, then just pick the site you want to buy it from.

People can review anything: books, movies, boats, shoes, pet medications, whatever. If you want to know if something is good, you go to this site.

 

Anyway, if you decide to run with my idea, just remember me if it is a huge success. An annual check for 5% of the profits would be pretty cool. Just throwing it out there…

You never know what will happen with any idea you share with people, but you certainly know what happens with any idea you share with nobody.

 

 

 

Why Conspiracy Theories Fail

Today’s Lesson: If there are actual conspiracies out there, they are lame at best. Instead of believing in them, accept responsibility for learning how to think sharply and act with specific intent.

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Many of my friends love, love, love to believe there are incredibly evil and corrupt powers in the world, secretly invading our culture for nefarious purposes.

In my social circle, there are people who believe extraterrestrials are among us but have been hidden by the government. There are people who believe GMO food is essentially grown, harvested, and marketed by the devil. There are those who believe in ghosts, hidden backwards messages in live speeches, chemtrails, demonic possession, global warming is a myth, and any number of other popular but utterly unjustifiable, unproven, and unbelievable beliefs.

There might be real conspiracies somewhere, but it is highly unlikely any of the ones perpetuated in the media or by the public have any validity. I see three problems with believing in conspiracies:

1. Conspiracies give too much credit to the conspirators. 

It is fanciful thinking to believe a government could pull off a conspiracy like Roswell. (If you are unfamiliar, an extraterrestrial ship allegedly crashed in Roswell, New Mexico in the 1950’s and has been kept from the public ever since.)

The U.S. government, under constant, relentless scrutiny from the public and media, is unable to even hide a President getting a BJ. The nation’s leaders can not agree on a single principle, direction, or moral value. How is it possible these bumbling, bungling politicians are pulling off an incredibly ornate and long-lasting conspiracy to hide something from the public? Is it more believable the government, through decades of changing leadership, advisers, and staff have kept an impenetrable wall of secrecy for over 60 years–not one single person breaking their silence, not one reporter finding a single irrefutable clue tying the plot together… or is it more likely aliens never visited?

We do not have to be logicians to figure this one out. We simply have to sit and think beyond our Twitter feeds for a minute. The harsh truth is most people, even those with a lot of unchecked power, are not smart enough to mastermind the kinds of plots we see in movies.

2. Conspiracies rely on someone being illogically evil.

Wouldn’t it be convenient if Monsanto was an evil, secret corporation trying to poison our food and destroy our planet for nothing more than bigger profit margins (because, at this point, they still really need the money)?

One of the many problems with the “GMO is evil” bandwagon is the people who work at Monsanto also have to eat the same food, grown on the same Earth, as everyone else. Edgar Monsanto Queeny (the current president of Monsanto and the founder’s son), I very much doubt, wants his children, or his family, or his family’s legacy, to be tied to the willful destruction of the world (why start a family if your goal is for them to have no future?). I also find it tough to believe a company that employs literally thousands of people has somehow convinced most, if not all, of them to contribute to the company’s nefariously evil plan to destroy the world’s food supply.

You have had jobs. You have probably worked for good people, and not-so-good people but not one of your bosses, I am willing to bet, is a Joker “watch the world burn” level of evil. They are just people with families doing their best, and maybe they have some anger issues. I bet you do not know a single person carrying out a world-wide master plot of evil. Further, neither does anyone you know or have ever met.

There are definitely bad organizations in the world, run by bad people, but they are not elaborate conspiracies. They are blatant about their intentions–Al Qaeda, Hitler, North Korea, Fox News… the distinction of these groups is, despite worldwide criticism and rejection, they believe they are the good guys.

In other words, there is no inherent benefit for them to create a conspiracy.

If you are trying to take over the world, you need to recruit and have a powerful message to market to enroll others. A conspiracy, by definition, denies bringing attention to the conspirator’s plan. This is obviously illogical. How can the conspirator take credit for their work if they succeed?

