Love Is Hard. Hate Is Simple.

Hate can be a deeply stimulating emotion. The world becomes much easier to understand and much less terrifying if you divide everything and everyone into friends and enemies, we and they, good and evil. The easiest way to unite a group isn’t through love, because love is hard. It makes demands. Hate is simple. Fredrik Backman

Speaking from personal experience, teenage girls are mean.

We will never have friends or enemies like we did when we were 14. Thank heavens!

When you are 14 years old, friends are everything, elation and devastation.

At 14, we struggle to distance ourselves from our decidedly uncool parents. We deal with erratic ebbs and flows of emotion-altering hormones. Our brains try hard to catch up with our newly adult-looking bodies.

Acceptance into a group of friends helps to ameliorate the angst.

When I was 14, I ran around with a coterie of five classmates.

To say that there were shifting alliances within our group is an understatement. We were a regular ninth-grade soap opera.

For reasons still unknown to me, four of our group members decided one of the girls in our clique was beneath contempt.

They developed a phrase, “My braces hurt“, that was code for “Kim is a doofus“. (Several girls in the group wore orthodontia.)

Whenever Kim said something slightly goofy, the other girls would roll their eyes and smirk, “My braces hurt”.

I am proud to say I didn’t go along with the four mean girls in our group but ashamed that I didn’t do more to stand up to them, either. When they began complaining about their braces, my response was to say to Kim, “C’mon Kim, let’s go.”

My breaking point came one day when one of the girls told Kim, “I hate you.

Hate was too much. I distanced myself from the mean girls in the clique.

Hate is a confusing mixture of fear, rage, anger, resentment, and contempt.

One factor that hate needs to survive is a target. We can and do love indiscriminately. To be a really successful hater, we must direct our loathing at a specific something. Or someone.

Or someones.

Nothing is as reassuring as banding together to hate as a group. We give each other permission to feel the basest emotion directed at others. We are in; they are out.

We construct reasonable stories, excuses for our hate, then turn them into clever memes and share them on social media.

We ridicule the objects of our hate, demean them. It is almost as though they deserve to be the recipients of our scorn. It’s their fault, after all.

Our targets are perceived as less than. Less than respectable. Less than worthy. Less than human. Certainly less than us. Evil.

Here is the thing about hate, though: it’s corrosive. Just like acid, hate dissolves our souls and leaches away our better selves.

Hate harms both the hater and the hated.

We don’t welcome hate. We feel ashamed to be tagged with that emotion.

In one study, subjects were asked to describe an episode where they felt hate. Every subject, 100% of those surveyed, denied ever experiencing it. Almost no one admits to being a racist, for example.

But hate persists.

To reduce the level of hate in our world, someone must have the courage to go first. Someone with influence must be the first to denounce hate. All it takes is one strong person from the “in” group. Others will follow that lead.

Could you be that person?

It’s not easy making the first ripple. Most of us avoid making waves at all costs.

Speaking up against hate, supporting its victims, and creating appealing alternatives to hateful speech, symbols, and actions are good ways to begin.

If the opposite of love is indifference, the way to combat hate is through engagement.

It is up to each person. We must do this for ourselves.

We must all take a good, hard look at the darker corners of our psyche. Shine a flashlight. Search around. Root out the hidden hate in our lives. Don’t tolerate it on social media or in person.

The mean girls from my long-ago teenage years eventually came around. I don’t know why.

Maybe the chemical imbalance initiated by puberty abated. Maybe their fear of impending changes decreased. Maybe by distancing ourselves from the group, Kim and I removed the target of their hate.

Maybe they just grew up a little bit.

By the time we graduated, the six of us were thick as thieves once again.

I will never forget, though, at one reunion years after graduation when a middle-aged Kim asked me a question I was not prepared to answer.

What did ‘My braces hurt’ mean?” she asked.

The detritus of hate can last a lifetime.

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20

 

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150 comments

  1. Hate is easy, and humans are generally lazy. At least when it comes to the hard work of soul searching. Teenagers may come around, but I have found adults less willing to change. I am a seriously optimistic person, but I have known people that I’ve just had to walk away from. At least I reduced the audience/support group by one.

    This is a very good post. I wish everyone would read it, stop and think.

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  2. It is, sadly, too easy to hate, and difficult to love. No wonder Jesus gave us that commandment to love God AND one another. He knew that would only be possible if we loved God first – then, all would flow more naturally in our hearts.
    Blessings, Laurie!

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    • Hate does seem to be pervasive, especially in some social media circles. You are so right – both of the 2 commandments given to us by Jesus have to do with love. He knew we needed the reminders! Blessings to you in the New Year!

