The wind storm that closed out this week in dramatic fashion reminded me… I need balance in my life. The storm kept me up half the night with the intense sound of a freight train rumbling over my head, and capped itself by knocking out power for eight hours straight, before making it (AND THE INTERNET!) flicker for another ten. This (WIND!), I confess, is my atavistic fear. I don’t know if it’s a hold-over from having seen The Wizard of Oz as a little girl, and then spent summers in Minnesota and Michigan, where my grandmothers both warned me about tornadoes. I do know that when the wind blows hard, my first thought is, “it’s gonna KILL me.”
It was good to remind myself of some of my de-stressing tricks.
And it was interesting that this week the theme for my reading was about depression and mental health. First was a Vox article making a strong call for new ways of treating depression. The research that author cites points to social connections being as vital to treatment as any other element. That without recognizing the life context and the need for specific sets of elements of security (from hunger, from pain, from uncertainty), even the strongest medications are likely to fail. Then my cousin shared an alarming article about an increase in teen mental distress. I next stumbled across an article about how linguistics researchers were able to parse language use to show how people with depression use different words and sentence constructions. The odd capper to all of these, though, was an article about Italian researchers who were able to test for and quantify the impact of luck on a person’s likelihood to succeed in life.
Taken together with all the previous research, the concluding paragraph of the final article was a sucker punch to those who act as if hoarding money or power is helpful in any way to the world they live in:
As the researchers point out, since rewards and resources are usually given to those who are already highly rewarded, this often causes a lack of opportunities for those who are most talented (i.e., have the greatest potential to actually benefit from the resources), and it doesn’t take into account the important role of luck, which can emerge spontaneously throughout the creative process. The researchers argue that the following factors are all important in giving people more chances of success: a stimulating environment rich in opportunities, a good education, intensive training, and an efficient strategy for the distribution of funds and resources. They argue that at the macro-level of analysis, any policy that can influence these factors will result in greater collective progress and innovation for society (not to mention immense self-actualization of any particular individual).
And it closes the circle with studies from the first article that showed a universal basic income reduced the incidences of people seeking out hospitalization or doctor visits because of mental distress.
So this was the week I took it upon myself to check on friends who have been hurting… and to take another reading break. This time I enjoyed Jen Foehner-Wells’ book 2 in her Confluence series, Remanence. I’ve read the books in this series all out of order, but they stand up to my disarray. The concept of a being who faces evidence that rather than having been a partner, he was a slave, and how that knowledge transforms him is one core component of this epic space opera, and really added emotional heft to that installment. I’d highly recommend the series to anyone looking for escapist sci-fi with some meaty teeth to it.
Apart from all that, the weather constrained us this week with regard to walking. The doggies were not happy, and my phone says I averaged 2,841 steps over the past week. My sleep average was up a few minutes, to 6 hours 21 minutes, so awareness does lead to action in some cases.
I also managed three nights of editing. Twenty-one hard-fought pages. And my lovely editor, Liana Brooks, is forcing me to UNPACK all the things. Each time I edit, my goalpost shift further right, because I add more pages to describe things she points out as missing. At least my progress bar puts me at 32% complete now. There might be an end in sight.
It will be a miracle if I finish before the end of this Round, though. So I’ll close for now, aim for even more sleep, and point you at my fellow ROW80ers as we chug along to our finish line.