Ego is probably the first barrier to conspiracy, which is how and why hackers are often caught. They leave a signature, a tell-tale sign of their work because they want to show it off. Conspiracy theories fall apart when there is no tell-tale sign of who is conspiring and what they have to gain. This is easy to spot because the language of conspiracies requires a vague “them”, “they”, “the government”, “Monsanto”, “The Media”, “Fox News”, etc. because there is no one to actually pinpoint (yes, it was on purpose). The reason there is no one to pinpoint is because there is likely no one master-minding a conspiracy.

3. The conspiracy itself is unsustainable at the scale proposed.

This should be evident in the other two points but conspiracies are always massive and unbelievable because the obvious place to hide something so remarkable is in a morass of confusion.

Thousands of employees work for Monsanto. I challenge any person to find the employee that goes to work each day hoping to cause cancer, put farmers out of work, or kill his or her own family with secret, genetically-modified-by-the-devil, food. For what purpose, exactly, would a capitalist company want to end life as we know it or destroy natural food? It is hard to profit after you kill all your customers. Is it more likely Monsanto’s (or Cargill’s or whoever’s) intent is to leverage science to create a healthier, more sustainable planet or they are part of a secret cult trying to kill everyone including themselves?

By the same token, thousands of people over generations would be required to hide a secret alien ship buried in New Mexico. To what end?

By the way, if aliens possessed technology to warp space-time or exceed the speed of light to reach Earth, then there is absolutely no technology on Earth that could hide them and no reason for the aliens to care about human motives or political agendas. If they are advanced enough to get here, then once they arrived, we would be about as interesting and intelligent to them as amoeba are to us.

 

I get it, though. We all want to be healthy and wish to know what is true, reliable, and dependable in our lives. We want to stand on something and stand for something. We want to believe bad things happen for a reason–that evil, if evil exists, is not random and meaningless (because that makes the events of our lives random and meaningless). Sadly, those are the worst reasons to try to validate conspiracies. Conspiracies prey on your highest values. That is the shame of the conspiracies and of the so-called “theorists” who perpetuate such myths and poor thinking.

Before you believe without question the next study, story, or announcement from an organization, person, or group with a reputable sounding name, pause. Spend a moment to think about what they are purporting to be true. Play out the logical conclusions in your mind. Ask, “What is the motive here? Is this possibly biased? Is there an agenda? Where is the information coming from and what makes me think I can trust it? Is it because the source has a legitimate sounding name or because it was a massive double-blind experiment in controlled conditions with replicable proof by reputable non-biased scientists?”

Most (probably all) conspiracies do not exist but your brain does. Use it to do something more powerful than make people afraid of invisible men.

 

Baby Peacocks Are Ugly.

Today’s Lesson: You never know when you will blossom… and you never have to stop blossoming. 

*****

Right by my office, there is a neighborhood filled with peacocks. I walk over there most days during my lunch to marvel at them. Luckily, peacocks do not worry much about self-esteem, especially when they are young. It is a good thing, too, because here is what a baby peacock looks like:

baby peacock

I know. It’s not really ugly. It is kind of adorable but still, compared to what this tiny brown alfalfa-haired dust mop is going to look like when it is all grown-up…

adult peacock

It is almost unbelievable. I’m no Brad Pitt but I never thought I would grow up to be handsome. I felt a lot like a baby peacock until I was well into my twenties. When I began having confidence in who I was, I began looking more confident. When I began learning about who I wanted to become (by learning ethics, values, morality, and philosophy–all of which happened after the drudgery of going to school), I began growing into that person. This is me as a kid:

MJS- Me and IbrahimI’m the ugly little girl on the right (shut up–it was the seventies!).  Eventually, I blossomed…

MJS, Kaleidoscope- 130911
…but the cool part is… I’m still blossoming. I don’t know if it is true you can become more handsome with age (sure looks like peacocks do), but I know it is true you can become a better person with age… and that never has to stop until you do.

 

Replace HR With Plumbers

Today’s Lesson: Choosing your team does not stop at choosing your team.

