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“Am I disabled?” For millions, there’s not always a clear answer

At some point in my childhood, my hands began to shake.

Not badly at first—I couldn’t draw a straight line, but I didn’t mind much since I’d never had any inclination towards art. As I entered my teenage years, though, the tremors got worse and started spreading out of my hands.

Although I tried to control the spasms in my face with ever-increasing doses of beta-blockers and anti-epileptics, by middle school I’d acquired the nickname “Twitchy.” In high school, my handwriting had gotten so atrocious it’d become a running joke among the teachers. And by the time I reached college, I finally admitted to myself that my neurological condition made a few things in life definitively harder.


Yet the first time a classmate recommended, after watching me take notes by hand, that I ask for an accommodation to help with written exams, I balked.

I told him I felt like anything they could offer would be unfair because I could use extra time to think over questions longer than other students. Besides, I type faster than average. My tremors, which this friend pointed out are explicitly covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (or ADA), are kinetic. That means that most of the time, they’re mild, especially when I’m at rest, though they spike drastically under certain conditions. But I knew in the back of my head that the real reason I didn’t want an accommodation was because it’d mean officially claiming a disability.

It wasn’t that I was ashamed of the classification. Instead, I felt like calling my tremors a “disability” would cheapen the word.

I’d grown up around adults with tremors who made no bones about them, and around people with far more obvious disabilities—like my hemiplegic mother. To me, a disability was something that interfered with pretty much every aspect of your life.

I felt like calling my tremors a ‘disability’ would cheapen the word.

I’m not alone in this. In forums and blogs, and among my friends with brain damage, serious mental illness, or other less-apparent issues, plenty of people want to know whether it’s accurate, acceptable, or functionally vital to call themselves disabled. But there just aren’t that many guidelines out there.

Yet after sustaining a serious of minor injuries with lasting effects on my chest and shoulder in recent years, making it incrementally harder to do select tasks, I've found my self questioning my status more and more.

So after scalding myself with hot tea and feeling something go pop in my ribcage while working out for the umpteenth, I decided it was time to try to resolve this debate within myself once and for all by reaching out to as many experts on disability identity and politics as I could.

"The first thing to know is that there's a difference between disability and impairment," says Professor Lex Frieden, a wheelchair-bound spinal cord injury victim and architect of the ADA.

“Impairment relates specifically to the kind of condition that somebody might have,” explains Frieden. “It’s kind of a general description” of whatever affects you physically or mentally.

Disability, on the other hand, is harder to define. There are legal definitions, the best known of which is the ADA’s, which counts any physical or mental impairment that limits at least one major life activity as a disability. But other regulations differ—under the Social Security Disability Insurance program, you need to be limited to the point of being unable to work. Different states have different barriers and metrics when it comes to measuring disability for parking permits or accommodations. And what counts as a “reasonable accommodation” by an employer is surprisingly hazy, which makes it a challenge to effectively argue an ADA discrimination case.

Frieden says that disabilities really come down to context and interpretation. “If you have a vision problem, for example, that doesn’t prevent you from driving, then you don’t have a disability when you’re driving,” he says. “But if that vision problem prevents you from being a professional target shooter, then you do have a disability” if that’s your dream vocation.

This conditional view of disability is a fine way of thinking about it as a legal or physical state. It helps us to determine who is eligible for which benefits. But a conditional view of disability doesn’t do much for someone who’s just trying to figure out whether it’s okay to think of him or herself as disabled.

For example, says Carrie Sandahl, the head of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Program on Disability Art, Culture, and Humanities, if someone has a disfigured hand that doesn’t actually limit his or her functional abilities, someone else can still see the difference and treat that person differently. The ADA has a provision protecting people who experience disability discrimination when they might not actually have a disability, so that individual might be entitled to some form of "disability" benefit or consideration. But even if the individual claims that benefit, he or she might still not think it's okay to identify as disabled if he or she is only perceived as such, but not physically prevented from doing anything.

The fuzziness of who’s roped into disability as a concept or identity, versus who’s entitled to a benefit, can cause serious issues—especially when people with disabilities police each other over discrepancies between one’s apparent identity and claimed community or benefits.

“You witness people with some impairments who are able to have more access to things than people with other kinds of impairments,” says Sandahl of her own experience. “You can call it a disability hierarchy… We’re able to come up with a bunch of ways to differentiate amongst us.”

