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In recent months, everyone has faced challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No one has been spared.

Healthcare workers have shouldered more responsibilities than most “regular joes” face in a lifetime. For many of us, our professional careers have leached over into our personal lives. As a result, we are dealing with pandemic-related issues stacked onto the normal stressors of our day-to-day lives.

I have suffered from anxiety for nearly 20 years. The attacks on 9/11 triggered the first panic attack I can remember, and I began a low dose anxiety prescription soon afterward.

In my 20s, a leadership coach…

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Stuff is weird right now. Here are seven tips to help you get through.

COVID-19 has wrought havoc on the societal norms we’ve taken for granted for so many years. The year 2020 will be remembered for its disruption of — well — everything. Not one industry, workplace, gathering, or group of people has remained untouched.

As a person with clinical anxiety and depression, keeping my own spirits afloat has been no easy task. Initially, I was overcome with fear, sadness, and the ever-present quandary: “What will the new normal be?” It was pure hell for at least three months.

I tell everyone about this podcast. And I also tell them that Donald Faison and Zach Braff are my heroes.

I was never a huge fan of Scrubs. Still, I caught the occasional episode, and I was delighted by the JD/Turk “bromance.” Their friendship and banter (scripted or improv) always made me smile. Zach and Donald were the perfect actors to play these roles. I remember thinking, Real men should be like these guys… not afraid to love each other. And the show had great music. But before I could really get hooked, it was off the air.

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I didn’t know him well, not really. I’d run into him from time to time at our LGBTQ committee meetings. He was kind of effeminate, and I figured he was gay. We worked together at a hospital — I wrote grant applications and he fixed things. “Gotta go save the world,” he’d say after our meetings concluded, having received numerous pages about a leaky toilet or a broken door handle.

Earlier this year, he made an appointment with me to talk about our LGBTQ committee work, or so his email said. We were both active participants on this committee, but…

Truth be told — it’s a work in progress, but I finally discovered a system that works: my bullet journal.

Behold the beauty of a functional weekly spread

How Bullet Journaling Entered My Life:

Late last year, my friend Sue decided that she was going to take up bullet journaling (“bujo” for short) to get organized in the new year. She asked me if I had heard of bujo, and I said I had, but I hadn’t considered it as a hobby because, well, I’m learning to watercolor, I have two kids, two parrots, and Mr. Fussypants, my OCD significant other. And I already feel out of control…

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Okay, but first, let me tell you: I like ALL kinds of books.

In fact, I have a book review blog — The Ardent Reader — which I have kept for nearly a decade, through marriage, divorce, kids, new beginnings, changing jobs, life, and love. I review fiction and nonfiction books on my blog.

But that wasn’t always the case. In fact, a long time ago, I stuck to fiction almost exclusively. This choice wasn’t intentional — I just didn’t know what I was missing.

Slowly, I intentionally began to broaden my scope and slide into some of the areas…

That’s me — all the way to the left — with some of my Biotopics class members and Mr. Macqueen in the middle. (We held his cow for ransom at some point, and wrote crazy letters to him every day it was MIA.)

When I was sixteen years old, I was one of about ten students that chose to take a class called Biotopics at my conservative Christian high school in Pennsylvania.

By that time, I had completed one year of earth science and a standard biology class. Earth science was okay, but there was a lot of chemistry involved, and I just didn’t have any chemistry with chemistry. (See what I did there?)

Despite rumors of inordinate numbers of quizzes, tests, and memorization, I still thought I’d be better off dissecting a cat than doing… well… whatever it is they do in…

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I’ll be forty years old in June. I can hardly believe it. I’m not a super smart person, but I have learned a few things in the four decades that I’ve been lucky enough to be on this big blue ball hurtling through space.

In no specific order, here are the 40 things I know are true about myself, people, life, work, and relationships.

  1. If you have kids, pets, or a combination of both, a carpet shampooer is a sound investment.
  2. If you don’t have time to clip coupons, comparing the unit prices on groceries is the best way to…

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I’m one of those people you see walking around the hospital in normal work clothes instead of scrubs. If you saw me, you might be curious about what I actually do. I know I would.

Well, I work for a number of nonprofit hospitals as a full time grant writer and development associate, which means I help raise charitable funds. I research and apply for grants to support healthcare initiatives at our hospitals and clinics, and I do donor database work, too. My team and I work behind the scenes raising money for programs that impact our patients every day…

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I’m on the cusp of the GenX/Millennial generations, born in 1979, so I share some of the hallmarks of both generations.

I know how to work hard, but I don’t necessarily think I should need to work hard if there are smarter ways to work.

I believe that the government should not interfere with certain freedoms, but I also think the government should provide for its people — especially those less fortunate than ourselves. …

Esther Hofknecht Curtis

Book nerd and freelance writer finding gold in ordinary places. Email me at Visit

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