Archive for January, 2018

We’re social creatures: We heal each other, but we start dying when alone

by David McElroy

When I came home from the hospital last Tuesday — after spending four days surrounded by the noise of people and beeping machines — all I wanted was to be left alone.

A couple of friends brought me home — she drove me and he drove the car I’d taken to the emergency room — and they were generous in their sincere efforts to do anything I needed done. They offered to go get food for me and take care of anything else I needed.

I appreciated all they wanted to do, but all I wanted was for them to leave. I wanted peace and quiet. I wanted to be alone.

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Who were you before someone told you who you were supposed to be?

by David McElroy

At some point in your young life, you were rewarded for being something — and the pleasure of that reward led you to end up believing that was who you really were.

But who were you before that? Who were you before parents and teachers and culture taught you to conform to what they wanted? Do you remember?

Those people rarely say, “This is what I want you to be.” They don’t even necessarily have bad intentions. But the people around you start shaping you into what they believe you ought to be. Sometimes they try to make you into little versions of themselves. Sometimes they’re acting out of fears from their own lives — trying to save you from something which damaged them.

But you were born knowing who you are. Do you remember who that is?

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Jalen Hurts’ team-first attitude is antidote to ESPNization of sports

by David McElroy

ESPN is both the best thing and the worst thing to ever happen to college sports.

The network showed a lot of absolute junk in its early days, but it also made people become accustomed to being able to see their college football and basketball teams more often. Although ABC and CBS had been the early leaders in college sports, ESPN pushed the boundaries and opened the floodgates. The rights money flowed freely to colleges and conferences.

Fans were happy. Wealthy major conferences and colleges were happy. Athletes were happy with the exposure. Coaches got paid more.

But ESPN was a relentless hype machine. In promoting its games, the push is all about the individual — the single achiever, the big star. And that has taken a lot of the enjoyment out of team sports for me.

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UPDATE: After surgery, maybe I’ll eventually start feeling a bit better

by David McElroy

I was apparently a lot sicker than I realized.

After discovering 12 days ago that I had gallstones, I spent a lot of time reading about possible treatments, but I slowly became convinced the emergency room doctor had been right. I needed surgery to remove my sickened gallbladder.

I was in enough discomfort — and eventually full-scale pain — that I didn’t work much last week. By Saturday morning, the worst pain of my life was back — and it was even worse this time.

I returned to the emergency room at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham Saturday morning. By that evening, I was admitted to the hospital with plans to get me go home late Sunday if surgery went well that morning. The official diagnosis was acute cholecystitis.

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New year is a great time to resolve
to cut toxic people out of your life

by David McElroy

Toxic people rarely have any idea how toxic they are. In fact, they mostly wonder — with feelings of hurt and outrage — why so many people they’ve loved have been so “unfair” to them.

These people don’t necessarily appear to be monsters. You might like many of them when you first meet them. But if you allow them to stay in your life, they’re going to drag you down — and the start of a new year is a great time to resolve to cut their poisonous influence completely.

As with other toxins, some toxic people are more deadly and dangerous than others. Some are obviously toxic from the beginning. Others present themselves as self-sacrificing saints, so they appear to be good people. Yet others will make you so dependent on them that you dare not upset them.

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Start over here

When this site launched in 2011, it was intended as a way to find others who were sick of partisan politics and wanted to connect with like-minded people who were ready to go beyond politics and find ways of escaping. It has shifted focus in ways that reflect my own shifting thinking. I’m less interested in politics and more interested in looking at the things that make life worth living, such as love, creation, self-understanding and connecting with others. Every article I have posted since 2011 is still in my archives, but everything I write is a reflection of my current thinking. Sometimes I’m wrong — and that’s fine with me — and I don’t always end up agreeing with what I wrote five years ago. For now, you can still read what I wrote about the site’s purpose in 2011, but I should rewrite this. Read more.

Contact David

David likes email, but can’t reply to every message. I get a surprisingly large number of requests for relationship advice — seriously — but I rarely have the time to respond. (Sorry.) Besides, with my own romantic track record, maybe my advice isn’t worth taking. I’d like to find a wife one of these days, so maybe I should add an “application.”

Watch this short film

What kind of "educational film" would the U.S. government release today to teach Americans how to be good citizens?
We're the Government — and You're Not
Official selection of 20 film festivals
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(Yeah, I was surprised, too)
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