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  3. Laurie, this post is so full of wisdom and truth. Like you, I experienced many situations with hate (particularly in middle school). To love you must feel love. My pity for others has been more of an emotion than hate. I can say I hate certain things. And then I view the world and others, and it’s hate, on a lack of heart and understanding. The only love that can halt the hate is indeed what you mentioned~and it’s from God alone. Oh how I wish others could choose this love~FEEL this love~and the hate, through time and miracles ~can fade and/or dissipate~or that’s what I pray. I’m so glad Kim had you as a friend. I always stood up for the underdogs when I was young. My Father, who was also my school superintendent, called me to his office one day. He said, “I’m going to speak to you as your Father. You can’t save the world, Karla. So take it off your shoulders.” “Dad, I replied. I’m not trying to save the world, I’m trying to love it.”

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    • Thank you! Middle school years are so tough. Especially for girls. I used to teach middle school but transferred to the high school as soon as I got the chance. Emotions didn’t run quite as high at the high school. You are so right – the love that can stop the hate comes from God. All love here on earth is reflected Love. Good for you for trying to save the world. I think you are still that same loving person! 🙂

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  4. Wow, poor Kim. Their behavior left a lasting scar. Kudos to you for rising above. Where is the line between hate and disgust. I don’t identify any of my feelings as hate, but I’m clearly disgusted with the behavior of too many of our citizens. Hate/disgust is probably splitting hairs, the outcome–my inability to respect them–is the same.

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    • I don’t know if I really deserve kudos, Jeff. I think I could have done more to combat the meanness. I’m not sure what the difference is between hate and disgust, but I think there is an element of fear in hate that may be missing in disgust.

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  5. Amen. Poor Kim must have understood that she was singled out and still felt it all those years later if she asked you what it meant after all that time had passed. My favourite part of being a believer is that Jesus tells us to look within and understand that none of us are perfect. We are filled with imperfections We are sinners. He also tells us that we are forgiven and we are loved. And most importantly he tells us that we are to love others as he loves us.

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  6. What a great reminder of what Love means in all arenas. Hate was not a word my mom tolerated; especially if one of me or my sisters in a spat threw that word out there. She did teach that you can dislike but not hate, and I tried to follow that with my kids. However, no one is not guilty of feeling that at times or jealousy. God has reminded in so many ways that we are all human, have feelings, and I try to live by that. Social media has become the epitomy of meanness and hate, and that is so sad.

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    • My mom was the same way, Peabea. We were not allowed to say “hate”. You are so right about social media. There is so much hate there. I put out anti-hate messages from time to time. I don’t want it on my timeline.

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  7. That was a wonderful true story. You were a catalyst. Good for you!

    I was with a group of four in high school. We never fought or had arguments, maybe because there were so few of us. We didn’t make fun of other groups, either. Perhaps we lived in a kinder, gentler time.

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  8. Thank you for writing this, it was so eloquently put. The part that resonated the most with me was this: “Here is the thing about hate, though: it’s corrosive. Just like acid, hate dissolves our souls and leaches away our better selves.”
    I think this is a huge lesson that lots of us need to learn, and put to use in 2021. #LifeThisWeek

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  9. I’m finding ‘our’ need to blame, hate and be angry interesting. States are pitting themselves against each other and playing the blame game re Covid breakouts here. Numbers are still really low but I don’t understand why so many feel the need to put the blame for the transmission onto someone else. My state has been really lucky and no lockdown since early in 2020 but it could so easily be us.

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    • It is so sad that states are working against each other. I think we have gotten so used to us in the US that it doesn’t phase us anymore. We have become inured to hate in the last 4 years. Count your blessings that your numbers are low. Ours are skyrocketing!

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  10. It is one of the strongest words isn’t it. I remember at school many moons ago comforting a friend (like you did) whom was targeted & we were both surrounded & beaten physically, mentally & emotionally. Neither of us could work out why, we stayed strong & refused to be intimidated & couple of the girls did apologise years later, they had no idea why we were targeted. Haters sometimes have no idea why they hate. I only hate a response or a situation not the person, growing up in violence taught me that to hate is destructive on so many levels. Proverbs 12:18 the tongue is mightier than the sword, comes to mind. And as calming comfort I love Proverbs 25:11 A word softly spoken is like apples of gold in servings of silver.

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    • Oh, my goodness! You are brave and strong for sticking up for your friend under those terrible conditions. I think most of the mean girls in my group would have no idea why one of us was targeted either. Proverbs 25:11 has been one of my favorite verses too. So much wisdom!

