Can you really trust your own memories? It's called the Mandela Effect and it's mind-blowing.

Do you ever wonder if you can trust your own thoughts? Maybe you have looked at pictures of your childhood and have been confused when you saw the old, blue family station wagon that you vividly remember as being red. Maybe you remember you're your high school gym teacher having a handlebar mustache. But, at your ten-year high school reunion, he tells you he's always been clean shaven. Or perhaps you recall Donald Trump defeating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Oh, wait, that might have happened. I'm pretty sure that happened. That happened, right?


For those of you who don't know about the Mandela Effect, it's an unexplained phenomenon that makes us question our memories from the past. The effect got its name from paranormal researcher Fiona Broome, who noticed that people have crystal clear memories of things that never happened or existed. It's origin stems from the thousands of people who have a vivid recollection of former South African President Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980s, right down reading the article in the newspaper or seeing his funeral televised. The truth is, Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and lived to be 95 years old until passing away in December 2013. This is one of the numerous examples of shared memories by the masses that appears to be completely false. It's insane to think so many of us have the same false memories.


The Monopoly man definitely has a monocle. I can see it in my mind as clear as day. It is on his right eye as he is leaning forward. The thing is, he never donned such eye wear.

Do you remember Jiffy peanut butter? You are not alone, but the fact is you won't find a peanut butter jar with said moniker. It's Jif.

How about reading the children's book The Berenstein Bears? You would be mistaken, as it's actually The Berenstain Bears.

The last time I checked, no one is going to confuse Shaquille O'Neal with 90's comedian Sinbad. That being said, there are thousands who remember Sinbad playing the Genie in Kazaam and not Shaq.



Star Wars: Episode V - I am your Father www.youtube.com


What about Star Wars? That iconic moment when Darth Vader tells Luke the truth about his family history. But Vader never said, "Luke, I am your father" in The Empire Strikes Back. He actually says, "No, I am your father." Is this just a misremembered movie line?


Forrest Gump - "Life is like a box of chocolate" www.youtube.com


We all recall Forrest Gump saying, "Life is like a box of chocolates." You know, you've quoted it before. It turns out, the actual line from the movie is "Life was like a box of chocolates." Have you ever eaten a box of Fruit Loops cereal? You haven't, because they don't exist. They're Froot Loops. Is your mind blown yet? These are just a few examples of the Mandela Effect.

Another possibility is that we don't know as much as we think we do. There could be alternate universes at hand, but that would be crazy, right? Think about how primitive our way of life and understanding of the universe was even 100 years ago. Then think about how far we have come and the rate at which science is progressing. It would be one thing to pay heed to the waxing theoretical of Donald Sutherlands character in Animal House. But when you have scientific heavy weight minds like astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and iconic physicist Stephen Hawking saying that it is entirely possible that parallel universes exist— we might want to leave the light on for that possibility.

Now, more than ever, we tend to go all in on our beliefs. The truth is, we very seldom have all the facts. It is okay to be a skeptic—that mindset keeps us honest. But to be closed off to possibilities based on what we supposedly know to be true can certainly be a dangerous impediment to progress.

The concept of the earth rotating around the sun seemed insane until it was proven. The two most important concepts we can anchor ourselves with are logic and humility. Is the Mandela Effect a result of parallel universes or just a product of our imperfect minds? If the greatest scientific experts we have ever known are not closing the door on such a concept, then maybe we should keep an open mind. By the way, the Monopoly guy definitely had a monocle.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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Images via Canva and Unsplash

If there's one thing that everyone can agree on, it's that being in a pandemic sucks.

However, we seem to be on different pages as to what sucks most about it. Many of us are struggling with being separated from our friends and loved ones for so long. Some of us have lost friends and family to the virus, while others are dealing with ongoing health effects of their own illness. Millions are struggling with job loss and financial stress due to businesses being closed. Parents are drowning, dealing with their kids' online schooling and lack of in-person social interactions on top of their own work logistics. Most of us hate wearing masks (even if we do so diligently), and the vast majority of us are just tired of having to think about and deal with everything the pandemic entails.

Much has been made of the mental health impact of the pandemic, which is a good thing. We need to have more open conversations about mental health in general, and with everything so upside down, it's more important now than ever. However, it feels like pandemic mental health conversations have been dominated by people who want to justify anti-lockdown arguments. "We can't let the cure be worse than the disease," people say. Kids' mental health is cited as a reason to open schools, the mental health challenges of financial despair as a reason to keep businesses open, and the mental health impact of social isolation as a reason to ditch social distancing measures.

It's not that those mental health challenges aren't real. They most definitely are. But when we focus exclusively on the mental health impact of lockdowns, we miss the fact that there are also significant mental health struggles on the other side of those arguments.

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True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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When Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin and his wife, Sarah Bloom, announced the death of their 25-year-old son Tommy on New Year's Eve, the whole nation mourned with them. Many also quietly wondered what had caused his death. It's not anyone's business, of course. But when a young, seemingly healthy person dies unexpectedly at home, the question lingers.

Rep. Raskin provided an honest answer to that question in a way that is both heartbreaking and perfect. In a statement published on Medium, Raskin and Bloom shared the details of Tommy's life so beautifully, it makes anyone who reads it feel like we knew him. It also exemplifies how to talk about a loved one who is taken by mental illness.

The statement opens:

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via Budweiser

Budweiser beer, and its low-calorie counterpart, Bud Light, have created some of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials of the past 37 years.

There were the Clydesdales playing football and the poor lost puppy who found its way home because of the helpful horses. Then there were the funny frogs who repeated the brand name, "Bud," "Weis," "Er."

We can't forget the "Wassup?!" ad that premiered in December 1999, spawning the most obnoxious catchphrase of the new millennium.

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