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Dealing with the Hand We’ve Been Dealt

Dealing with the Hand We’ve Been Dealt 

Is it a cold, or Omicron in disguise?
Barbara’s Christmas surprise;
plus her proofreading challenges and
the benign brain tumor causing them.

January 26, 2022

Life is full of surprises. Here are three of mine.

Is it a Just a cold or Omicron in Disguise?

I haven’t had a cold in a long time, but I was surprised by the one that hit me on Christmas day. Besides the usual runny nose, my voice dropped an octave because I was so congested. I didn’t think much of this until concerned friends warned me this could turn into pneumonia. When I called my doctor, she insisted I get a Covid test to prove I hadn’t caught the omicron strain, which presents itself as a cold. Since I hadn’t been around anyone with Covid, I was told I could get a test at the medical building where I normally get blood tests. A simple Q-tip swish in my nose and it was over—and negative, as I knew it would be.

NEW! Shortly after doing this test, I learned the government is now offering four free Covid test kits to every home in the U.S. Get yours here.

Covid is worse now in my city than ever before, and it’s disconcerting to know that one more thing has changed to upset our lives. Never again can we be sure that what we have is “just a cold.” We’ll have to get tested to make sure we’re not spreading the omicron strain of Covid. I can only wonder how many other strains are coming.

The first of January, my local hospital reported it was treating its highest number of Covid patients since the start of the pandemic nearly two years ago, and that their findings reflected the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide. Of the 113 patients then being treated, 60 were not vaccinated, 33 were, and three only partially vaccinated. The good news was that over the previous four days, 72 patients who had been treated were discharged.

For more info, see this article on how Omicron affects “the Boosted, Vaxxed and Unvaccinated.”

Proofreading Challenges

As my long-time readers know, I have been known to sometimes publish a Bulletin with the wrong date, giving one the impression that I don’t know what day or month it is (a debatable topic). I was surprised to find I’d done it once again because I try so hard to be perfect.

How could I NOT have seen that I dated that first post of this year “December 10, 2022” instead of January, even after proofing the post several times? Perhaps because my head was still in the month of December and the year-end work I was doing when I wrote the draft after New Year’s day. Each time I proofed the post, I wasn’t looking at the heading but the main content, where I usually find the kind of errors that are caused by the meningioma in my brain.

I corrected the date on my website, but once a Bulletin is mailed, I can’t correct an error like this, so thanks to those who noticed it but were too kind to mention it to me. As for trying to write perfectly, I console myself with Vince Lombardi’s take on this topic: “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase it, we can catch excellence.”

FYI: About my Benign Brain Tumor

I do have a medical reason for my inability to always publish everything without errors. I learned I had a meningioma in 2010 when I took a hard fall on black ice and ended up at the hospital. The emergency room doctor said hitting the back of my head like I did had shaken my brain and I should never fall like that again or I might end up like a brain-damaged football player. I made it a rule then to never leave the house if conditions were icy.

This stat on the web might surprise you: “Meningioma accounts for 38% of primary brain tumors. An estimated 34,840 people will be diagnosed with meningioma this year.” Many, like me, never know they have one until it's accidentally discovered.

My fall and concussion changed my life by giving me serious balance issues that have required physical therapy three times so far. But the worst thing was how it affected my ability to type as accurately as I’d been doing prior to 2010. Suddenly I could no longer type a sentence without typos.

EX: When proofing, I’d see that “real” was “read.” “Learn” was “lean,” “plan” was “play,” “not” was “now.” Words needing a plural ending often ended up without the “ed” or “s,” and a missing letter in the middle of a word changed “things” to “"thngs.” I figure it now takes me four times as long to write, edit, and proofread anything for publication than it did before my brain concussion.  Add to this the lesson I learned when I was a good typist:

If you’ve written and typed all the words, you’ll find it nearly impossible to see all your errors because your mind knows what you meant to say, and when you read what you’ve written, your eyes will see only what your mind tells them to see.

