To Be Or Not To Be

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The verb “be” is simple and yet hard to do.  Be yourself, be the best, be brave, etc., we are tempted constantly by our surroundings. Simply “be” is sometime the hardest act to follow. This is where I give Mr. Trump the credit for being himself.  Whether I like him or not is besides the point.

The temperature was 84 degree (Fahrenheit) when I checked before heading out for my run.  “That is hot” I said to myself.  I sensed a tinge of hesitation in that voice.  And “the perceived effort will be challenging,” the voice persisted.  “Well, I will just have to take it easy, one step at a time” was my ultimate reply.

I am glad for my decision (and usually the case after most my runs). It turned out the sky was blissfully cloud-covered with a breeze that made the temperature more bearable.  When I chanced upon shades along my route, they made my run nicer and my perceived effort not as bad.

Self talked lately?

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Old Age Is Not A Disease

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I am first to admit that my memory isn’t what it used to be.  Names of people, places, or things escape my short term memory more readily now-a-day.  I ended up resorting to writing information down to remind myself. 

Getting old is a fact of life. It happens to all of us, everyday. There is no shame in it, except if you are in America.  Because our society has a tendency to view old age as a disease or a problem that needs to be “fixed” or kept hidden.

The stigma has to do more with age-related diseases such as senile/ Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and the likes, rather than the old-age itself. Nevertheless, people don’t bother to distinguish the two and rather not deal with them.

But as the baby-boomers graying, plenty of them are living healthy sans age-related diseases. Equating old age to a disease exacerbates the stereotype and misleads the public.  For getting old is a natural process, it does not need a cure.

Do what others say or do make you feel old or don’t belong?

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Week In Review – 26 Jul 2020

For the past four months or so, my time have been spent mostly at home indoor for social distancing because of the coronavirus.  As much an introvert as I am, not difficult for me to understand why some folks are experiencing the COVID-19 fatigue.

Yes, as human being, we need social interaction.  Unfortunately that is how the coronavirus  gets transmitted.  So social media have become the alternate means to satisfy the needs. Be it Netflix, Zoom, Facebook or other venues of choice, life goes on.

How much can these virtual relationships satisfy our needs for interaction? I don’t know the answer.  But viscerally, I feel they are useful in staving off isolation or depression.  Not a perfect fix but . . .

On certain days, the world feels dark, chaotic, and hopeless.  Especially when normal balance is off center and future seems clear as mud, that’s when I come to appreciating the little things manifested in day-to-day human interaction.

By the way, if you are seeking reliefs from the stress and having the means, remember money can buy happiness.  Why not give it try?

Stay safe & have a nice week.

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Money Buys Happiness?

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Don’t believe what others said about “money can’t buy happiness.”  It sure can, if you use the money well.  Want to know how? Read on.

In her article titled “how to spend money to squeeze more joy out of life,” writer Laura Entis explains that money in and of itself does not guarantee happiness. But by spending it strategically, one can use the money effectively to “buy” happiness.  Here are some ways to do it:

Buy Time

We all have tasks that do not tickle our fancy or are downright unpleasant.  These tasks are ideal candidates for outsourcing.  I have seasonal allergies to grass and tree pollen. When cutting grass, I used to wear mask (before the COVID-19) for this unpleasant task every two weeks.

Now, I hire a landscape contractor for the task.  Not only this frees me up from the unpleasant chore, my lawn looks better manicured by the professional and equipment.  And I get to spend my time on other more enjoyable things.

Buy Experience

Like many regular Do-It-Yourself persons, I like to take care of my home or cars myself.  Besides the unpleasant tasks mentioned above, I do run into problems where I simply lack the knowledge on the how-to’s.

Yes, Youtube has been a great source. But it does not cover everything.  And I readily admit certain tasks are beyond my experience.  Case in point being the mouses in my attic.  I had no clue as how they got in and what to use to get rid of them safely before they invade my food pantry.

So I hired a rodent specialist and followed him around.  Learned about the critters’ points of entry, where to place traps, and best of all, a guaranty to rid of them. So I can sleep soundly at night.   A good investment in the long run.

Buy Good Will

The community we in always needs charitable donations to guard against financial insecurity or lack of basic necessities, such as food and shelter.  In situations like the COVID-19 pandemic, many less fortunate fall on hard time. And the needs more acute.

Money donated to charitable causes is an efficient way to strengthen social safety nets, ameliorate negative effects, and serve as critical gap fillers.  A win-win that will foster fulfilling experience, relationship, and a sense of community.

What other ways can you buy happiness with money?

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Clear As Mud?

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Wouldn’t it be nice when every question has an answer?

And in life everything does have an answer. It just that some takes me a while to figure out. In those unfortunate situations which I called them “clear as mud,” the worst of me could happen: frustration sets in, wallow in my misery, and give up.

After banging my head on the wall enough times, I learned to recognize the futility of my ineffective action in those “clear as mud” situations.  A better outcome for me is to create a clarity for myself.  I called this creation through intention.  Here is how it works.

When the situation is uncertain with no clear outcome, I set my intention to achieve XYZ.  This approach may not be as eloquent as the visionary who begins with a clear end in mind.  But given I don’t have the vision, the XYZ will have to do.  It is better than nothing or frustration.

The intended XYZ serves as a guidepost for my efforts during the time being.  Often, after priming the pump, my creativity juice starts to flow.  And the ultimate solution comes to mind at the end.

