Life Expectancy

The headline today:

US losing



Due to 


The average






Life expectancy

Has generally



Referring to



Of living.

The goal

Has been

To be







Some seek

To define





As long

As possible.

(Thus far,

We’ve counted

After birth.)

What to



You’re expecting?









Not yet 





The scale

Of Life


My unscientific 


Suggests that 

Most of us

Want to approach

 A century

 On earth

 Outside a womb

Feeling ok

Then passing


In our sleep.

I don’t expect

My life

To end

That way






Do we


Of life









As we

Are losing

All that


The Future

The future was open, busy, individual, 24/7. The future was scheduled, patterned, abundant, better. The future was crowded, but moving. The future was fresh and free, hectic and hopeful. 

The future was vacations, concerts, sports, movies, meetings, appointments, graduations, weddings, funerals. 

The future was predictable, mathematical, scientific, masterful. It was logical, creative, rich, and user-friendly. The future was applicable, identifiable, improvable, and personal.

The future was about each one, but really no one. It included fear and anger, histories of oppression and resentment, inequalities, and bigotries. But in the future, each person could be rich. Or on a path. Or connected. 

The future was bifurcated. The future was media driven. The future was about social influencers and fake news. The future was artificial intelligence and egos. The future was angry, manipulative, power-hungry, and lazy.

The future paid the least to people who teach kids and nurse the ailing; those whotake care of our youngest, oldest, and neediest; police and firefighters, EMTs—those who respond first; those who work diligently not for profit; and the artists who enrich our culture and inner lives. The future ignored those who pick our food; process our food; serve our food; deliver our food; allow us to buy our food and whatever stuff we want whenever we want. 

The future decided that guns are essential rights and that the market is the most essential. The future was a struggle for affordable healthcare that was too big to handle. The future forgot the basics, because everyone had a megaphone and a platform to distort.

The future was distorted, but was constant opportunity. The future was streaming what we wanted whenever we wanted, and we could ignore the junk. But there was an abundance of junk in the future. 

The future was an increasing environmental disaster resulting from climate change. The future was not a moment, a specific crisis, so we ignored what was not seemingly imminent. The future was more building, and much more stuff. 

The future was for each person to breathe and be anywhere. We didn’t think about separation in the future. Or distance. The future was possessive. The future was. 

Prepare For Good Luck

I always prepare for good luck. Now, we are all truly preparing for good luck. My fear, aside from loved ones becoming sick with COVID19, and an even more unmanageable situation in hospitals and throughout, is that we begin to fear one another even more than we did. I fear that the virus will be a brand, like HIV-AIDS was. Despite the more ubiquitousness of COVID19, people who are not (yet) sick, may have a false sense not only of security, but of ability.

I fear that people may begin to regard those who are sick and not in the most vulnerable demographics as being worthy of condemnation or suspicion, merely for becoming sick. I fear the original usage of social distancing. I fear our loss of compassion just as we were beginning to find some. 

There is much to fear at this moment, as so much is beyond our control. While attempting to stay informed, I confess that I protect my fragile psyche with not entertaining thoughts about the looming disaster while still doing whatever I can within reason to ensure comfort and endurance, at least for the next couple of weeks at a time. It’s all I can do. (That, and utter gratitude for all that I have.)

I have always felt incredibly lucky. That doesn’t mean that there has never been effort or challenge. Of course there has been plenty, like anyone else, and I know that pain and suffering—physical and mental–are debilitating. Too often I have been fearful, which is its own form of pain and suffering, and exacerbates all conditions. It distorts and diminishes possibility. It infects on top of infections. And when fear arises within me, I feel powerless.

I am not unafraid of the possibilities of bad luck in this time of COVID19, but I am not particularly afraid. That could change at any time, of course, but now I am mostly afraid of fear (thank you, FDR), and what suffering it causes. 

Much has already been acknowledged about how much has been laid bare as we are scrambling to prepare for good luck across the globe, but especially across the USA. The crisis will not be forever, but who knows how long temporary is? The dire prospects are most unsettling, even imagining the aftermath. As we have seen before, the possibility of compassion and responsibility redefining us as we meet this novel virus is upon us. There is also the possibility of being overwhelmed by fear and losing our greatest strength, our compassion.

We are social beings who can’t be social right now. Our social distancing is, ironically, a way to be social while attempting to mitigate exposure to the virus. As we are beginning to meet this challenge and be prepared, prepare to dig deep to mitigate fear. Be compassionate to yourself and others, and prepare for good luck. 

Sign of the Times

Today I noticed this sign on my morning walk. I had never noticed it before, and I walk the same route daily.

Rarely do we look for signs (other than street names telling us where we are). But 2017 started with some very ominous signs: A threat to gut the House Ethics Committee, which was then immediately reversed after a Trump tweet; Trump disregarding Intelligence (yes, I said that).He has brushed aside reports on Russian hacking and our election, and has been cozying up to Julian Assange, Dr. Evil of Wikileaks. Sure, it’s more of the same–only moreso .

The vitriol and lack of decency– much less, common decency– is standard.  Hey grownups: Forget Simon Sinek’s explanation of what’s wrong with Millenials. Adults seem to have lost their way (and many seem to have lost their minds). It’s the grownups who need more discipline and direction.

I can disagree and prefer a different path without being discourteous in public.  I can also share the path with those approaching from the opposite direction. But, I am also acutely aware of those who disregard decency (and Intelligence). I don’t believe that that path leads toward anything but a dead end.

Take heed of the signs. There is much positive work to be done. And please be courteous–share the path!




Change of Address

Complete. Progress. Calibrate.

Like any rite de passage, a graduation ceremony is a cultural construct that briefly freezes time –acknowledging an individual’s completion of the requirements for being a student and transitioning the student to a new status. The movement from one status to another is conferred in a diploma, but the process is addressed in the ritual commencement speech. The commencement address, whose banality is kept in check by the celebrity addressing the graduating class, is usually an appeal to the truths that we tend to discard until the next graduation. Still, they are usually the truths that are most necessary,and most necessary to bear in mind during the more mundane moments of life, not merely at  ritual celebrations.

Graduation/commencement…endings/beginnings….all in the same moment. Most students are thrilled to complete their grueling academic work and to be rightfully acknowledged for it. Commencing the often overwhelming march into adulthood without the supportive peer world of the college or university (or high school) can sometimes feel like a step backward. After mastering one environment and work, students must start over. (Hence, the commencement addresses that remind students of the excitement of beginnings and possibilities.)

While the noun (the) graduate has long been associated with Dustin Hoffman in 1967,

the verb (to) graduate really can inspire us as much as the possibilities implied by commencing. To graduate means to complete something. Completion is accomplishment, realization, fulfillment. We need not graduate from college to experience completion. When we complete we are whole. We may be constantly completing, but that is movement toward wholeness, which may be an ever expanding experience. Regularly completing in small and great ways, adds to our sense of fulfillment. We continue to graduate/complete throughout our lives.

To graduate means to progress. As we complete something we progress to the next something. It is optimistic and expansive, broadening and possibly deepening our opportunities and our lives. Sometimes the lousy jobs and difficult living experiences may also allow us to graduate to create a circumstance we may never have previously considered. All experiences may not be positive, but graduating is progressing. It is a forward motion and growth.

To graduate also means to calibrate. As we move toward completion, we measure, correct, adjust, and reset. We are always moving toward the next completion and always recalibrating. When we stop graduating and feel like we have already graduated, we get stuck in status-thinking. It is more like static thinking.  So, during this graduation season, whether you are finishing school or not, consider the verb to graduate–to complete, to progress, and to calibrate. Congrats, grads! Keep graduating!