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  11. There have been times when I’m ashamed to admit that while I didn’t join in (I’ve never really been either a member of a clique or a joiner) with hate, I didn’t actively step up to stop it. And those memories are ones that stay with me today – I’m sure they stay with the target as well. They probably have, however, been forgotten by the mean girls who did the hating. If only they knew the damage they cause. If only haters were sensible of the damage they cause.

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    • I was in the same place as you, Jo. I didn’t join in, but I didn’t do enough to fight hate either. I still see a lot of hate on social media sites. I try to stay away from them and speak out against hate when I have the opportunity.

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  12. I don’t miss the teenage years – so much angst and upheaval (but there was a lot of fun too). I guess it’s a reflection of life isn’t it – lots of awful stuff but also lots of joy. There’s a lot we can’t change, but my belief is that we focus on being positive, on sharing the good stuff and staying away from participating in the hateful stuff – online and IRL. That’s the best I can do for now. x

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    • Oh, I remember the angst of being a teenager too. I don’t miss that either. Or going through my kids’ teenage years either. Focusing on the good stuff is a good way to live your life.

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  13. I certainly remember how horrible it was to be 14! I was never in any of the cliques, I was a geek and an introvert. I went to the school reunion when I was in my late 40s and the cliques were still there! Hate is a very strong word, but the absence of love is just as harmful. A very interesting read

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    • Thank you, Michele. I love reading your comments. They are always so positive! I am not (nor was I ever) a boxer. I love the analogy of using a punching bag, though!

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  14. So much food for thought here, Laurie. Yes, I agree it’s so easy to pick on someone when you’re in a group. We don’t realize the affects of even harmless teasing, much more such focused hate!
    At 14 you showed you had the courage to stand up and stand out – and your writing continues to display that.
    I’m so glad that I ‘found you’ in 2020. May the year ahead be a blessing to you even as you bring light to so many through your words.

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    • I think you are right Corinne – we just never know how our words and actions will affect another person. I wish I had more courage at 14 to stand up to the bullies. I just got my friend out of their way. Blessings to you in the new year too! Thank you!

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  15. Hate hurts my soul. It really makes me sick. When I have darker feelings I try really hard to deal with it and make it go away. There is so much hate flying around these days on the internet it almost makes my head explode. Great post my friend. #MMBC

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    • I try to avoid Facebook these days. It is filled with hate. I am on Twitter, but I follow only runners. No politics! That removes a lot of the hate. Thank you, Carol!

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    • One of the beneficial things about Kim and I leaving the group was that I expanded my circle of friends. It was a blessing in disguise. That is a good question. I did answer her question. I didn’t want to lie to her. I think I did it as gently as possible. She and I played on the same volleyball team at that time and we were still very good friends.

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  16. Ahh! I have 2 teenage girls and they are hard work just like I was when I was a teenager.
    I’ve always said that girls are mean. Some are sneaky and are just plain nasty.
    It sounds like you did the right thing distancing yourself from that clique. My eldest went through a phase of hanging around with mean girls and at one point was one which disappointed me so much. She seems to have grown out of it now. (She’s 18).

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    • I have 3 boys. They were easy, compared to me when I was growing up! 🙂 Glad your oldest grew out of that mean girl phase. I met new friends, which was really the best thing that could have happened.

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  17. This is a stellar post, Laurie. It’s way too easy to claim, “I don’t hate anyone.” It’s rarely an honest statement. I fully believe that we have to be willing to look unflinchingly into our dark, ugly corners if we want to truly know ourselves, grow, and offer the best of ourselves to the world.

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    • You are right, Jan. Being honest with ourselves, especially acknowledging unpleasant (ugly) feelings is never easy. Thank you for your kind comment.

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    • I never had girls, but I can imagine it would be tough to watch. Learning when to speak up and when to hold our tongue is one of the most difficult parts of parenting!

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  18. Dear Laurie, how right and brave you are! I was recently “attacked” by someone I thought was a friend in my women’s small group because I didn’t share her political views. I tend to shy away from confrontation, but I had to ask her privately if the accusations she was generalizing about “those people” applied to me as well. It’s changed our relationship but if that is the price to help her realize the hurt she caused, perhaps it’s worth it. And maybe, the Lord will say I need to show her as much grace as He’s shown me. Thank you for your candor and courage!

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    • Oh, no! I am so sorry to hear that, Alice. Politics is just making us so mean these days! We do need to show each other grace. I hope your friend realizes the hurt she has caused and makes ammends.