Don’t get me wrong it is wonderful if the clarity happens right away.  I have no problem in that scenario. I can handle it when things just flow. Viola. Life is good. Only when the clear-as-mud drops in, I provide my own clarity.

Have you had “fake until you make it” experience? How well did it work?

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COVID-19: US Update #3

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It has been almost two months since my last update. Bottom line upfront: we are not winning this battle against the Coronavirus, and the near term prospect does not look good.

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability) Act passed in March did what it was supposed to do: kept many American from sliding into poverty meanwhile bought time for the the country to get the outbreak under control by the summer.

While it is summer, and the COVID-19 is not under control.  Number of infections exceeded 4 million today with the State of California taking over New York’s record, and number of deaths nationwide exceeded 147 thousands [source].

And what worse is the borrowed time from the CARES Act is running out.  The extra $600 per week of unemployment insurance benefits for the 33 million workers is to expire at the end of the month, or in about a week.  And yet, a national plan on the the pandemic front is nowhere to be found.

As a result, the states are left to fend for themselves.  Some who re-opened their economy prematurely, namely Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas, are paying the price and seeing their COVID-19 numbers surge.  Looming large is also the issue of school re-opening in the Fall.

Unfortunately the failing in our response to the public health crisis has a domino effect on business, school, and other social safety nets. Given the track record of the US government thus far, I am afraid the worst is yet to come.

Apology for the pessimistic outlook.  But do you see any light at the end of the tunnel?

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Appreciating The Little Things

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“It’s the little things that count” as the saying goes. Whether it’s the cheerful tone in the voice, the extra bounce in the step, or other inconceivable efforts, they all add up to making a lasting impression.

Recently, after the shelter-in-place order for the coronavirus was relaxed, I called different offices searching for a new dentist. Unlike other business services, dental practices are  notorious in being selective about whom they take as patients.

And frankly, so am I as a consumer picking my dentist.  I have had lots of dental work done inside of my mouth over the years and am particularly keen in hanging on to any tooth I have for as long as I live. Finding a good dentist is part of that equation.

On the other end of the line came a voice.  Instead of “this is so and so office, could you hold please?” a cheerful voice greeted me.  The office person not only answered my inquiries succinctly but also offered helpful options regarding my insurance.

Right away, I decided to go with that office. What I experienced over the phone might had been standard procedures for the office, but I was impressed by the individual’s attention to details, personable approach, and helpfulness. All the little things that make big differences to me.

What “little things” do you appreciate? 



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Anarchy In America?

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Anarchy? Sure looks and sounds that way if you listen to Mr. Trump. Yes, protests of racial based policing have been spreading across the country. But on the other hand, freedom of speech and assembly are guaranteed rights protected by the US Constitution.

Why then would Mr. Trump feel compelled to send in federal law enforcement agents into Portland, Oregon to arrest the peaceful protesters?  This move is so buzzard, even the the Mayor of Portland objects the federal presence:

Their presence is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism and it’s not helping the situation at all. They’re not wanted here.  ~Ted Wheeler, Mayor

The anarchy if any seems to be in Mr. Trump’s head.  You see, time is running out for him.  With less than three months before the November presidential election, Trump is desperately trying to shift the blame from himself.

And anarchy is as good a boogieman as any to try to shift the public attention.  By the way, Portland is not the only target.  Mr. Trump has threatened to send his federal Calvary into other cities like Chicago and New York that are Democrat leaning.

Do you think there is anarchy in America or Mr. Trump getting desperate?

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Virtual Relationship

Here is the question: Can virtual relationship replace human connection?

Before jumping into a debate, let me be clear that the question poses a false comparison.  Because 1) you can’t touch a virtual relationship, 2) the comparison assumes falsely a zero sum approach, and 3) survival the fittest.  Allow me to elaborate.

Can’t touch it

Virtual relationship is product of technology.  Video chat, virtual reality, and online game, etc. did not exist thirty years ago. They are tools that enable human contacts, simulations that approximate human experience, but not replacements for human connection. That is why they are virtual – you can’t touch it.

Zero sum approach

Given that the virtual relationship is a product of technology, like all technology, it serves an intended purpose.  Like the typewriter, it can be replaced by newer technology. Pitting the virtual relationship to the human connection is backwards. Similar to artificial intelligence and the argument of AI will replace human brain. Not even close.

Survival the fittest

Putting it bluntly: all human motivations including our relationship are geared toward survival.  Technology has helped us in that regard by leaps and bounds. But to attribute the virtual relationship to our survival is naive and greatly miss the mark.  Hence, I say no virtual relationship can substitute for human connection in the real world.

What’s your take on the virtual relationship?

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Week In Review – 19 Jul 2020

In the height of Sumer, the COVID -19 pandemic is on a vengeance and shows no sign of abatement.  If there are still non-believers who think the outbreak is a hoax, they must live on another planet.

The heat plus the virus, a combination that people falsely thought would not co-exist, are the reality we are facing.  A new “normal” if you will. Meanwhile, the White House is training its crosshair on Dr. Fauci in an attempt to shifting the blame.

But with less than three months before the November Presidential election, it is undeniable that Mr. Trump has failed miserably, among other things, at addressing this public health crisis.

Not sure if anyone would handle the outbreak better.  But one thing is certain: we can get through this trying time by keeping our sense of humor, maintaining our love for this planet, and exercising our  self control.

Stay safe & have a nice week.

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