Back to School

I hesitate to tell you this, but … I’m a Yalie.

Yup, a Yale student. A fake one because I’m taking an online class and a free one at that. It’s not like I ponied up actual money to go there. And that’s not the reason I don’t want to admit I’m a poseur. It’s more that I’m nothing if not thorough, and so I googled “Yalie” to make sure it didn’t have some other meaning and sure enough, it’s got some pretty nasty Urban Dictionary entries that definitely do NOT mean Elite Ivy League Student and were probably made up by Harvies, which is probably not what Harvard students call themselves.

But, that’s not the point.

The point is, I am in the home stretch of taking Yale’s most popular class ever, The Science Of Well-Being. The class covers how we boost our happiness and live a meaningful life.

I mean, I feel like I cracked that in my first book “This.” (Spoiler: You try and make a difference to the people in your life.) But that reads more like a CliffsNotes entry. What can I say? I went to the University of Arizona.

The Yale class is all about how people believe that going to an Ivy League school makes you better than everyone else. Ha. Just kidding. That wasn’t on the syllabus, in the free class anyway. No, the professor  emphasizes that people believe having high-paying jobs and expensive, cool things are the answers to true happiness, but they’re not. That’s because our brains are messed up, which is why kids today would do just as well to go to a state school instead of spending all their parents’ retirement money at an expensive private school. OK, I’m done with the Yale jokes now. Promise.

I am very happy I discovered this free class on Instagram (Come for the cute panda videos, stay for all the luscious doughnut photos!). Even though no professor is checking up on me like those students whose parents are paying mightily for it (suckers!), I’m still doing the homework, which involves practicing strategies that are shown to promote overall well-being like being in the moment and, my favorite, random acts of kindness. 

Studies have shown that prosocial behavior such as voluntarily helping others can help lower stress levels for one thing. For another, they’re mighty powerful — for the people on both sides of the random act. 

What would the world be like if we all practiced this every day?

A friend recently popped off to Walgreens to grab a prescription only to discover the pharmacy was closing in a few minutes for lunch.

“No problem,” she said. “You gotta eat. I’ll wait.”

And she parked herself in a chair. 

The pharmacy tech was so grateful that she came out and thanked her for being so kind when most people aren’t. As a bonus, she gave my friend extra Walgreens bucks in her account. Win win.

I’ll give you another very personal example that’s close to my heart. Well, closer to my boobs technically.

Annual mammograms are serious business for me. My late grandma was a breast cancer survivor. I’m high risk and a few years ago, underwent not one, not two but three biopsies. Now, mammograms are not fun. They’re uncomfortable and I have yet to have a tech who didn’t have the world’s iciest hands, but you know what’s worse? Cancer! So, I suck it up and go and while I’m very jokey on the outside, I’m internally beating down a panic attack.

This year’s annual grope n’ smush came at the (frigid) hands of a very warm-hearted tech who apologized with every awkward pose — and who couldn’t stop gushing over me.

“Wow, you have great pec muscles!” she said, staring at the X-ray on the computer. “I see a lot of them, and yours are amazing. You must work out. What do you do?”

“CrossFit. But I’m not very good at it,” I laughed.

“No way! Your pec muscles say otherwise.” 

So could she sense the fear emanating off me or was she just exceedingly kind? I dunno, either way I’ll take the opportunity to brag about my pecs. So take that, The Rock.

1 thought on “Back to School

  1. i loved every bit of this but it did bring up mammo memories. i miss you…


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