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Here are two ways people are hired:

1. Hire a worker–a professional sought for their expertise, value, and reputation.

“Welcome to Acme Corporation! We have screened a ton of applicants based on their skills, attitudes, and experiences, then narrowed them down to our top choices through a bunch of interviews, and then picked you because we think you are the best of the best! You have expertise in areas where we need help. You have experience successfully doing what we are hoping you will successfully do for us. You have a winning, ‘can-do!’ attitude we hope will fit, and enhance, our existing culture and team!

“Now, here are all the ways we are going to hamper you from doing what we hired you for. This is our rule book–don’t do any of this stuff or wear any of that stuff or share any stuff. These are our politics–be sure not to step on the wrong toes–we all work in fear here! These are our old, out-dated traditions. We hired you to help us move past them (because what we were doing before wasn’t working or else we wouldn’t need you). We are going to ask you for your input but we have no intention of actually challenging or changing any of our old ways–and don’t forget the politics-thing. Anyway, welcome aboard! We value our team and believe in doing the best work possible for our customers (as long as you do not try to shake things up).”

2. Hire a plumber–a professional sought for their expertise, value, and reputation.

“Dude, thank God you’re here! There is water everywhere. We tried turning the valve-thingy and nothing happened. We’ll pay whatever it takes. Just please fix it!”
Which hired professional do you think will generate faster, better results? Is your company hiring workers or plumbers?

 

Before You Get a Pet…

Today’s Lesson: Pets are great companions but they come with the same challenges as taking care of a toddler or elder.

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I love my one-eyed cat. She can turn a bad day good in about two heartbeats. She is my assistant, making sure I never wake up late and reminding me when to take a break. She is cute, attentive, and fuzzy.

She is also a terror. She barfs randomly and often, usually in the middle of the night. She insists on barfing anywhere there is carpet and avoiding the 85% of the apartment with easy-to-clean linoleum or hardwood floors. She sometimes misses the litter box and what I sometimes think is a hairball… isn’t.

She whines. A lot. She can wreak havoc on my ears and patience with a piercing “Mee-rrOWW!” when she demands attention.

She is fickle about her toys and food, and I have spent a frightening amount of money guessing what she might like. Not to mention, the cost of removing the tumor in one of her eyes, as well as follow-up vet visits, bills, and the obvious onset and cost of arthritis and other problems as she grows older. In fact, when the cost of removing her eye started edging over two grand, I began debating if I was doing the right thing. With two thousand dollars, obviously I could save my dear cat and extend her life… but I could also have simply given the money to a local shelter and saved many cats and dogs–which would perhaps be equally loved and valued by other families. It was tough but obviously I ponied up the money and kept Rainee around, despite her more annoying eccentricities.

When I see people trying desperately to give away their pets, I feel bad for both the pets and the people. I can relate. I have had so many late nights broken by poor sleep (thanks to Rainee’s puking or wanting to play or just generally announcing her presence to the quiet room) that it is more remarkable for me to count the nights I have slept more than three hours in a row.

The point is this: pets are wonderful but it is surprising how many families are unprepared to accept the responsibilities of ownership. Of course, some pets are easy just like some people–they do not seem to want to be fussed or have few needs. Most pets are also quirky, eccentric, and unpredictable…just like most people, and their needs change over time. It is surprising we do not have to pass a ownership test before buying a cat or dog. Most people, I would guess, are simply not prepared to be good pet parents.

If you are considering buying a pet–a commitment of nearly two decades of care and responsibility–I recommend considering these three questions ahead of time:

 

1. Am I ready to have a toddler in the house (again)? Are you prepared to never expect a solid 7-8 hours of sleep per night for the next 20 years or so? Are you prepared to have things broken, clean up messes, and be at the beck and call of a poor communicator that never matures for two decades, no matter where you move? Are you prepared to never have an uninterrupted romantic moment and clean hair and other things from your clothes all the time?

2.  Am I willing to break the bank for medical expenses, if needed? Cats and dogs have accidents and grow old just like people, and they come with the same problems you may face in taking care of a toddler or elder. Pets may experience dementia, eventual blindness, brittle bones, cancer, or random accidents like falling and breaking a leg or having urinary tract issues or even just food poisoning. You are the parent, caretaker, friend, and prison ward all-in-one.

