She timidly asked the woman eating alone if she could join her. It was her best decision all year.

We sometimes lose sight of the fact that every day we have a choice.

We can choose to connect to those around us, or we can choose to close ourselves off. Some days we may not feel like reaching out to others, but on days when we can, you never know just what may come of it.

We're busy.

I know. I'm caught in that cycle, too. When I do get a moment to breathe and do something for myself, sometimes I just want the time to clear my mind and, blessedly, say nothing. There's nothing wrong with that.


But during our more generous moments...

Maybe we could stretch ourselves a bit further — stretch to offer human warmth and conversation to someone who deserves it simply for being another person in our midst. Stretch to brighten someone's day, knowing that maybe we'll be turned down, and maybe we won't. Stretch to keep ourselves open to the world and to other people, even if naysayers would have you believe it's safer to stay tight and closed off. Stretch simply to tell the world that we won't be automatons who use our energy and light only for the tasks required to survive but that we will be people who really live.

That's what happened when Brooke Ochoa went to lunch by herself. She could have kept her gaze fixed to her phone, barely taking in the information from the environment around her. But she tuned in. She noticed people. She noticed Delores. And what came of that is truly beautiful. Enjoy.

Image by Brooke Ochoa.

"Today I Went to eat at a restaurant for lunch and I saw this elder lady coming from afar so I waited to hold the door for her, she was very thankful and sweet. She then told the waitress, "table for one", so I waited and hesitated but then I walked over and said, "I'm eating by myself too would you like to have lunch together?" She was ecstatic! Come to find out she spent the last decade living with her mom who recently passed away and her aunt who recently was put into a nursing home, so she has been having a hard time being alone. We had a wonderful talk, and she just kept smiling and saying thank you for listening to me, which made me smile too! Her words healed my heart just as much as i healed her lonely one. By far the best decision I've made all year!!! Her name is Delores, and we will be having lunch every Thursday from now on."
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$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


via Jessica Jade / Facebook

Losing a beloved pet is one of the most painful experiences a person can have. Suffering the loss of their companionship is only compounded by the feeling of helplessness and worry over whether their friend is safe and happy.

If the animal is found and taken to shelter, it's obviously a relief, but it can cost a lot of money in redemption fees to get the animal back.

Some shelter charges can run as much as $300 if the owner refuses to have the animal spayed or neutered or if the dog has been picked up by the shelter multiple times. While others charge as little as $15 if the animal is picked up promptly.

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$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


With 16 years of sobriety under his belt, Dax Shepard has served as a beacon of hope for people in recovery. With a reset of his sobriety clock last week after confessing to a slip with prescription painkillers, he still is.

The actor has been open about his addiction to alcohol and cocaine, and that transparency and honesty has undoubtedly helped many people through their own recovery journeys. But recovery from addiction is not always a one-way, detour-free road. Even people who have been sober for years must be diligent and self-aware or risk relapsing in ways that are easy to justify.

That's the scenario Shepard described in his recent podcast, in which he announced that he's now seven days sober. For people who struggle with addiction, it's a cautionary tale. He didn't take a drink, and he didn't touch cocaine. His slide into addiction relapse happened with prescription painkillers—Vicodin and Percocet. He started taking prescription pain pills after a motorcycle accident in 2012, moved to taking pills with his dad who was dying of cancer, and then came a gradual spiral of justifications, lying, gas lighting, and other addictive behaviors that enabled him to abuse those pills without acknowledging he was doing so.

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Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Last year, we shared the sad impact that plastic pollution has had on some of our planet's most beautiful places. With recycling not turning out to be the savior it was made out to be, solutions to our growing plastic problem can seem distant and complex.

We have seen some glimmers of hope from both human innovation and nature itself, however. In 2016, a bacteria that evolved with the ability to break down plastic was discovered in a Japanese waste site. Two years later, scientists managed to engineer the mutant plastic-eating enzyme they called PETase—named for polyethylene terephthalate, the most common plastic found in bottles and food packaging—in a lab.

Here's an explainer of how those enzymes work:

Ending Plastic Pollution with Designer Bacteria youtu.be

Now researchers have revealed another game-changer in the plastic-eater—a super-enzyme that can break down plastic six times faster than PETase alone.

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