Here's some facts about human beings that you'll never forget, no matter how many showers you take.
When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."
"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.
The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.
"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."
Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.
Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.
Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.
She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.
Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.
Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.
"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."
"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.
Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.
"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.
"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."
"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."
"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."
"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."
Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.
She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.
That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."
Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."
To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!
Might we never really pass on into nothingness? Has the world ended many times before? Are we in fact doomed to spend eternity unknowingly jumping from one dimension to the next? According to one TikTok theory, the answer is yes. And it's blowing millions of minds worldwide.
Joli Moli (@joli.artist) is quite used to spooking and perplexing viewers with conspiracy theories and alternative hot takes. In her video titled "Apocalypse...again," Joli introduced the concept of Hugh Everett's quantum immortality.
Fans of the Marvel "multiverse," are quite familiar with this concept, where instead of experiencing death, "your consciousness just gets transferred to a parallel universe where you survived," the TikTokker explained.
Joli admits that this might burst the bubbles of those seeking the "sweet relief" of a widespread apocalypse. "If the quantum immortality theory is correct," she deduced, "you're just going to wake up in a parallel universe with no memory of the fact that you just survived an apocalyptic event."
According to Joli, the only sort of clue or hint you'd get that you might have woken up in a parallel world would be "new Mandela effects." You know, the strange phenomenon where all of a sudden there are two completely opposing memories of historical events? Yeah, quantum theory says that if you remember Curious George having a tail, you probably died in another universe.
Driving her point home, Joli added: "What I'm basically implying here is that in our reality, apocalypses happen every day … after the inevitable apocalypse occurs, you're going to wake up the next day in a new reality, and the next thing you know, you're going to find yourself on Reddit talking about 'since when did Pizza Hut have two Ts?!' Arguing with people who are native of this new reality, talking about 'it's always had two Ts'."
I for one would never want to live in a Pizza Hutt universe. Blech.
Still not sold on the theory? Joli has further arguments: "You don't believe me? Okay, it's been about 65 million years since the asteroids allegedly took out the dinosaurs. ... So you mean to tell me that in the last 65 million years, no other asteroids have come through the neighborhood, taken us out? You think we're just that lucky, huh? No other super volcanic events in 65 million years? We're just out there in space just dodging asteroids by luck, right? Earth doesn't have a steering wheel."
Hmmm. That's a good point.
Joli concluded with the upbeat sentiment that "Earth is probably always being taken out, and our consciousness just keeps getting transferred to another parallel universe, and another one, and another one. For all you know, the apocalypse maybe already happened last night…"
So far, in this reality anyway, the video has 4.9 million views. And—as to be expected—the video left many feeling uneasy.
One user commented, "Ok, I'm actually kind of freaking out right now coz I'm not the conspiracy typa guy, but you're like eerily making sense."
A few resorted to sarcasm as a defense mechanism (understandably), like this Twitterer: "Thanks I was overdue for another existential crisis."
The discourse got so intense, people were reporting physical side effects from the stress. One person wrote: "The thought of never being able to actually die is extremely depressing, and it's giving me a headache."
Another added, "Bruh, I'm just done with this anxiety. My body [is] emotionally [and] physically TIREDDD."
One commenter, who clearly had their priorities straight, wrote: "You're over here talking about extinction level events and I'm having to check on the two Ts in Pizza Hut."
It wasn't all gloom and doom though. According to indy100, some saw the potential of eternal life as a comfort against the loss of loved ones, while others finally got to make sense of their "world-ending" dreams.
If you have watched the original TikTok and are filled with burning questions, Joli posted a follow up Q&A video. A small disclaimer: You might be left with even more questions.
Though we may never really know what awaits us on the other side, it is interesting to think that we might live in a multiverse with infinite second chances. And whether or not this theory floats your metaphysical boat, it's fun to contemplate on one of life's biggest mysteries.