OK, LET'S GET INTO IT
This piece on the ripple-effect of a long-running suicide prevention study is absolutely incredible. It shows how a psychologist who reached out to suicidal patients rather than shunning them changed their lives and recovery - and how the current system's way of responding to this problem is completely fucked and counterproductive. It's a long read but absolutely worth it - I cried and chuckled while reading it.
I also smiled and wept while reading this extraordinary story of how a toy monkey belonging to a boy who escaped the holocaust helped reunite his family 8 decades later.
In September I trekked through the European alps with a bunch of women who were in their mid 30s to their mid 60s. I grew up on top of tablelands in central Queensland with red dirt, hot summers and few hills and only saw snow (from a distance) for the first time last year. I was fascinated by the green-tinged rocks and seemingly eternal glaciers dotted with memorials to hiking guides and hikers who never made it home. It was stunning, but I felt gloomy about the fact that my plane flight across the world to see these glaciers was directly contributing to them melting. This story about an elderly Swiss woman who was finally able to hold a funeral for her long-dead parents after their bodies were found in a melting glacier is lovely and sad for exactly that reason.
Most of the people in my hiking group had survived breast cancer and the gruelling treatment that goes alone with it. As we slogged up and down the hills, it became really clear to me that those who had exercised regularly prior to cancer had a better time bouncing back from that treatment and the effects of ageing generally. So, when I got home, I joined back up to my old strength and conditioning gym and started lifting again. I am 154cm tall and way too busty for my frame, so my routines have to be modified. This article from a personal trainer on how people who have bigger bodies (or bodies that are not thin and masculine) struggle with traditional form and expectations was an eye opener - as was this one on personal trainers whose bodies exist outside the gym bunny norm.
As a culture, we seem to have trouble talking in a healthy way about failure. We either turn to "struggle porn" (which I hate for all the reasons outlined in this article) or glorify persisting at all costs. I appreciated this article on an American football player who retired from his consistently shitty team at half-time rather than continuing the game and have been listening to Gimlet's new podcast Without Fail which interviews successful people about their biggest failures. I still don't have any pearls of wisdom about failure as a result of this, but I do think that reframing it as a universal human experience would do a lot of people a lot of good.