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Family

Childless people over 50 are honestly reflecting on whether they made the right decision

Spoiler alert: They’re totally fine with it.

childless couples, kid-free life, regrets of seniors
via Pexels

Childless people over 50 discuss their decision.

People who decide not to have children are often unfairly judged by those who chose a different life path. People with children can be especially judgmental to women who’ve decided to opt out of motherhood.

“You will regret it!” is one of the most common phrases lobbed at those who choose to remain childless. Why do people think they’ll have such awful regrets? Because they often say they’ll wind up “lonely and sad” when they’re older.

They also say that life without children is without purpose and that when the childless get older they’ll have no one to take care of them. One of the most patronizing critiques thrown at childless women is that they will never “feel complete” unless they have a child.

However, a lot of these critiques say more about the person doling them out than the person who decides to remain childless. Maybe, just maybe, their life is fulfilling enough without having to reproduce. Maybe, just maybe, they can have a life full of purpose without caring for any offspring.

Maybe the question should be: What’s lacking in your life that you need a child to feel complete?


Studies show that some people regret being childless when they get older, but they’re in the minority. An Australian researcher found that a quarter of child-free women came to regret the decision once they were past child-bearing age and began contemplating old age alone.

People revealed the reasons they’ve decided to be childless in an article by The Upshot. The top answers were the desire for more leisure time, the need to find a partner and the inability to afford child care. A big reason that many women decide not to have children is that motherhood feels like more of a choice these days, instead of a foregone conclusion as it was in previous decades.

Reddit user u/ADreamyNightOwl asked a “serious” question about being childless to the AskReddit subforum and received a lot of honest answers. They asked “People over 50 that chose to be childfree, do you regret your decision? Why or why not?”

The people who responded are overwhelmingly happy with their decision not to have children. A surprising number said they felt positive about their decision because they thought they’d be a lousy parent. Others said they were happy to have been able to enjoy more free time than their friends and family members who had kids.

Here are some of the best responses to the Askreddit question.

1. Never had any desire.

"I explain it to people like this - you know that feeling you get where you just can't wait to teach your kid how to play baseball? or whatever it is you want to share with them? I don't have that. Its basically a lack of parental instinct. Having children was never something I aspired to. My SO is the same way.

"Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against children. And I get really angry at people who harm them or mistreat them. I just never wanted my own." — IBeTrippin

2. No desire. No regrets.

"Nope. It was never something I wanted. No regrets." — BornaCrone

3. Mixed feelings.

"I have mixed feelings. I don't care much for children and I think it would have been disastrous for us to have them. I was also able to retire at 52. Pretty sure that wouldn't have happened with kids. So yeah, absolutely the right decision.
But I love my family and I do wonder what it would be like to have my own, to teach my child the things I know and not to be without someone who cares about me at the time of my death.

"But again, absolutely the right decision and at 55 I'm very happy NOT to have them. This is reinforced every time I'm exposed to other people's kids." — ProfessorOzone

4. They never visit.

"My wife worked at a nursing home for years. Imagine seeing for years that over 95% of old people never have family visit. Till they die and people want a piece of the pie. This when I learned that the whole 'well who is gonna visit you or take care of you when you're older' line is complete bullshit. We decided to not have kids ever after that. Made great friends and saw the world. No regrets." — joevilla1369

5. It wasn't an option.

"I don't necessarily regret not having them, but I regret the fact that I wasn't in a healthy enough relationship where I felt I COULD have children. I regret not being stronger to leave the abuse earlier, if I had been stronger, I think maybe I could have had the choice at least. So yeah... I have regrets." — MaerakiStudioMe

6. Grandkids are cooler.

"No. I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to marry my husband. He had two sons from his first marriage and a vasectomy. He was worried because I was so young (comparatively, he's 10 years older). I did think it over seriously and concluded that a life with him compared to a life without him but (perhaps!) with a baby I didn't even have yet was what I wanted. It worked out for us, we've been together for 26 years. As a bonus I have 9 grandchildren. All the fun without the work of the raising!" — Zublor

7. I'd be a bad parent.


"Not one bit. I have never believed that I would be a good parent. I have a short temper, and while I don't think I would have been physically abusive, my words and tone of voice would be harsh in a very similar way to my own father. I wasn't happy growing up with that kind parent and I wouldn't want to subject any child to that kind of parenting."
— Videoman7189