Cheryl Green, an artist working with brain injury victims whose own brain injury is not readily apparent to many, describes a double whammy experience of what’s seen by some as a “lesser” disability: Non-disabled people discredit or disbelieve the impairment’s impact, going so far as to deny accommodations, as do more obviously disabled people, who decide not to welcome someone like Green into the impaired community.

“[This] might help people get things that they need and keep other people from getting things that they don’t really need,” says Green, who argues that even though she’s able to pass as fully abled in certain contexts, that shouldn’t affect her commitment to or identification with disabled communities. “It also makes everybody into a vigilante instead of focusing [on] what the actual problem is—the idea that we don’t need to make the world as accessible as possible.”

To someone like me who’s dead terrified of overstepping and getting rebuked for claiming something beyond my need or (in)ability, this isn’t a reassuring status quo.

Many of those who'd be considered by most to be disabled, at least from the outside, choose to shirk the label—even if they might be able to benefit from it.

That’s not always because internally they decided their impairments didn’t affect them enough to warrant the identity; often it has to do with judgments from the outside world.

That said, Frieden believes that if Franklin Roosevelt were politicking today, he might not feel the need to hide his disability for fear of losing standing with world leaders or the electorate. “I think we’ve probably made a lot of progress in our culture by having people who don’t have disabilities willing to claim they do in order to get some modest benefit”—as with those feigning some type of impairment to get better a parking spot.

But both Frieden and Green think we’ve got a long way to go before we reach full acceptance, especially for people whose disabilities are invisible. As Green puts it: “Wheelchair is cool. Blind is cool. Deaf is cool because you get those cool interpreters at concerts who are fun to watch. The little things that people can latch onto that they kind of like. But cognitive and intellectual disabilities—that is a group that is really, really kind of hated by society.”

Self-righteous able-bodied people have taken to policing what they see as fraudulent claims to disabled status. These folks, points out Frieden, are often making a slew of wrong assumptions about those with truly debilitating heart conditions or respiratory problems. Occasionally, adds Sandahl, individuals with less outwardly conspicuous disabilities might feel as if they need to use a symbol of their impairment, like a cane. But if that a cane-user’s balance issues are only intermittent, as soon as someone catches that individual walking cane-free, they’re sure to face an undue amount of scorn.

“That’s the reason why I think a lot of people with non-apparent disabilities have a hard time coming out,” she says, “because it’s difficult to signal to people, and then people are suspicious.”

Admitting we need support can feel like an admission of deep personal failure.

It’s all summed up, says Sandahl, in that regrettable pejorative idiom, “Use it as a crutch,” which has turned a vital mobility tool into something unnecessary to be transcended.  

“The medical model tells us that we should all be striving for normalcy,” says Sandhal. “That if we’re not [normal], we need to be corrected. We need to be rehabbed. We need special education. We need radiation. We should put our energy into approximating normal. Not only is it something we should strive for, but it’s our personal responsibility. So if we don’t try to ameliorate our conditions, then it’s [our] fault that [we] are impaired—that [we] haven’t tried hard enough… It’s just a perverse cultural construct.”

For Sandahl, who has mobility issues, this internal stigma forced her, against her best knowledge and logic, to avoid using a walking aid for a long time—until she blew out a hip. Then she opted to use a cane, only to develop scoliosis from relying too much on it. This led her to crutches, but she could only support her weight on her arms for so long, limiting her mobility. So eventually she decided to start using a wheelchair, which she admits made her feel like a lesser human.

“People will hurt themselves by not using an aid before they need it,” says Sandahl. I know from the pain in my joints and chest and twinge in my hands that I’ve done just that for years. And the twisted part is that, even as I write this, I worry that becoming disabled in my own mind will still feel wrong. As if I’d be an interloper, a fraud, rather than someone with a real need.

I've come to believe that if you know in your aching bones that you need an accommodation or a community to identify with, then you ought to claim your disability.

The problem becomes knowing the difference between what we need and what we want. I’m not entirely sure that I need people to help me carry a hot beverage every now and then, or if I just want one damn thing to go a little easier next time. (It sure would be nice to avoid tremor-splashing coffee on my next first date, though.)

I worry about making the wrong call. If I claim more for myself than I should, I’ll be one more person contributing to a diminished perception of others with more severe impairments. If I claim less than I should, my complacency might lead to more vigilantism against people with less evident but still impactful conditions. I also still worry about the way others will judge me for either identifying as disabled, or claiming an unnecessary benefit—or both. This continuing murkiness will probably drive me to claim a disability benefit on occasion and only situationally refer to myself as “minorly” disabled.