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  19. I completely agree with you, and I love the way you’ve stated it here. Hate is corrosive. When I talk to my kids, I never talk about hating people. My son has a classmate that he hates, because that classmate is a bully, and when you’re a kid you are wired to hate bullies. As an adult I can say that the only people I really hate are politicians who are making it harder for folks to live, and thrive. The ‘real’ people though? I can’t hate them, because they are all like me. They have ups and downs like me, they are doing their best like me, they are winning and they are losing.

    And young girls are mean. I am thinking about this all the time with my daughter who is five and a little beacon of sunshine. I know I need to equip her to stand up against the mean girls, while not becoming one herself. I honestly don’t know how to do it, is it just a right of passage? Do all girls go through it? I wasn’t a mean girl, but I was picked on by mean girls. And like Kim there are things that have stuck with me into adulthood.

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    • Oh, speaking as a former teacher, bullies are the worst! I am so sorry your son has to deal with that. I agree with your thoughts on politicians. I have 3 sons and no daughters. I don’t know if it’s a “girl thing” or not. I can remember being picked on occasionally, but I was never the main target. I think girls at that age are just so insecure. They need to find someone else to put down to build themselves up.

      On a different note, could I make a suggestion? You might want to link your blog homepage to your avatar. I wanted to visit your blog but I don’t know how to find you. If you need help doing it, message me and I can help you with it. Not only for me, but to help others find your blog from a comment you left.

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  20. This takes me right back to being 14 and being part of a group of friends that always had to have someone to gang up on. Like you, I wish I’d stood against it more. Eventually I did and then I became their target but it helped me find a much better group of friends. I hadn’t thought before about how hate can unite people, but it’s true. It’s never a good basis for a friendship as I discovered with those girls though – several times I witnessed them turning against someone who had previously been “in”. Love is not easy, but definitely worth the effort!

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    • Yes, the same thing happened to me. I widened my group of friends, which was really a blessing in disguise. Sorry you became a target for nastiness. You learned early that hate is destructive and pernicious! Me too.

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  21. Laurie, this is such a great post! I remember being a Substitute Teacher in my early 20’s and witnessing exactly what you just spoke about and having to talk to girls about why they shouldn’t treat one another that way.

    Anyway, I pray that you are having a happy and blessed new year!

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  22. Thanks for the heads up on the comment, I think I know why it happened, but in trying to fix it I think I made it worse. I’m using a different email now, not sure if that will help!

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  23. Young girls can be hateful – I was bullied by classmates and teachers after we moved here to the States and my reluctance to tell my parents about any of it resulted in me being punished for things happening to me like clothing ripped and/or dirty from being pushed down to the ground, glasses broken and my parents asking why I was hating school suddenly. Hate is awful and you were just as wise then as now Laurie – thank goodness you took the high road back then. How sad that Kim still ruminated about “my braces hurt” expression all these years later. If only the people in this world could get along … sadly, it won’t happen and the past year has left people’s nerves ragged and torn and likely beyond repair.

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    • POh, I am so sorry you were bullied after you moved here. Especially by teachers! That is heartbreaking! I still have regrets about not sticking up more for Kim. I just sort of removed her from the immediate situation but didn’t do anything to stop it. I am writing this response as I watch the news from our Capitol building tonight. Another incidence when hate got out of control. So sad!

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      • Thanks Laurie. It was horrible and my sixth grade teacher ridiculed my accent and pronunciation and made me read aloud to the class while everyone, including the teacher, laughed. Then my other teacher took me in the hall and paddled me for chewing gum, passing notes, all things that other kids said I did when she was out of the room. I had her for 2 1/2 hours a day (study hall, English, homeroom). I never told my parents until she accused me of making crank and obscene calls to her home on Easter Sunday. I did not do that – our family was with neighbors having Easter Sunday dinner … they vouched for me as did my parents. She was given a leave of absence. I’ve had the news on way too long … I put the radio news on just as all this began and kept the news on. Pretty sad and amazing it could happen. Hate, the subject of this post, and the topic so many times in 2020 has reared its ugly head out of control today. Scary, shocking and sad!

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      • That is conduct unbecoming of a teacher! She should not have been in charge of a classroom. The other teacher either. She deserved an unpaid leave of absence. I am so sorry you had to suffer through those horrible teachers. No child should have to go through that. I listened to the news too long yesterday too. I had trouble sleeping. I couldn’t make myself turn it off, though. Hate did rear its ugly head yesterday. I was sad and very angry!