8. I'd rather be the cool aunt and uncle.

"No and I found a partner who feels the same. We are the cool aunt and uncle." — laudinum

9. Loneliness is underrated.


"54 yrs.old. I've lived the past 30 years alone. Presently my dog and I are chillin' in a nice hotel on a spur of the moment vacation. I'd maybe be a grandfather by now?! I can't imagine what it would be like to have family. I picture a life lived more "normally" sometimes. All sunshine and roses, white picket fence, etc. but I realize real life isn't like that. No I don't regret being childfree or wifefree for that matter. My life can be boring at times but then I look back at all the drama that comes with relationships and think I've dodged a bullet. I spent 20 years trying to find a wife to start a family. Then I realized the clock had run out, so fuck it, all the money I'd saved for my future family would be spent on myself. Hmmmmm...what do I want to buy myself for Christmas?" — Hermits_Truth

10. No diaper changes and no regrets.

"Nope. I never had the urge to change diapers or lose sleep, free time and most of my earnings. Other people's kids are great. Mostly because they are other people's. When people ask 'Who will take care of you when you're old' I tell them that when I'm 75 I will adopt a 40-year-old." — fwubglubbel

11. Zero desire.

"I’m 55 (F) and never wanted children. I just don’t much like them, and 20+ years of motherhood sounded (and still sounds) like a prison sentence. Maternal af when it comes to cats and dogs, but small humans? No chance.

"And I’m very happy to be childless. Cannot imagine my life any other way." — GrowlKitty

12. D.I.N.K.

"Dual income no kids = great lifestyle!" — EggOntheRun

13. Some regrets

"Over 50 and child free. My only regret is that my wife would have been a great mother, and sometimes I feel like I deprived her of that, even though we both agreed we didn’t want kids. Sometimes I wonder if I pushed her into that decision. She works with the elderly every day and sees a lot of lonely folks so it gets to her sometimes. I was always afraid I’d screw up the parenting thing, so I was never really interested in the idea. I’m a loner by nature though." — Johnny-Virgil


This article originally appeared on 02.08.22

Sponsored

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

Image shared by Madalyn Parker

Madalyn shared with her colleagues about her own mental health.






Madalyn Parker wanted to take a couple days off work. She didn't have the flu, nor did she have plans to be on a beach somewhere, sipping mojitos under a palm tree.

Parker, a web developer from Michigan, wanted a few days away from work to focus on her mental health.


Parker lives with depression. And, she says, staying on top of her mental health is absolutely crucial.

"The bottom line is that mental health is health," she says over email. "My depression stops me from being productive at my job the same way a broken hand would slow me down since I wouldn't be able to type very well."

work emails, depression, office emails, community

Madalyn Parker was honest with her colleagues about her situation.

Photo courtesy Madalyn Parker.

She sent an email to her colleagues, telling them the honest reason why she was taking the time off.

"Hopefully," she wrote to them, "I'll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%."

Soon after the message was sent, the CEO of Parker's company wrote back:

"Hey Madalyn,

I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this. Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health — I can't believe this is not standard practice at all organizations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work."

Moved by her CEO's response, Parker posted the email exchange to Twitter.

The tweet, published on June 30, 2017, has since gone viral, amassing 45,000 likes and 16,000 retweets.

"It's nice to see some warm, fuzzy feelings pass around the internet for once," Parker says of the response to her tweet. "I've been absolutely blown away by the magnitude though. I didn't expect so much attention!"

Even more impressive than the tweet's reach, however, were the heartfelt responses it got.

"Thanks for giving me hope that I can find a job as I am," wrote one person, who opened up about living with panic attacks. "That is bloody incredible," chimed in another. "What a fantastic CEO you have."

Some users, however, questioned why there needs to be a difference between vacation time and sick days; after all, one asked, aren't vacations intended to improve our mental well-being?

That ignores an important distinction, Parker said — both in how we perceive sick days and vacation days and in how that time away from work is actually being spent.

"I took an entire month off to do partial hospitalization last summer and that was sick leave," she wrote back. "I still felt like I could use vacation time because I didn't use it and it's a separate concept."