But that's just my personal calculation. If, like me, you’ve found yourself asking whether something's bad enough to merit help, or just to call yourself disabled, I hope you’ll give yourself permission to answer that question honestly.

This article originally appeared on GOOD.

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3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Health

Psychologist explains why everyone feels exhausted right now and it makes so much sense

Psychologist Naomi Holdt beautifully explained what's behind the overarching exhaustion people are feeling and it makes perfect sense.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

It seems like most people are feeling wiped out these days. There's a reason for that.

We're about to wrap up year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it's been a weird ride, to say the least. These years have been hard, frustrating, confusing and tragic, and yet we keep on keeping on.

Except the keeping on part isn't quite as simple as it sounds. Despite the fact that COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc, we've sort of collectively decided to move on, come what may. This year has been an experiment in normalcy, but one without a testable hypothesis or clear design. And it's taken a toll. So many people are feeling tired, exhausted, worn thin ("like butter scraped over too much bread," as Bilbo Baggins put it) these days.

But why?



Psychologist and speaker Naomi Holdt beautifully explained what's behind the overarching exhaustion people are feeling as we close out 2022, and it makes perfect sense.

In a post on Facebook, she wrote:

"A gentle reminder about why you are utterly exhausted…

No one I know began this year on a full tank. Given the vicious onslaught of the previous two years (let’s just call it what it was) most of us dragged ourselves across the finish line of 2021… frazzled, spent, running on aged adrenaline fumes…

We crawled into 2022 still carrying shock, trauma, grief, heaviness, disbelief… The memories of a surreal existence…

And then it began… The fastest hurricane year we could ever have imagined. Whether we have consciously processed it or not, this has been a year of more pressure, more stress, and a race to 'catch up' in all departments… Every. Single. One. Work, school, sports, relationships, life…

Though not intentionally aware, perhaps hopeful that the busier we are, the more readily we will forget… the more easily we will undo the emotional tangle… the more permanently we will wipe away the scarring wounds…

We can’t.

And attempts to re-create some semblance of 'normal' on steroids while disregarding that for almost two years our sympathetic nervous systems were on full alert, has left our collective mental health in tatters. Our children and teens are not exempt. The natural byproduct of fighting a hurricane is complete and utter exhaustion…

So before you begin questioning the absolutely depleted and wrung-dry state you are in- Pause. Breathe. Remind yourself of who you are and what you have endured. And then remind yourself of what you have overcome.

Despite it all, you’re still going. (Even on the days you stumble and find yourself face down in a pile of dirt).

Understanding brings compassion… Most of the world’s citizens are in need of a little extra TLC at the moment. Most are donning invisible 'Handle with care' posters around their necks and 'Fragile' tattoos on their bodies…

Instead of racing to the finish line of this year, tread gently.

Go slowly. Amidst the chaos, find small pockets of silence. Find compassion. Allow the healing. And most of all… Be kind. There’s no human being on earth who couldn’t use just a little bit more of the healing salve of kindness."

Putting it like that, of course we're exhausted. We're like a person who thinks they're feeling better at the end of an illness so they dive fully back into life, only to crash mid-day because their body didn't actually have as much energy as their brain thought it did. We tried to fling ourselves into life, desperate to feel normal and make up for lost time, without taking the time to fully acknowledge the impact of the past two years or to fully recover and heal from it.

Of course, life can't just stop, but we do need to allow some time for our bodies, minds and spirits to heal from what they've been through. The uncertainty, the precariousness of "normal," the after-effects of everything that upended life as we knew it are real. The grief and trauma of those who have experienced the worst of the pandemic are real. The overwhelm of our brains and hearts as we try to process it all is real.

So let's be gentle with one another and ourselves as we roll our harried selves into another new year. We could all use that little extra measure of grace as we strive to figure out what a true and healthy "normal" feels like.

You can follow Naomi Holdt on Facebook.


This article originally appeared on 12.23.22

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Health

Psychologists set the record straight on what gaslighting is (and what it's not)

"People often tell me that someone gaslighted them when in fact, what they are describing is mere disagreement."

Arguments and disagreements do not automatically equal gaslighting.

Unless we were in therapy to deal with an emotionally abusive relationship, most of us weren't familiar with the term "gaslighting" until the past decade. Now, it's everywhere, and there always seems to be someone talking to people and gaslighting them. In fact, it's used so much that in 2022, it was named a word of the year by the dictionary giant Merriam-Webster.

"Gaslighting" has become a common part of our vocabulary—unfortunately, it also comes with some common misunderstandings.