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      • I thought more should have been done too Laurie – her leave of absence was only from Easter to the end of the school year. She returned in September, but she was a 7th grade teacher and by then, I was in 8th grade, so I never had to have her for a teacher again. The male teacher was in 6th grade, right after we moved here. The teacher and kids laughed at my pronunciations all the time and in both grades I routinely was beat up in the bathroom. Terrible! I had been a straight-A student in Canada and my grades sank quickly to Cs and Ds.

        listened to way too much news yesterday and today too while working – like you, I found I could not turn it off, then later watched the video clips on CNN’s Twitter site and also did that tonight. The whole thing is terrible and ugly.

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      • Reading stories of mistreatment of a student in school makes me so sad! School should be a place of acceptance and congeniality. One of the best compliments I ever got from one of my students was when they told me they loved coming to my class because they knew no one would get yelled at or ridiculed or made to feel dumb. It was a place where everyone felt safe. That should be in every class!

        I actually wrote a letter to the editor of our paper about the whole political mess. I am getting bold in my old age!

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      • That is a wonderful compliment for you Laurie. From some of the posts you have made since I’ve been following you, you obviously fostered an interest in the subject of chemistry and turned it into not just an informative class, but also a fun one. My high school chemistry teacher did not do that – we showed up, he lectured, I don’t recall doing any experiments in chemistry lab.

        You are bold, but this is such a sad state of affairs. I don’t comment as much as I’d like because I am not a U.S. citizen, though I’ve lived here since 1966. We have a client at work and he send me e-mails, funny and otherwise – he has been sending letters to the editor in his local paper in Chemung, NY since the beginning of the current administration He always forwards his letters to his contacts afterward. Hope you get favorable responses as some of the responses I’m reading right now are pretty bad.

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      • Thank you, Linda. Yes, I appreciated the relationships I developed with my students. I do miss that, but not the schedule. I did post the letter to my Facebook timeline and got only favorable responses. I was actually surprised that I didn’t get any negative feedback.

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      • You had a rigorous schedule – I remember you telling me about working out before getting to school and arriving at school very early in the morning. We wonder now how we ever did it sometimes. Here in Michigan, they passed what was called the Tort Reform Act back in the middle 90s. Plaintiffs’ attorneys filed a slew of personal injury lawsuits before a cap could be placed on the judgments. For about 18 months I had to work every Saturday from 9:00 – 5:00. I also took work home – paperwork, as I had no computer at home at that time. All administrative stuff, putting together files and very time consuming. I hated it as I believe you must have down time. Stupidly, when I started working from home in 2011, I agreed to no vacation time as I am considered part-time (11:00 – 5:30) … I regret it all the time. So I cherish my long holiday weekends and weekends, especially as I get older. That’s good you didn’t get any negative feedback. Our client sends letters all the time; especially when it involved the military as he was a career Marine and his son and two of his grandchildren followed in his footsteps.

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      • You are so right, Linda. How did we ever work those crazy hours? I wondered what your work-from-home hours were. Not having vacation time is a big drawback, though.

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      • I wonder sometimes too Laurie. In the Summer I hand watered everything in the front/side/back gardens before I left for work, on the bus and very early or shoveled snow in the dark and left early, especially on snowy mornings to get downtown on time. Lots of energy back then. It is not good I agreed to that schedule to be honest with you. If I had it to do over, I would have returned to a traditional job, but I had been laid off after the recession and then my mom got sick, so there were lots of sudden changes and I liked the idea of working from home. I still do, but I have to say that if I went to a regular 9-5 job, I’d never have begun walking, nor blogging, so that puts it in perspective too. It is just me and I figured minimal expenses meant it was a good deal for me. I was not going back to work for a part-time job.

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      • Wow! You did a lot in those days too. I guess we both did have more energy 30 years ago than we do now! How does that happen? 😉 There are certainly pros and cons for working part-time and full time. I guess you can’t look back with regret. Selfishly, I am glad you chose part-time at home so you have the time to blog! 🙂

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      • Yes we did accomplish great things in each 24-hour day and by the end of the day, I could read a book sitting up, but, if I tried to relax and read it in bed, I was out like a light. Same with TV. Thank you for saying that Laurie – if my good friend and neighbor Marge had not said “why don’t you blog?” I wonder if I would have considered doing that when retired? She passed away in 2017 so there is no one else who might have encouraged me to start a blog. I loved getting dressed up for work and I see the dress clothes and feel a pang too, but working part-time opened up a whole new world for me many years ahead of when I would have been retired and had zero time constraints.

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      • When I was teaching, I never had the energy to read during the school year. I did all of my reading in the summer. I kind of miss getting dressed up, but wearing comfortable clothes is also very nice. I often thought a gym teacher had the best of both worlds – she got to teach the kids AND wear comfy clothes to work all day! 🙂 When you retire you will have even more time for your blog. And for walking. I wonder what your goals will be then!