Many users were astounded that a CEO would be that understanding of an employee's mental health needs.

They were even more surprised that the CEO thanked her for sharing her personal experience with caring for her mental health.

After all, there's still a great amount of stigma associated with mental illness in the workplace, which keeps many of us from speaking up to our colleagues when we need help or need a break to focus on ourselves. We fear being seen as "weak" or less committed to our work. We might even fear losing our job.

Ben Congleton, the CEO of Parker's company, Olark, even joined the conversation himself.

In a blog post on Medium, Congleton wrote about the need for more business leaders to prioritize paid sick leave, fight to curb the stigma surrounding mental illness in the workplace, and see their employees as people first.

"It's 2017. We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance," Congleton wrote. "When an athlete is injured, they sit on the bench and recover. Let's get rid of the idea that somehow the brain is different."


This article originally appeared on 07.11.17

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.

Identity

One man turned nursing home design on its head when he created this stunning facility

"What if we design an environment that looks like outside?" he said. "What if I can have a sunrise and sunset inside the building?



92-year-old Norma had a strange and heartbreaking routine.

Every night around 5:30 p.m., she stood up and told the staff at her Ohio nursing home that she needed to leave. When they asked why, she said she needed to go home to take care of her mother. Her mom, of course, had long since passed away.

Behavior like Norma's is quite common for older folks suffering from Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. Walter, another man in the same assisted living facility, demanded breakfast from the staff every night around 7:30.


Jean Makesh, CEO of Lantern assisted living facilities, says he meets folks with stories like these every day. It's their stories that inspired him to make some changes at Lantern.

"I thought I knew a lot about elderly care. The more and more time I was spending with my clients, that's when I realized, 'Oh my god, I have no clue.'"

Confusion is common in Alzheimer's patients, but Makesh knew there had to be some way to minimize these conflicts.

A big believer in the idea that our environment has an enormous effect on us, he started thinking big — and way outside the box.

"What if we design an environment that looks like outside?" he said. "What if I can have a sunrise and sunset inside the building? What if I'm able to have the moon and stars come out? What if I build a unit that takes residents back to the '30s and '40s?"

And that was just the beginning. He also researched sound therapy. And aromatherapy. And carpet that looked like grass. No idea was off-limits.

What he came up with was a truly unique memory-care facility. And after testing the concept in Lantern's Madison, Ohio, facility, Makesh is opening two new locations this year.

Instead of rooms or units, each resident gets a "home" on a quiet little indoor street reminiscent of the neighborhoods many of them grew up in.

All photos courtesy of Lantern

Instead of a boring panel ceiling, residents look up and see a digital sky, which grows dimmer late in the day to help keep their biological clocks in tune.

Throughout the day, nature sounds and fresh aromas like peppermint or citrus are piped in.

Some studies have shown that this kind of aromatherapy may indeed have some merits for improving cognitive functioning in Alzheimer's patients.

There's even a little "main street" where residents can gather.

For Makesh, this isn't just about making patients comfortable, though. He wants to change how we think about the endgame of severe dementia.

The insides of the rooms aren't too shabby, either.

Makesh said one of the frustrating shortcomings of most nursing facilities is that they create conflicts with unnatural environments and schedules, and they try to solve them by throwing antipsychotic and anti-anxiety medications at patients. In other words, when someone has severe dementia, we often give up on them. From there, they stop getting the engagement their brain needs to thrive.

Of course, we're a long way from a cure for Alzheimer's.

But Makesh's project shows that when we think strategically about altering the environment and focus on helping people relearn essential self-care and hygiene skills, the near-impossible becomes possible.

"In five years, we're going to [be able to] rehabilitate our clients where they can live independently in our environment," he said. "In 10 years, we're going to be able to send them back home."

He knows it's a lofty goal. And whether he'll meet it remains to be seen. But in the meantime, he's proud to own one of the few places that offers something pretty rare in cases of severe dementia: hope.


This article originally appeared on 09.08.16

Millennial shares 'proof' they're not aging as quickly as Gen Z




Millennials and Gen Z truly have a sibling kind of relationship. They take turns teasing each other but in the end it's nothing but love between the two generations. In recent months people were taunting Gen Z about their looks saying that they age like milk and several from that generation agreed that people often mistake them for much older than they are.