3. Am I able to take proper care of my pet? Pets need to have their teeth brushed. They expect clean and sanitary rest room areas just like you. It is not good for them to “hold it” for 8-10 hours a day any more than it would be good for you to do the same. They need attention and social time every day or they become a little crazy, just like a person would. They are part of the family when you bring them into the family. We buy toys for pets because pets are not toys, and they are not glorified footrests or outlets for frustration.

 

If you are not ready, willing, and able to be a pet parent (or have not given it thorough consideration), then you might not be ready to own a pet for now. Sure, they are cute and cuddly and charming but they are also needy and demanding and dumb by comparison to humans. If the idea of taking care of an older parent or grandparent until they die is not appealing to you, then consider you have the same responsibility to an aging pet. Rainee is basically a child trapped in the “Terrible Two’s” stage of development for her entire life. Two-year olds are adorable (to some people) but they are tough, especially when you did not give birth to them.

If I still have not dissuaded you from buying a pet, then enjoy spoiling your pet and be prepared to learn patience and kindness on a whole new level (meditation will help). Otherwise, maybe instead of a pet, use the money you would have spent on pet care each year to go on vacation, and be grateful for every good night’s rest! You can always volunteer at a shelter or dog-sit for your friends and have quality pet time without having to worry about being a bad pet parent.

 

The Footrest

Today’s Lesson: Take care of the foundation upon which you stand.

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I have really been getting into the work of biomechanist Katy Bowman and her knowledge of movement, and how we load and stack the components of our bodies. We are reading her first book, “Every Woman’s Guide To Foot Pain Relief” (it’s for men, too, and she has lots of books and a podcast called “Katy Says”–just click on her name for a link to her stuff) and she taught me a few things about feet I had never considered. Think about this:

Your feet have to support the entire structure of your body (whatever shape your body is in), yet most of us know hardly anything about how they work, or how they should work.

Aching feet can contribute to weight problems. When your feet hurt, you do not do the most obvious thing you can do to lose weight–walk! You might even avoid moving altogether because your body is telling you to let your feet rest. The problem is, many people have perpetual foot pain.

The muscles in our feet and legs have basically atrophied into adulthood. Consider how much you time you sit with your legs bent as an adult (in your chair at work, on your couch, in your car, on your patio swing, etc.). Compare that to how much time you spend with your legs moving, stretched out, and flexing (running, climbing, swimming, jumping, kicking, etc.). No contest, right? Probably 12-15 hours of sitting versus 1-3 hours of active movement. For extra fun, watch your pre-schoolers. They even watch television with their legs stretched out, lying on the floor. They can not stop moving. No wonder they are so limber!

Until recently, I absolutely abused my feet. That’s actually not fair. In truth, I was not even really aware of them (except when they were aching). If you take care of your feet, they will take care of the rest of you. They will allow you to move, stand, be active, and explore.

Your feet are both literally and figuratively your foundation, and any structure that lasts a long time starts with a strong foundation.

 

Think In Circles

Today’s Lesson: Sudden stops are bad for you.

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This is why I told Nicole to “Always think in circles”, just as a master once told me.

I am not the most proficient with escrima (stick fighting, like holding two batons), but Nicole loves learning how to fight with escrima so I am teaching her what I know. Not surprisingly, she is a great student, absorbing knowledge and practicing until she gets it right.

As she advances, I add more tips and lessons, which changes things. After someone learns the basics of striking and defending with sticks, for example, a good teacher will add hip movements for the student to focus on, which will enhance and transform what was already learned.

Watching Nicole struggle with a particular strike movement, I shared one of the most important lessons I have learned from Shihan (Master) Montise. “Always think in circles,” I said.

Many martial artists learn to strike with hard, abrupt motions, stopping at the point of impact. This does damage to both you and your opponent, which is quite like punching somebody and then punching yourself. A sudden stop against another object means your body must absorb some of the momentum or impact (in fact, that is how I broke my hand punching a board once).

