Have you heard the theory that COVID-19 was cooked up in a lab by Democrats who were so upset they couldn’t get rid of Trump through impeachment — that they decided to poison the world and kill off 200,000 of us just to influence the coming U.S. election?
This was just explained to me as fact by a friend of mine. He also told me other “facts” — some of which the NY Times reports are disinformation being spread by Russian trolls to undermine America.
I’m just stunned as I write this. It’s a Friday, and Monday will be my official retirement date. This is not a surprise — I gave my notice (as academics do) almost 11 months ago. But I just opened my calendar to the coming month and what did I see?
It turns out that deciding to retire from a job is a very different thing from actually doing it. No matter that you know it’s time to move on. No matter that you’re ready for something new. Those last couple of months before you’re gone carry a number of shocks.
As a university professor, I expect to miss the interactions with colleagues. I know I’ll miss getting to know and advise each new group of students. What I didn’t expect were the assumptions my ego made about influencing the future — until this last month exposed them to me. Continue reading “Letting Go of Your Job”→
We’re all human, which means we can’t expect perfection. But… who decides what is a “dental emergency” and what isn’t? And how can I appeal those decisions?
Those of us who teach at Pennsylvania universities have been practicing social distancing for almost 6 weeks now. For myself, that means I order & pay for my groceries online once every couple of weeks, then park outside the store while someone puts the bags into my open trunk. My daily trips to the post office are now once a week — complete with gloves and mask. My one big risk is going through a Starbucks or Panera drive-thru once or twice a week when I’m desperate for something I haven’t had to cook myself.
I’m one of the lucky ones who still has a job, in my case teaching marketing to college students — now entirely online. But we’re going into the second month of staying at home way too much for my sanity.
Probably like you, I’ve spent too much time thinking, worrying & obsessing about health, politics and world peace. To get away from the angst, I’ve lately been reduced to re-reading the thousands-of-pages-long Diana Gabaldon Outlander books. Which I love, don’t get me wrong. But how many times can one re-read these books without feeling you’re burning through your life?
If you’re a senior, you are much more likely to die if you get Coronavirus. According to Stat, analyzing the 72,314 Chinese who first contracted the disease, the fatality rates by age are:
2.3% — average of all confirmed cases
0.2% ages 10-39
0.4% ages 40-49
1.3% ages 50-59
14.8% ages 80+
So… given the risks, many seniors are self-isolating, myself included. Fortunately I’m able, as our university has cancelled Face-to-Face instruction for this month. Likely it will remain in effect the rest of this school semester.
Recent studies by leading organizations are finding psilocybin mushrooms lower rates of psychological distress, help overcome alcoholism, and show lasting beneficial effects to ease anxiety in cancer and/or terminal patients. Who knew??
Three leading organizations — Johns Hopkins University, New York University, and Harvard Medical School have recently researched the effects of LSD to ease anxiety in cancer and/or terminal patients.
Some psychologists/psychiatrists are just beginning to discuss the idea of rational suicide. That a person forced to live an intolerable life — with absolutely no chance of improvement — might rationally wish to end it. Journal articles are being written, and there’s even an academic book – Rational Suicide in the Elderly — Clinical, Ethical, and Sociocultural Aspects published in 2017.
However… this idea is far from being accepted. In fact, just voicing to your physician that you might consider suicide in the future — even if you state you are not considering it now — could be enough to find yourself involuntarily committed to a mental ward. At the very least, you are likely to be referred for psychiatric evaluation. And once you’ve been evaluated, that will become a permanent part of your medical record — which could color how hospitals/physicians see future actions of yours. Continue reading “Rational Suicide vs. Forced Intolerable Life”→