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      • I wonder how people get reading done now – I often say that to Shelley, but then her husband does the cooking and shopping, so maybe that’s why. In Winter, with no outside work to do, that was the time back in the day to read for hours on end. One time, my former boss gave me “Cold Mountain” for Christmas. I couldn’t put it down. I do look forward to retirement – I will likely walk more as there are days in Winter that are icy in the morning or in Summer, that it is pouring, so I pass. Then I can go anytime. That will be nice. My boss’ wife had to have surgery on her foot in late October. They used to swim daily at 6:00 a.m. 5-6 time a week and a few evenings. When gyms/pools closed in March, she began walking and walked so much she got tendonitis and did something to her toe and had to have surgery. Her doctor said she walked too many miles, so my boss said “don’t go crazy on the miles.”

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      • I remember reading “Cold Mountain” long ago and loving it too. Your poor boss’s wife! Sorry to read she had to have surgery. I would love to get back to swimming again, but I am a little hesitant to go to the rec right now. Bill and I are not going anywhere except grocery shopping and out to run.

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      • She had the surgery back in late October. I’m not sure if she is back to walking yet. Our gyms opened today and pools as well. I saw in my boss’ e-mail inbox that they can start swimming again Monday. I’d be reluctant to to be honest. I loaded up on nonperishable items so I’m not going anywhere but walking at that Park and minimal driving to avoid gassing up. We just had our first case of the new COVID strain today, a woman who returned from the UK with it.

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      • That’s best and they say the new COVID strain will be running rampant here in March. Very scary – I am glad they are ramping up vaccine rollout soon. Our Governor bought 100,000 vaccines and Governor Cuomo ordered vaccines directly from Pfizer’s New York facility today for the same reason – they are not distributing to our respective states.

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      • Yes me too Laurie. Many people are concerned here since they cannot take the Moderna vaccine as a booster if they had Pfizer one first. Our Governor gave a press conference today. She is going to the inauguration event tomorrow and is going to bend President Biden’s ear about expediting more vaccine to our state. She says “at the rate we’re going right now, it will take two years to get everyone with vaccine in their arm!” Did you see the memorial to the 400,000 COVID deaths? There are lights lining the reflecting pool at the Washington Memorial. Very touching.

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      • That’s right – I heard you should not switch vaccines from the first to the second. Just yesterday they opened up PA to all those over 65. Still doesn’t help me. I read in the paper, though, that in reality no one in our county other than health care workers can actually sign up for a vaccine yet. The providers don’t have the infrastructure in place yet. It’s a mess! I did see the 400,000 deaths. That’s terrible! I hope this administration starts to turn things around.

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      • I think President Biden has signed a mandatory mask law as to federal buildings – I wish he’d make it mandatory for everything. They lost 12,000 shots here in Michigan as they were not properly refrigerated – big fail there. They should ensure nothing falls through the cracks with the health providers. My boss has an appointment this Friday for his shot – he is 73, will be 74 in March.

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      • I think you are right about the mask law, Linda. I believe he doesn’t have the authority to make it for all 50 states, though. Such a shame about those shots. We need every one! Good for your boss.

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      • It’s too bad – had someone made it mandatory, we may not be in the current situation. But now we can begin the right the wrong, albeit after a loss of 400,000 plus though. Yes, my boss is excited to go for the shot tomorrow.

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      • It sure is true Laurie. We are lucky that Joe Biden is going to work so hard to get people vaccinated in his first 100 days – the fact that the whole COVID pandemic was handled so poorly here in the U.S. leaves me shaking my head. Now I heard today that wearing two, preferably three, masks every time you venture out is in order to thwart getting the variant virus until you have received both vaccines is very scary to me. Not to mention disheartening for a return to normal anytime soon.

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      • I am shaking my head too. It is like there are finally some grown-ups in charge in Washington. I saw Joe Biden’s press secretary wearing 2 masks at a press conference the other day. I guess she must have read the same thing. My middle son told me he saw a graph that projected new cases in the US. By the end of June, they are supposed to be down close to zero!

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      • I think I saw Joe Biden wearing two as well; I noticed it in a picture. The article I heard on the news Friday suggested everyone should be wearing an N95 mask now instead of cotton or paper masks and they said they are easier to buy (remember they were being used only by healthcare workers before?) That is good news if we get to zero by the end of the second quarter! That’s very promising! Here in Michigan there are five people who have the COVID variant virus and today they were telling on the news where some of those people were last Sunday so if you were at those stores you could get tested for COVID. I remember they did that the very first days of the pandemic when they announced places where a person who tested positive may have touched. That was when there was one or two COVID cases – how far we’ve come, but not in a good day. Did you happen to hear anything on the news about Dr. Birx saying that she gave charts to the President and/or his administration and the charts were altered and press conferences given using the altered charts and/or data? She said “lots of misinformation” .. how could she sleep at night knowing this was wrong, just to keep her job. Should have been a whistleblower then, not now.