If you think of every strike as a circle or ellipse, instead, then your inertia continues and you flow into the next movement without absorbing energy. You are more like a conduit for motion, then, and you start and end ready to strike, defend, or avoid. Also, it looks beautiful, like a dance instead of brutal like a car crash. (Remember it is called “martial arts”–that is the “art” part.)

Naturally, this applies everywhere in life. When you come to an abrupt stop (physically, mentally, or philosophically), it is jarring. It creates tension and force that must be absorbed or distributed. Do not forget Newton’s laws of motion: “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction…” and “…An object in motion tends to stay in motion until acted on by an outside force…”. Both laws work in tandem. Therefore, when something comes to an abrupt stop, the energy must go somewhere (but you do not want it to go back into you).

Acting in circles allows the energy to transfer elsewhere and or move away from you like ripples in water when a stone strikes the water’s surface. This is true in fighting, in conversation, work projects, even thoughts. This is a good lesson to remember and it is one I have learned many times over.

This is why I told Nicole to “Always think in circles”, just as a master once told me.

 

My Current Experiments

Today’s Lesson: Try, try, and try again.

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I have written before about the importance of living “an experimental life“. I think one of the best things we can do to experience the most life has to offer is to be curious and experiment. You can experiment with big stuff or easy stuff. It doesn’t matter. The point is to change your life around, turn it upside down now and then, and find out who you really are. You might find what is necessary in your life by distilling what is unnecessary. I thought you might like to know 3 of my current life experiments, just for fun. I have a lot of experiments going on but here are three that revolve around better sleep (something many of us struggle with):

 

1. Giving up caffeine. I still have mixed feelings about this one but I can definitely say there have been advantages. I think this is only week three but I have had no lattes (my daily habit for the last 6 years or so), no soda, no caffeinated teas. I drink water, herbal teas, mineral water, and sometimes club soda, kombucha, or tonic water.

So far, I have lost two pounds over three weeks (nothing to do with the caffeine, I know, but the sugar in the lattes) and I am sleeping a little better, but to be honest, I have not noticed a dramatic difference. Still, a little better is still better. I have slightly more energy throughout the day (but again, probably not the caffeine so much as the missing sugar crash). Stupid Starbucks. I’ll stay caffeine free indefinitely but the results, I would say, are out so far on this one.

2. No screens for at least 30 minutes before bed, and no screens in the bedroom. This has been a tough one. Not only do I typically check my social media and email before bed, but also it is how I like to wind down. Nicole and I will snuggle up and watch an episode of something on Netflix or some YouTube videos right before bed. However, all leading research in the field points to screen time as one of the biggest culprits for sleepless nights, throwing off our circadian rhythm. Stupid evolution. We have also banned all other non-sleep activities (except adult play-time) from the bedroom.

We have a fun fill-in, though. We sit across from each other on the sofa before bed, and take turns reading a book to each other. One person reads while the other massages their feet, and then we switch. It is wonderful!

So far, I seem to be sleeping slightly (but again, not remarkably) better. This might also be due to the caffeine thing.

3. Waking up a half-hour later. This was a risky experiment but it has been paying off the most, so far. I normally wake up at 6am and leave the apartment by 7. Usually, I arrive to work with about 10 to 15 minutes to spare, depending on traffic. Personally, I find the thought of waking up before the sun disgusting and appalling and I can not believe that any human would do it voluntarily. Stupid society. Out of desperation and anger, I decided to draw a line in the sand. I had no idea how I would hustle fast enough to get out the door on time, but I was done waking up at 6.

I decided to set my alarm for 6:30 and see what happened. Turns out, I just do everything faster. It is a bit of a rush and I end up leaving closer to 7:10 now, but I have not been late yet (it would be okay if I was but I take it as a matter of pride to always be where I agree to be when I agree to be there). Oddly enough, I also wake up before the alarm goes off.

This is the most dramatic of the experiments so far, in both action and results. Just waking up on my own 10 or 15 minutes later than when my alarm was set makes a HUGE difference in how I feel for the rest of the day. Less “fogginess”, less anger, less pouting, more energy, more efficiency (I love efficiency!), and no real loss of time. It’s crazy.