Merriam-Webster currently defines gaslighting as “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one’s own advantage,” but that definition merely reflects how the clinical term has been broadened and oversimplified. As psychologists explain, specific factors make a behavior gaslighting instead of disagreeing, correcting, or trying to persuade someone that they're right.



Where the term "gaslighting" comes from

The word "gaslighting" is derived from a 1938 play called "Gas Light," which was subsequently adapted as the film "Gaslight" in 1944. In that story, a young woman's new husband—who had, unbeknownst to her, murdered her aunt 10 years prior—tries to make her think she's losing her mind. He manipulates her environment (for instance, by repeatedly dimming the gas lights) but denies that anything odd is happening, making her question her reality. His deception was deliberate—he hoped to drive her mad so he could institutionalize her and steal a cache of jewels that were hidden in her aunt's house.

That storyline, the husband's tactics and the reason for them provide helpful context for what gaslighting is and isn't.

What is "gaslighting"?

Psychology Today defines gaslighting as "an insidious form of manipulation and psychological control. Victims of gaslighting are deliberately and systematically fed false information that leads them to question what they know to be true, often about themselves. They may end up doubting their memory, their perception, and even their sanity. Over time, a gaslighter’s manipulations can grow more complex and potent, making it increasingly difficult for the victim to see the truth."

Robin Stern, Ph.D., wrote the 2007 book "The Gaslight Effect," which helped popularize the term that she says is now losing its meaning. "People often tell me that someone gaslighted them when, in fact, what they are describing is mere disagreement," she writes in Psychology Today.

Here's how she describes it:

"Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where one person’s psychological manipulation causes another person to question their reality. Gaslighting can happen between two people in any relationship. A gaslighter preserves his or her sense of self and power over the gaslightee, who adopts the gaslighter’s version of reality over their own."

Ahona Guha D.Psych offers a definition that includes some key factors:

"Gaslighting is a pattern of behaviour, usually intentional, designed to make someone question their own reality, memories, or experiences. The lesson is simple: When identifying gaslighting, look for a pattern (i.e., one time is not enough), and for behaviour that seems intentional or malicious (think 'No, you are over-reacting because you are too sensitive, it didn’t happen that way')."

When is it not really gaslighting?

If we define gaslighting as simply misleading or confusing someone, it becomes easy to mislabel all kinds of normal, imperfect human interactions as such. Disagreements, remembering events differently, and even trying to convince someone of your viewpoint are not gaslighting unless they involve some specific elements.

"It’s important to remember that gaslighting is not present every time there is a conflict, and someone feels strongly about their point of view and rejects another’s," explains Stern. "Conflicts can veer into gaslighting if one person is so insistent that the other person starts to doubt themselves. A power imbalance in the relationship usually allows the gaslighter to undermine the gaslightee’s sense of self. The need to control, the act of manipulating, and the leveraging of power are essential components of gaslighting—not hurt feelings or challenged viewpoints."

"Often, the gaslighter is unyielding and verbally aggressive," Stern adds. "The gaslighter likely turns a back-and-forth discussion into blaming the other person and may even lie outright about what took place. They may use statements such as, 'Are you crazy? I never said that—must be early memory loss,' and 'OMG—fantasy land as usual. Can’t you remember anything?!'"

Guha emphasizes that gaslighting is not a one-off behavior but a pattern. "Most people will say things that might be insensitive, exasperated, or callous on occasion. It would not count as gaslighting unless there was a repeated pattern over time — a pattern based on a desire to deny recognition of the other’s experience."

Why does it matter if we call something gaslighting when it's not?

“Gaslighting is often used in an accusatory way when somebody may just be insistent on something, or somebody may be trying to influence you," Dr. Stern told Well + Good. "That’s not what gaslighting is.” She shared that accusing someone of gaslighting when they are really just insistent on a strongly held opinion, or belief shuts down a conversation in an unhealthy way.

Stern and her colleague Marc Barnett at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence wrote in the Washington Post, "Today, many people use 'gaslighting' when someone merely disagrees with them. Well-meaning partners, co-workers, or family members may not be skilled in resolving conflict in a relationship, but that doesn’t mean they’re gaslighting — or being gaslighted. Mislabeling and name-calling can break down communication. It can also lead you to think you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship when you’re not."

Gaslighting is "an extreme form of emotional abuse," according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, so if you wonder if you may be the victim of a gaslighter, get advice from a professional therapist who has the knowledge and experience to help.