Thus, everyone who writes will make typos, as explained in this fine article by Nick Stockton on why it’s so hard to catch your own typos. “We can become blind to details because our brain is operating on instinct,” he says. “By the time you proofread your own work, your brain already knows the destination.”

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Copyright © 2022 by Barbara Brabec.
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Create a New Future for Yourself this Year!

Create a New Future for Yourself this Year!

Want to change your life?
Consider “reinventing yourself” to
make a dream come true this year.
And don’t let your age stop you.

January 10, 2022 Brabec Bulletin

“The best way to know your future is to create it yourself,” someone once said. While it’s true that we have a lot of control over the direction our life’s journey will take, many things beyond our control will naturally impact our daily life and decisions.

I like this perspective from Dr. David Jeremiah, a favorite pastor and author. In a New Year’s message titled “Writing Your Story,” he said:

“Journeys have a beginning and an end, but we can’t always predict what comes in between. And that’s where our faith comes in. We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.”

Since each year opens another chapter in our life’s journey, I hope you still have unrealized dreams and goals that will spur you onward in the months ahead—in spite of all the disturbing things happening in the world around you. I believe our focus needs to be on things we can control, such as our attitude.

Thanks to how I was raised, I’ve always had a hopeful and optimistic attitude about life, which makes it easy for me to relate to Helen Keller’s philosophy:

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope.”

If you’re unhappy with your life, or perhaps simply older—or retired from your life’s work and feeling aimless—maybe it’s time to try something new and exciting to you. Perhaps my experience, documented in “How to Be a Fearless Dreamer and Reinvent Yourself at Any Age,” will give you some perspective on the benefits of being open to change.

Some people live one day at a time doing what they’ve always done—merely waiting to see what happens next—but I think most of us tend to make plans for specific things we want to do in each new God-given year. Living like this has always given me a reason to get up each morning with a positive attitude and hope for the future. And as all my writing indicates, my hope for the future is grounded in my faith.

Making God my CEO in 1994 was the smartest thing I ever did. As I’ve said in another article, “Found: A New Source of Strength,” given half a chance, God will help us achieve our special dreams and be all we can be in both our personal and professional lives. Our greatest strength may well lie in our brains and talent, but let’s never forget who gave them to us in the first place.”

"There are times in our lives when we have to realize that the past is precisely what it is, and we cannot change it. But we can change the story we tell ourselves about it. And by doing that, we can change the future." – Eleanor Brown, American novelist, anthologist, editor, teacher, and speaker

Goal Setting Tips

As I’ve done throughout my home-business life, I still follow the “Smart Tip” I gave in the first edition of my Homemade Money book:

“Put all your goals in written form since they will automatically become a plan. Keep them large enough to motivate you to go forward, yet small enough to be easily achieved.”

Sometimes the best goals are simply to finish things we weren’t able to complete the year before. One of my major goals this year is to finish writing Call of the Heart: A Rescue Dog’s Dream, which I began in 2019 and had to put on the back burner in 2020 in order to achieve my goal of building this new website.

Simplify, Simplify!

Another major goal revolves around my new word for the year, which is SIMPLIFY. I’ve started to look at everything in my personal and professional life that’s stealing my time and energy or causing me mental grief or concern. One by one, I’ll take steps to deal with each of these issues.

I feel even more bogged down than usual this year by all the “stuff” I no longer want and need to get rid of while I still have the physical energy and mental desire to tackle this job.  Feeling as though I’m drowning in paper, I’ve begun to look through the twelve drawers of my office filing cabinets in search of everything that’s no longer relevant to my life, my work on the web, and the books I plan to write and publish. The first big shopping bag of paper is in this week’s trash.

As Joshua Becker, author of four books on minimalism and intentional living, says, “The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.” He adds that “Time spent on minimalizing possessions is never wasted.”

So here’s to all of us spending some time this year on decluttering our life, reaching for new dreams, and reinventing ourselves to make our life all we want it to be.

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P.S. Thanks for linking others to this blog. New readers, click here to join my mailing list. 

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Copyright © 2022 by Barbara Brabec.
All Rights Reserved.