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      • I did see N95masks advertised for sale on Amazon. Yes, we have come a long way, but not in a good way. The virus is so prevalent now. It’s scary. Bill and I are staying home except for exercising outside and grocery shopping. I did hear about Dr. Birx. She is originally from Lancaster County, so our local paper tends to report on her. It’s good that she is speaking up now, but why didn’t she speak up earlier?

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      • They are suggested for in a public setting now. I didn’t know Dr. Birx was from your area and yes, she should have spoken up earlier – perhaps we could have done better but it had to come from the top as well and that didn’t happen. I had a problem with my glasses and want to mention it to you and Bill. I have a pair of glasses that I only wear outside. They are a heavier frame and have the Polarized lenses in them. The glasses I wear inside are very lightweight and also have a blue tint and no-glare coatings as I’m on a computer for so many hours. So last Sunday I was cleaning my outside glasses and applied some FogAway. I noticed the lens felt wobbly in the frame. I went and got the small eyeglass screwdriver but the screw was not loose in the least. I just got these new glasses last Summer. It felt solid, so I put them on. This morning, I put on those glasses and the right lens fell out. I know I don’t clean my glasses every day, except Summer if I’m really hot or been working out in the yard, etc. Other than that, I don’t. I think I’ve been putting this stuff on and likely put too much pressure on the frame – my best guess. I am not going to the eye doctor now during this COVID crisis, but am pretty angry about it. Also, the mask may be knocking the glasses and moving them as well as wearing a hat. I’ve only had that happen one time and that was the screw came loose. I am glad it didn’t fall in the snow – I might not have located it!

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      • You are right – it should have come from the top. What a difference a week makes! I feel like Joe Biden and his administration is at least working on the problems that beset our country. The adults are back in the room. Wow! Thanks for the heads up about the glasses. I will pass it along to Bill.

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      • Yes, day after day, all these new bills and now to secure the services of the National Guard nationwide and stepping up production of the vaccine – had this been implemented, look where we’d be. Yes, as to my glasses … it has to be the friction of using the spray and spreading it around with my finger as they recommend to get it to all of the corners. I generally just wash them with a mild pump soap and let them air dry to eliminate handling them any more than necessary as it tends to loosen the screw. in the frame I have to look at them again as the frames are not loose. I was ready to go out the door so I put them aside. This morning I fiddled with the weather radio which decided to take a fit and all the lights came on and it was peeping. Everything is misbehaving!

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      • Yes, lots of hope now though, even with the African strain of this virus now in South Carolina. They have made the University of Michigan students who live on campus shelter in place if at all possible after they have five cases of the UK variant.

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      • I heard that overall, a more transmissible variant will kill more people than a more virulent variant. It’s getting scary. I hope we both can be vaccinated soon!

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      • That’s extremely scary Laurie. I’ve heard much on the radio today on the pros and cons of the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine expected to roll out next month. The efficacy is not as good as the others, but they figure that getting it into more arms is better. It may need a booster shot, but they said all the two-part vaccines may need a booster shot eventually as the COVID virus mutates.

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      • I read that they are testing the efficacy of adding a booster shot to the one-shot J & J vaccine. One of the doctors who regularly contributes on CNN is actually in the trial for the booster shot.

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      • Today I heard on the news that we should not be concerned with J&J vaccine’s efficacy as our flu shot’s efficacy is not that great and we still get them, but I did hear that the booster shot could make J&J’s close to Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine. Did your sister get her second shot yet? That is interesting. I follow Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Twitter … must not be him as he didn’t Tweet about it. Here in Michigan is an incredible story. They had to cancel 2,700 appointments for vaccines because someone hacked into the program they are using to keep track of vaccinations in the Beaumont Hospital system. The hackers were able to “take cuts” and re-arrange the vaccination schedule. Everyone was canceled until they can figure things out. Crazy!

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      • I heard the same thing about J & J’s vaccine. We have a J & J plant here in our town. I wonder if they are producing it. My sister just texted me. She and her husband are scheduled for their second shot next week. I think I am going to follow Sanjay Gupta too. That is a good idea. Oh, those hackers!!! That is terrible! How could people be so selfish and thoughtless?