Woman refuses to change seats for mom and kids

Traveling with preteens and teens is a breeze in comparison to traveling with little ones but as a parent you still want to sit near your kiddos in case they need you for anything. If you've traveled on an airline in the last several years, you know it's much cheaper to chose the basic seats in the main cabin.

There's nothing different about these particular seats other than the airline sort of randomly selects your seat and if you're traveling alone, that's really not a bad deal. The risk gets to be a little higher if you're traveling with a party that you'd like to keep together - like your children. One mom took the risk and banked on a stranger accommodating...that's not quite how it played out.


People sit in the wrong seats on planes all the time, usually because they read their ticket wrong or accidentally sit one row ahead. Takes no time to double check your ticket and move along, but when Tammy Nelson did a double take at her ticket after seeing the mom in her window seat, she realized she wasn't mistakenly staring at the wrong row.

This mom boarded the plane with her older children and had taken it upon herself to sit in the same row as her children, essentially commandeering a stranger's seat. Nelson assumed it was a mistake and informed the woman that the seat was in fact hers but the response she received was surprising.

"She said, 'Oh, you want to sit here?'," Nelson tells Good Morning America. "She said, 'Oh, well I just thought I could switch with you because these are my kids.'"

That's an interesting assumption when seats are assigned and many people, like Nelson, pay extra to have the seat they prefer. Now, there's no telling if funds were tight and this was an unplanned trip for the mom and kids which caused her to buy the more budget friendly tickets or if she was simply being frugal and was banking on the kindness of a stranger.

Either way, Nelson specifically paid for a window seat due to motion sickness and though she paid extra, she was willing to sit in the other row if that seat was also a window seat. But it turns out, it was a middle seat.

Surely there's someone out there that loves the middle seat. Maybe a cold natured person that enjoys the body heat of two strangers sitting uncomfortably close. Or perhaps someone that doesn't mind accidentally sleeping on an unsuspecting passenger's shoulder. But that person isn't Nelson, so when the middle seat was offered in exchange for her bought and paid for window seat, she politely but sternly declined.

@myconquering

Having had only 90 minutes of sleep the night before and knowing I had to give a presentation to 500 people, I desperately needed some sleep, so I did not agree to switch seats. 🤷‍♀️ Before anyone comes after me… the kids looked like they were about 11 and 15 years old. And the mom was in arms-reach of both of them from the middle seat in the row behind us. The mom proceeded to complain for at least 15 minutes to the person next to her loud enough for me to hear. But the woman actually defended me – several times. It was so kind and I appreciated it so much because I was feeling really guilty. 🤦‍♀️ ##airplaneseat##seatswitching##airplanekarens

Her refusal to give in to the mom's seemingly entitled request for Nelson's seat has resulted in parents and child-fee people cheering her on after she posted the details on her TikTok page, MyCONQUERing. The video has over 3.4 million views.

"Nope. If it's not an upgrade it's a sacrifice," a commenter writes.

"You did the RIGHT thing. Folks need to plan their travel together. Lack of planning on their part does not constitute an inconvenience on yours," one person says.

"I have 3 kids and have sat in different rows when they were passed toddler age. I agree, book your flight earlier," another writes.

"You were right. As a woman with 3 children, I always pay extra so we're sat together," another mom says.

Nelson is also a mom so she knows how important it is to sit next to kids on flights. But since airlines have made that a luxury, as the parent, you have to plan to pay extra or accept that you likely won't be seated next to your children. Hopefully in the future, this unnamed mom is seated next to her children or pays extra to make sure it happens. In the meantime, people continue to support Nelson standing her ground.

This article originally appeared on 7.28.23

Boomers weren't wrong about everything.

Baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) have been taking a lot of heat over the past few years from younger generations who think that their me-first mentality helped create a world where the climate is getting warmer, the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and people born in the ‘40s and ‘50s still rule the modern workplace.

Boomers are also super frustrating because many can’t figure out modern technology, and the younger folks have to explain it until they are blue in the face.

Of course, these are all generational stereotypes that many baby boomers would reject. But they will probably stand up and cheer when they read a list of tweets inspired by X user @FvreignLL, who asked, “What is the most boomer complaint you have?” The post was embraced by younger people and received over 123 million views.



Even though boomers are in the hot seat these days, just about everyone can agree that they’re right about many things that get under younger people’s skin, too. One of the recurring themes of the post was that people can’t stand the fact that we are overly dependent on technology, and often, instead of making things more accessible, it makes them more frustrating.

Here are 15 of the best ‘boomer complaints’ that younger people have, too.

