Unable to catch my breath, I laid with my back on the wood planks of our attic floor. I remember Elton John’s “Your Song” echoed in the background. Air slowly came back to my lungs. It felt like hours before I could breathe deeply again.
It was June 2005 and I was about to embark on two major life changes. I was starting a new job and, more importantly, our first baby was due at any moment.
I chalked up the episode to a panic attack. Stress was never a big deal for me, but it seemed the only logical explanation.
I later found out I nearly died on that floor. With two 100 percent blockages, a few smaller blockages, massive cholesterol problems and skyrocketing blood pressure, I probably should have died. The heart surgeon said as much as he chiseled through one clog to place a stent, noting that the other blockage healed itself with collateral arteries.
I now take a complex cocktail of heart medications each day to keep death at bay.
Read more at https://www.vindy.com/life/lifestyles/2020/12/spotify-playlists-are-letters-to-my-children/ (may encounter paywall).
A cacophony of voices fills my home during most workdays. The sound is best described as a busy airline terminal where everyone is speaking at the same time, their voices muffled with an all-too-familiar technological tinniness.
My 8-year-old is in a Google Classroom session. The 10-year-old is on FaceTime. The 13-year-old is on Zoom. I’m lucky when my oldest daughter and my wife find headphones for their video calls.
I feel like I’m conducting a video conference choir.
If you know this sound, you’re probably know it best from the endless Zoom meetings we’ve attended since the start of the pandemic.
It’s not as though these are the first video conferences we’ve attended. But when the entire day is filled with Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting, the ringing in our ears can only be attributed to video conference overload.
Read more at https://www.vindy.com/life/lifestyles/2020/12/learn-how-to-manage-fatigue-from-zoom/ (may encounter paywall).
2020 will forever be known as a year of change.
Whether or not the term “change” will be put in proper context by historians long after we’re gone, we’ll never know. So it’s up to us to add our own hot takes on this topsy-turvy time in hopes that they’ll properly cite our reflections later.
So as we hesitantly roll to Jan. 1, as we reflect on the dumpster fire of the last 10 months, do we see the glass as half full? Or is it half empty? Or can we just dump out the whole glass and forget this ever happened?
Of course, the answer is no. Our history is our shared history, and it’s full of an eclectic collection of perspectives.
As painful as they sometimes are, we celebrate some changes, honor others, but relive them together.
These days, we’re reliving them on social media.
We’ll remember some good changes and some bad. We’ll talk with friends later in later years about how bad life was, but because of changes brought on by 2020, how better life is today.
When something undoubtedly bad happens in the future, we’ll go to social media and post, “Yeah, but this isn’t nearly as bad as 2020.”
Read more at https://www.vindy.com/life/lifestyles/2020/12/time-to-reflect-on-the-dumpster-fire-of-2020/ (may encounter paywall).
This column first appeared in The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers on December 6, 2020:
...Creators of these modern-day telethons have learned a lot from Jerry Lewis and past MDA Telethons. I had the opportunity to see one play out online last week, with the bevy of YouTube stars and gamers who gathered to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Just as my sister and I anticipated the MDA Telethon, my children had the date for this particular “telethon” circled on a calendar that hangs from our refrigerator door. Of course, I had no idea what it was, but if it was important enough to add to the family calendar, I thought “opportunity to engage in a conversation with my kids.”
It featured the co-founder couple of the popular YouTube channel “Game Theory,” Matthew “MatPat” Patrick and Stephanie Patrick. Like Lewis did over four decades of the MDA Telethon, the Patricks served as co-hosts for the 10-hour marathon, sharing stories and encouraging their audience to give.
Read the rest of this column at https://www.vindy.com/life/lifestyles/2020/12/giving-takes-a-new-form-but-still-exciting/ (may encounter paywall).
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is special assistant to the provost and professor of communication in the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA where he also directs the graduate program in professional communication. He researches and writes on a variety of topics including communication technologies, relationships, and sports (with an emphasis on fandom). His work has appeared in Mahoning Matters as well as The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers.