We’re not alone in all this

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Photo credit: the author

Have I the courage to change? Have I the courage to change today?

What will it take? is the question I wake up to, every single day.

Things that didn’t use to be a big deal have transmogrified into serious challenges: getting out of bed at a decent hour, wearing something other than a rotating set of the same items, restocking the refrigerator, scheduling a teeth cleaning, …you know.

Even when I make it out of the house, every time I turn off the engine and collect my car keys, before I open the door to step outside, as I reach for my mask I think, is this really the era we’re living through?

And those are the nice ones.

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Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

How, in the middle of a pandemic, can singles safely meet other singles?

When our options are largely limited to the virtual, how in heaven’s name can we meet authentic, kind, trustworthy humans?

We’ve heard it before: that online dating apps allow — even enable––false personas. Photos can be outdated or outright fake, the personal details fudged, the profiles aspirational instead of reality-based.

Yet we humans are hopelessly optimistic. (Or simply very, very lonely?) So we pay the $19.99 or the $23.99 membership fee [or whatever it costs] to run yet another risky experiment with our hearts and minds. …

We all have the power: including those sheltering-in-place alone.

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

“Generosity is a sign of intelligence, and givers are the rising tide that lifts all boats.” — Adam Bent

These months are hard — and by many accounts, they’re getting harder. The initial energy bursts we experienced weeks ago are gradually depleted as the shelter-in-place continues, the economic fall-out widens, and the physical and psychological tolls deepen.

What if we were able to turn things around, and create more energy, both for ourselves and others?

The New York Times carried an article in their Smarter Living section on how givers are smarter than takers, because givers don’t allow themselves to become stuck in negative zero-sum thinking.

Zero-sum thinking is based on the theory that for someone to gain, someone else has to lose. Another way to describe it is “scarcity thinking” — that resources are finite, and there are too many people competing for increasingly smaller slices of the pie. …

Disadvantaged communities are impacted first and worst

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Photo by sasikumar j on Unsplash

Before the virus entered our lives, the climate crisis already threatened millions of lives.

Now, because of the virus, it threatens millions more.

Emily Atkin

Despite the common misperception that climate change is a yet-to-be manifested future reality, we are all experiencing it. Now.

Climate changes impacts are felt by anyone inhaling the smoke of uncontrolled, atypical wildfires in the Arctic, Australia, Russia, Spain, or the Western United States; by anyone hungering for crab over the Winter holidays (the Dungeness crabbing seasons were postponed due to heightened levels of domoic acid, a marine toxin linked to algal blooms produced by warming oceans); and by anyone with increasingly expensive air-conditioning bills as average summer temperatures exceed former 100-year records. …

How I went from zero to twenty through sheer determination

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A selection of literary magazines and anthologies that have printed my essays,

When I first began searching for places to place my creative non-fiction essays I was a few degrees from clueless. As part of a group of emergent writers — all professionals, poets and teachers, readers and writers — none of us were MFA-trained, so we didn’t have the academic expertise or networks gained through those programs.

We aspired to seeing our work in print, but other than basic familiarity with some of the “biggies” (Granta, The Sun, Tin House, Paris Review) we didn’t know where to start. Our local library didn’t carry many (any?) …

Stories from the battle lines

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Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. We saw a need that needed to be filled, and we stepped in to help. — Benet Wilson

Love through actions.

Doug Lammers, café owner in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is offering meals to needy kids. “We are just a little bitty café in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We aren’t going to solve this whole pandemic, but we are going to do what we can. …

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Source: L. Buchanan, K.K. Rebecca Lai and A. McCann, “U.S. Lages in Coronavirus Testing After Slow Response to Outbreak.” The New York Times, March 17, 2020

Question: What happens when we wait to test until disease symptoms are extreme; when we ration tests, awaiting future cases instead of proactively testing potential carriers now?

Answer: We exacerbate an already uncontrollable pandemic.

Today I presented with a subset of coronavirus symptoms: headache, fatigue, nausea, runny nose. Given that I had Influenza-A a month ago, and a persistent, dry cough that wouldn’t leave, along with the fact that my work keeps me on the road (the opposite of “sheltering-in-place”), I thought it would be prudent to get myself tested.


#1 — I’m a scientist. I’ve studied epidemiology and infectious disease models. I know what exponential growth curves entail. I firmly believe in preventative measures and “an overabundance of caution.” …

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Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

Every morning you open your eyes and take a deep breath, grateful to be alive.

If there’s a babe in the bed, you wake her/him/them with a kiss and a hot cup of coffee (or tea) before taking the time to prepare and share a good breakfast. Because you are one fine-looking zaddy, you groom that fine self before leaving. Another quick check to make sure you’ve cleaned up after yourself, one more deep squeeze of your babe, and you’re off.

You’re gentle and basically chill, so your commute to work is relaxed. …

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Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

Yes, there are Plenty of Fish in the Sea. But how to choose the right one?

As a public service to discerning singles everywhere, I submit this brief taxonomy of Fishy Dating Prospects, based on field observations and hard-won lessons.

1. The Fake Baiter

This is the match standing on the pier, eyeing you up and down, looking all jaunty and enticing — they’ve even set their cap at a rakish angle — but when you get close enough to peer into into the bait bucket they’re cheerfully swinging from one hand…it’s completely empty.

They can’t sustain a conversation. Or they only want a textlationship. They just want to have fun! They’re “ethically nonmonogamous”!

Or they decline a weekend invitation (after what they claimed was an amazing Friday night date) because…ready for it?….they’re too busy cleaning house. …

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Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

If we ask for what we want, what are the chances we’ll get it?

There are plenty of self-help books, videos, blogs, and podcasts addressing singledom, so I’ve decided to do the one thing I haven’t seen anywhere else: I’m running a statistically sound scientific experiment, based on a random sample of 1001+ men (the number grows daily) who express interest in me, over a period of one week on Tinder.

I’m trying something radical with this final foray into online dating. Instead of getting caught up in the rollercoaster of romantic [t]expectations, I’m applying scientific principles: filtering the choices using a set of constants (known as my Top Ten Turn-ons/Turn-offs), while behaving with as much scientific detachment as possible. …


Jeanine Pfeiffer

Ethnoecologist and #VanLife Coach exploring humanity, the natural world, and multispecies relationships. More at http://jeaninepfeiffer.com

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