People had a lot of thoughts on the state of customer service in 2024.



They also can’t stand the idea that technology has complicated things unnecessarily.



Technology has also made people super annoying. What's the point in paying $13 for a movie and scrolling through your phone in the theater the whole time?



We’ve also created a world that isn’t exactly kid-friendly.



And, what happened to adults?



Whatever happened to paying for something once and then owning it? Or being able to own physical media so that you don’t have to pay every time you watch your favorite movie?



Also, when did we all decide that almost every chip has to be kettle-cooked and made for people with cobalt teeth? Enjoying a snack shouldn't result in a $5,000 dental bill.



Remember when coffee was a quarter? Boomers do. These days, it's common to spend $6 or $7 on a cup of Joe.



Most importantly, young people also have a real problem with you standing on their finely manicured lawn.



This rundown shouldn't just lead one to believe that boomers are the cranky generation. When their time comes, Gen Xers, millennials and Gen Z will be right behind them, complaining about "kids these days" and why things were so much better "in my day." But hopefully, they'll be a bit better at using technology.

What's accepted now but will be embarrassing in the future?

We can all be sure that as society evolves, many things that seem normal today will be cringeworthy to people in the future, whether it’s our fashion, politics, civility, or how we treat the environment.

If we look back just 30 years ago, same-sex marriage was illegal, people routinely smoked in bars and restaurants and it was fashionable to wear platform sneakers.

So, when we look back on the world of 2024, there are bound to be many things that we’ll be embarrassed about in 30 years, especially when we are forced to live with the repercussions of the decisions we make today. On a lighter note, we’ll all also have clouds full of photos of ourselves wearing hairstyles and clothes that look utterly ridiculous in hindsight.


We asked the Upworthy community to share their thoughts by asking a big question on Facebook: "What's something that's accepted now that we'll be embarrassed about in the future?" Our readers responded with funny takes on current fashion and concerns about technology use and how we treat our fellow human beings.

Here are 21 things we accept today that we’ll probably be embarrassed about in the future.

More than a few current fashion trends will look silly in the coming years.


"Yoga pants. I love them to death, but I can easily see them as the parachute pants of tomorrow." — Deborah

"Barn doors in your house." — Joyce

"Tattoos all over the body." — Vicki

"People wearing socks and sandals." — Jeremy

"Wearing pajamas in public." — Ivy

"Huge, over-sized false eyelashes." — Patricia

Hopefully, people in the future will be more considerate when using technology than we are today.



"Walking around with your eyes locked on your phone. Or eating at a table with 4 people looking at their phone. One day, we will either fall off a cliff or realize life is what is happening off the screen." — Elise.

"Texting in the presence of another person." — Kate

We can also hope that in the near future, we will be able to solve many of today’s pressing public policy issues so that the next generation will live happier and healthier lives.



"Lack of healthcare for everyone." — Sharon

"Making the planet unlivable for human beings." — Karen

"Spending hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer's money to build a sports arena for a billionaire. Then charging the taxpayers outrageous amounts to attend events there." — Stacy

"How the US is systematically clawing back women's rights to decide what they do with their bodies. It's beyond shameful." — Jason.

"Allowing guns everywhere." — Amy

"That we drive fossil fuel-powered vehicles." — Heidi

Some people are concerned about the way students and their parents behave in modern-day America.



"Parents trying to run schools: yelling at teachers for their child’s poor performance, yelling at principals when their child gets in trouble, book banning based on an individual’s religious ideologies, etc." — Beth.

"Entitled children talking back to their parents and teachers." — Connie

"Cry rooms at universities where students can go and work out their anxiety and cry and be upset if their professor uses words that are too difficult for them. Universities are institutes of higher learning, not institutes of babysitting. That will be an embarrassment in the future, as it is an embarrassment to me and many others now." — Della

In 30 years, we may be embarrassed to look back on the level of general civility in 2024.



"Panic buying of toilet paper during the pandemic." — Tony

"Ageism. It’s everywhere, all the time, and no one seems to mind. No one is defined by the amount of time they’ve spent on the planet but it’s used as an identity and as a weapon (ask any teenager, 40-year-old woman, or retiree…). I can only hope that one day it will be a source of embarrassment that we were all so dismissive and judgmental." — Rosy.

"Human beings living on the street." — Andrea

"Torturous killing of animals for food." — Mae

While this list may seem like a litany of complaints people have about living in the modern world, it should give people hope. If we’ve overcome past embarrassments, today’s can be fixed as well.