Well, it seems Gen Z is back with their own commentary about how poorly Millennials age but instead of the older sibling in this rivalry conceding to the point, they dispute it...with receipts. Ouch, this one probably stings a bit. Chris Bautista uploaded a video response to TikTok addressing the young whippersnappers telling Millennials they look old to explain why they feel that way.

The answer is quite simple. Millennials set the bar for what aging looks like for people approaching middle age according to Bautista.


"I'm gonna say this a little bit louder for the Gen Zers in the back that didn't hear me the last time. Millennials look fantastic for our age and you cannot tell us otherwise," Bautista starts. "The reason why you think we don't look great for our ages is because we have set the new standard of what it looks like to age."

Then he pulls out receipts. Pictures of celebrities who were the age Millennials are right now when the pictures were taken. Yikes! Most Millennials look no where near the age of the people in the pictures, but maybe the camera added 10 years?

Watch the video:

@bautistud This needs to be said for millenials 🫡 #millennialsoftiktok #genzvsmillenial #aging ♬ original sound - Chris Bautista

"It's cause all millennials used the St. Ives peach scrub exfoliating wash and we achieved eternal youth," someone surmises.

"It's gotta be the Flintstone vitamins," another guesses.

"I don't know, I am 40 and got stopped at my son's high school security guard because he thought I was a student. No one ever believes my age," one person writes.

"But seriously like what's the reason? Cause this life has been stressful," someone else asks.

So is Gen Z really aging poorly or did Millennials get some weird radioactive Flintstone vitamins laced with asbestos that is causing their cells to age slower? The world may never know but hopefully these two generations forever keep the sibling banter alive.

Family

When her 5-year-old broke his leg, this mom raised $0. It's actually inspiring.

Her crowdfunding alternative is so obvious, it's shocking America hasn't taken advantage of it.


Freddie Teer is a normal boy. He loves Legos, skateboarding, and horsing around with his older brother Ollie. But in March 2017, his mother faced every parent's worst nightmare.

Photo via iStock.

Freddie was doing tricks down the stairs of his front porch when he fell off his bike — and his bike fell on him.

"[He was] just crying, wouldn't let us touch his leg, couldn't put any weight on his leg. We knew," mom Ashley says.

Ashley rushed Freddie to the emergency room, where an X-ray confirmed the bones in his left shin were broken in half. He needed to be sedated, his bones set and put in a cast. It was an agonizing day for the Teers. But it's what happened next that was truly inspiring.


We've all seen heartwarming stories of communities coming together to raise money online to help people cover medical care for themselves and loved ones.

There was the Kentucky mom with stage 4 cancer whose family collected over $1 million. The New Orleans police officer whose unit banked thousands for her chemotherapy. The Colorado man who lost his legs and whose friends crowdfunded his recovery.

While Freddie's injury required major treatment, none of Ashley's friends raised any money for him.

No one from their town took up a collection or held a bake sale.

No GoFundMe page was started to help cover his bills.

Instead, Ashley and Freddie walked out of the hospital owing nothing. Because they live in Canada.

"You just leave," Ashley says. "You don't pay anything."

Incredible.

Under Canada's health care system, people like the Teers can see their doctors and go to the hospital when they're hurt or sick, and they don't get charged.

So heartwarming.

It almost wasn't this way.

Ashley was born and raised in St. Louis in the U.S. where health care is expensive and complicated. Twelve years ago, she fell in love with a Canadian man and moved with him to Abbotsford, British Columbia, where they and their five children will enjoy heavily subsidized, affordable health care coverage at a low premium for the remainder of their natural lives.

"We're able to go when we need help and we get help," Ashley says.

Just amazing.

As Freddie recovered, no one showed up at the Teer home with a large check or collection plate full of cash.

Instead, Ashley and her family were "supported through meals and just that kind of care" — meals they were able to enjoy without having to decide between enduring the shame of hitting up their friends for money or facing the prospect of sliding into bankruptcy.

Freddie (right) and his brother Ollie. Photo by Ashley Teer.

The most uplifting part? Middle-income Canadians like the Teers pay taxes at roughly the same rates as Americans and still get their bones fixed for free at hospitals.