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      • We are producing the Pfizer vaccine here in Michigan, yet the rollout has been abysmal. I am glad they are reserving your sister and her husband’s second shot … that’s been a real issue here so I wanted to ensure I could get the follow-up before I get the first one. It is terrible – now that they have fixed the appointments and scheduling, we’ll get this bad weather – poor people. I guess there will be a lot of shots coming to CVS and Walgreens. That’s an option – that’s where I go for flu shots every year – I would like that option. We don’t have any drive-thru innoculations like Anne Mehrling and John went to.

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      • Our county is one of the lowest vaccine rates in PA. The county leadership is just terrible. My sister just emailed me today – they got their second shots. People in our county have been traveling to Allentown (over 1 hour away) to get shots. Shots for people my age are still far in the future.

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      • Good news for your sister; bad news for you/Bill. Here in Michigan the executives of the Tri-County area are squabbling amongst themselves as to why some counties are getting more vaccines than others. The news replayed their dialogue with one another and they sounded like kids bullying one another. I’m turning 65 in April but at the rate they are going, I’ll still have a long wait as well. They are still in the 1B category here in Michigan right now.

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      • Yes. I don’t think there are any states where under-65-year-olds who are otherwise healthy are getting the vaccine yet. Our counties are squabbling too. It’s a mess! If you lived in PA, you could get a vaccine in April. If you could find one!

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      • I thought it would be more organized by now, but it has only been a few weeks since the new administration and they said there was no “plan” in place before. Who said there aren’t benefits to getting older?

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  24. I’ve attended a couple of high-school reunions and noticed that the mean girls back then are still just as mean today (if not meaner) in person and on social-media. I guess people don’t really change!

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  25. What a powerful post and great way, really great, to remind us all of what it can be to hate and to divide. I too like others here am so ‘over the nastiness and hate’ and I see the world, our country, yours and others divided by race, income and more. So, what can “I” do? Not engage in some aspects of twitter where I knew I was becoming nasty. Yes, it is out of frustration in a way but I am going to care for my health first and step back. As for the teen years….I have seen our kids and now 3 grandkids come through…now have 5 more to ‘watch’…
    And not be able to do a thing about it.
    Welcome back to Life This Week in 2021 on my blog each Monday. Thank you for linking up this week. Next week the optional prompt is 2/51 Announcement on Mon11 Jan. Hope to see you back here then too. Take care, Denyse.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, Denyse. After today (the fiasco at the US Capitol), I am even more over hate and division than ever. We have got to do better! I try to stay away from nastiness on social media too. I follow mostly runners on Twitter, so I miss most of the nastiness there. Wow…5 more grandkids to watch go through their teens!?!? My oldest grandson is only 9. He will be there soon. Thank you so much for hosting the link-up. See you next week.

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  26. Oh Laurie … that question Kim asked at your reunion practically stopped my heart for half a second. Words have such lasting power, don’t they? It’s easy to feel helpless and wonder why can’t everyone just stop being hateful. But I think you hit the nail on the head when you say it’s up to each person.

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    • Words do have immense power. I didn’t know what to do when she asked that question, but I eventually told her the truth – as gently as possible. Each person is responsible for their own actions and words. You are so right.

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    • You are so right, Betty. Self-examination does make the world so much better. Being honest with yourself is sometimes hard to do. Thank you for hosting.

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  27. Laurie, this is such an excellent post! It is interesting to stop and think about my own 14YO “friendships”. You are right – love is difficult and I pray we all make the difficult choice to love more, love often, and thus, overcome hatred. To think of Kim carrying that question for so many years is heartbreaking. May we all realize our words impact far longer than we realize.

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    • Thank you, Joanne. I pray the same thing., I hope we all love more and overcome hatred. Especially relevant after the chaos in Washington yesterday. Words are powerful! Their impact is sometimes felt for many years.

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  28. Oh, Laurie, this is soooo good! I’ve never thought about how easy it is to hate (and to deny our hate). And it’s crazy how long the effects of someone’s unkind thoughts or words can linger in our lives–often without us even realizing it! I had a horrible dream last night that involved me being left out–with the people who made me feel left out 20 years ago as characters in my dream. I thought I was over that. Evidently not!

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    • It is striking how long the effects of hate can last. There are some wounds we never recover from! What an awful dream. Thank heavens it was only a dream.

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  29. Such a great post and so much truth! I wish mean girls only existed when we were 14, but I always tend to have at least a few in the workplace. Unfortunately, they act like 14 when they are 50.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Even though teenagers grow up, hopefully come into a relationship with Christ, and change, those scars can last a lifetime. Yet, even then, it’s important to remember that God can and will use them for good if we open our hearts to forgive and allow Him to work.

    Liked by 2 people

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