 

So there you are. Quick update on some of my current little life experiments. What are you trying, or what can you  try, to keep yourself in the mindset of living an experimental life?

A New Hope

Today’s Lesson: It’s better than it looks. Really.

*****

Scrolling through my social media feed, you would think the world is coming to an end tomorrow–war, blight, social injustice, environmental ruin, non-renewable energy depletion, terrorism, conspiracies, corruption, inequality, and educational bankruptcy.

Why bother living? Why not just follow lemmings off a cliff (quickly, before the cliff erodes away)?

It is easy to be bullied into the media frenzy and the melodrama of friends, media, family, and peers, but there is no reason to panic. We are in perhaps the most optimistic and hopeful time ever. The world is not falling apart. It is coming together like never before.

No one knows how everything will play out in the future (and I suppose that can be scary) but consider this:

  • We are close to solving War. Up until the last half-century, war was horrendous. Both soldiers and civilians were killed in brutal ways, without precision or empathy. War is still horrible (and unfortunately still exists), but we live in the most peaceful time in human history. War is more humanitarian than ever. Much of it is fought with technology, aid is offered during and after conflicts, and casualties are limited as much as possible. There is not the pervasive and permeating fear of a Red State taking over like there was in the eighties, or the fear of a nuclear World War Three (which was a common thread into the nineties). Despite terrorism and religious zealousy, we are closer than ever to solving the problem of war, with peace accords, trade, and social movements.
  • We are close to solving hunger. With biochemistry, genetic modification, and 3-D printing, we might soon be able to create food at will, anywhere, anytime. Star Trek much? (note: I know the title of the post is from Star Wars–it seemed more appropriate…don’t nerd rage me, please.)
  • We are close to solving aging. The human genome has been mapped. As science brings us closer to understanding how human DNA works and technology provides novel ways to “back-up” the human brain, we may, within a generation, launch life expectancy to at least 200 years. As cloning technology becomes cheaper and more efficient, life expectancy could launch to 800 years or more. Imagine a body that can perform as well at age 500 as it could at age 25! If you accidentally walked in front of a bus on your 600th birthday, your consciousness could be downloaded from the last time it was backed up a few minutes earlier, and placed into a new body. You could pick up where you left off!
  • We are close to solving the burden of transportation. Driving is an amazing tool but as population increases and more cars congest the roads, driving is a burden for many of us. It is dangerous, troublesome, and inefficient. That will change soon with driverless cars. You can meditate or nap on your way to work, never worry about drunk drivers, and spend your driving time writing that novel you always wanted to write.
  • We are close to solving interplanetary travel. Private space flight is on the edge of being real and accessible to the masses. Citizen excitement for space flight will fuel a new space race, opening up funding for the most important goal humanity has (if you ask me): colonizing another planet and doubling our chance for long-term survival. Even if one planet is destroyed by nuclear war or a random asteroid, the other planet will carry on the human race, proliferating and finding new life to partner with as we journey further into the cosmos.
  • We are close to solving resources. Solar power is real today and every year there are huge advances in the ways and methods with which we can escape or enhance the infrastructure of oil. Battery technology continues improving and nanotechnology is showing promise to help us do more with less power. Not to mention exotic new materials like nano-carbon and resistive memory chips.

 

There are so many promising things on the horizon, I could go on for many more paragraphs but you have the idea. There will always be people who are fearful of change or insist everything is “gloom and doom”… but you do not have to be one of them.

The world has never been cooler than it is now. Some of the scenarios I mentioned will work. Some might never come to fruition. Some will happen sooner than others. Most will probably look different from we imagine. Today, though, is great because today… they all can happen. The groundwork has been laid and they all have the potential of existing, along with so much more.

The next time you are scrolling through FaceBook or Twitter and clicking every HuffPo piece of disaster-porn click-bait, think about this:

Choose the world you wish to live in: “Woe is me…” or “Whoa–that’s me!”

As always, choose wisely.