Not everything about Freddie's recovery process was smooth.

The first night, Freddie tossed and turned in severe pain, unable to sleep. Ashley, however, was able to call her family doctor — who she never has to pay since he is compensated by a public system that continues to have overwhelming public support to this day — to get her son a codeine prescription. Miraculous!

Canada's public health care plan doesn't cover drugs. But, inspiringly, because of price controls, medicine is way cheaper there.

The Teers did lean on their friends and family for help while Freddie got better.

"We were kind of just asking people to pray," she explains — primarily to lift her son's spirits, and not, thankfully, to ask God to provide sufficient funds to cover basic medical care that every human living in a fair and prosperous society should have access to.

Even though he wasn't able to move around, friends and relatives eagerly invited Freddie to hang out during his recovery instead avoiding him out of guilt for not pledging enough to his GoFundMe campaign.

Just. Wow.

With support from his community — support that didn't include a single dollar — Freddie's cast came off six weeks later, right on schedule.

Healthy once more, Freddie went right back to enjoying extreme sports like BMX biking, skateboarding, and snowboarding, and Ashley is free to let him enjoy them without worrying about one fall wiping out their entire life savings and leaving her family destitute.

"Where we live, we're not stressful when things happen to our kids," Ashley says. "It's not a stressful time financially, so the whole family is not anxious."

It's peace of mind that she — and the residents of virtually every other rational, wealthy, industrialized country in the world — share.

"I feel safe, and I feel like my voice is heard," she says. "I can't imagine living in a place that I didn't feel that way."

Inspiring.


This article originally appeared on 03.27.17

A woman enjoying her life.

It can be frustrating to feel motivated enough to pursue your dreams when your life is already packed with responsibilities and you have a limited amount of energy and attention. But we all have those things in life we’ve always wanted to do, such as learning a skill, traveling, or becoming more physically and mentally fit.

Jodi Wellman, who has a Master’s degree in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and founded Four Thousand Mondays, coaches people on how to be more motivated by facing their limited time on Earth.

The concept may seem a bit morbid initially, but she says that when people honestly appraise their mortality, it’s great for long-term motivation. “My top tip is to get granular with what I call mortality math,” Wellman told CNBC Make It. “So we have to get really in tune with the temporary nature of our lives ... because otherwise, we won’t take action, we will languish.”


Wellman has a calculator on her site that shares the number of Mondays you have left based on current life expectancy. (The following is a calculation for a 47-year-old man.)

get motivated, four thousand mondays, jodi wellman

The number of Mondays a 47-year-old man has left.

via Four Thousand Mondays

Wellman believes that when we truly understand we can only put things off for so long, we are more likely to follow our passions. “Later is an elusive time that may never come,” Wellman said. It’s also worth considering that some of the Mondays come when we’re older when it's more difficult to travel or do things that require physical strength.

“If you were going to die tonight, what would you wish you had taken action on? Maybe there’s an opportunity to start that today,” she added.

Mondays help put our lives in perspective. For many, it’s the first day back at work after the weekend, when it's time to get back on task, make new plans, start a new habit, or take on new responsibilities. Knowing there are only so many left can be a great motivator.

Wellman’s Four Thousand Mondays philosophy is based on the psychological concept of temporal scarcity, which states that it can be challenging to find joy in some of life’s pleasant experiences unless we know that they will come to an end.

It’s also based on the Freudian principle that we tend to seek pleasure and avoid pain and we will go to great lengths to prevent momentary pain. This can hinder us from pursuing our dreams which might involve a bit of initial discomfort.

By counting the number of Mondays we have left, we can avoid having painful end-of-life regrets when we realize that time is running out on our dreams. Wellman hopes that her philosophy provides a wake-up call for people to start living the life they always wanted because it’s later they think.

“We can fathom our deathbed regrets, for example, to sprinkle that dose of ‘oh sh**’ we need to take action in our lives,” she wrote on her blog. “We can focus on our limited lifespans and live with verve and vigor, to avoid the pain and heartache of a lackluster life we didn’t try hard enough to enjoy. In short, we will brazenly embrace the dark side… like a sneaky shortcut to the bright side.”