What I learned about being alone from the biggest loner in the galaxy.

I spend a good amount of time alone.

I know. But before you get all freaked out and ask if I'm OK or if I need anyone to talk to... Yes, I'm OK, and I have lots of awesome people to talk to.

The truth is, I actually enjoy it. I'm not antisocial, I don't have the blues, and I'm not getting over a breakup. I just unironically and unapologetically enjoy my me-time.


GIF from "Arrested Development."

That can be weird for some people to hear.

When I forgo attending a party to relax at home with a book or some video games or I go on a long walk with my music and don't invite anyone, people wonder if I should be socializing more or need more friends.

I have a big group of amazing friends and a generally awesome life, but the world seems to think that if you're alone — you're lonely. And to be honest, sometimes I even doubt myself. I wonder if I should be getting out more or forcing myself to socialize in situations where I don't want to.

So it was actually pretty cool when I found out about WISEA 1147. A gigantic planet and a gigantic loner.

WISEA 1147 is what's known as a rogue planet. A planet that doesn't orbit around a sun, isn't attached to any system, and just generally does its own thing in the universe.

Wisea 1147. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Rogue planets just sort of ... float around. They're free spirits who don't play by your rules. They don't have a sun, so they don't even have days or years. They're hard to see and track because they have nothing lighting them up and have no orbital pattern.

They're just, well ... rogue. Yeah. Good word choice, scientists.

The coolest thing is, there are a lot of them. Like a lot a lot.

No one knows for sure (since they're super hard to find) but scientists have speculated that there may be more rogue planets in the Milky Way than stars. (And there are hundreds of billions of stars.)

An artistic rendering of a rogue planet. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech.

"There are billions of them adrift in perpetual night," said Neil deGrasse Tyson in "Cosmos." “Rogue planets are molten at the core, but frozen at the surface. There may be oceans of liquid water in the zone between those extremes. Who knows what might be swimming there?”

Side note: Every time Neil deGrasse Tyson talks, I want to cry galactic tears of wonder.

WISEA 1147 is also huge. Like huge huge.

According to recent NASA estimations, WISEA 1147 is anywhere from five to 10 times the size of Jupiter.

Do you even know how big that is? Because here's Jupiter:

No, Earth isn't actually that close. Image via Jcpag2012/Wikimedia Commons.

Yeah. Huge.

So if you're like me, and love to go your own way every once in a while, don't feel bad.

Instead, look up to the stars.

For every bright beam of light you see showing off up there, there's a bunch of gigantic planets floating around not trying to impress anyone.

They're just dancing happily through the wondrous universe. Totally unattached, and — at least, I like to imagine — totally happy about it.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

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Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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Those of us raising teenagers now didn't grow up with social media. Heck, the vast majority of us didn't even grow up with the internet. But we know how ubiquitous social media, with all of its psychological pitfalls, has become in our own lives, so it's not a big stretch to imagine the incredible impact it can have on our kids during their most self-conscious phase.

Sharing our lives on social media often means sharing the highlights. That's not bad in and of itself, but when all people are seeing is everyone else's highlight reels, it's easy to fall into unhealthy comparisons. As parents, we need to remind our teens not to do that—but we also need to remind them that other people will do that, which is why kindness, empathy, and inclusiveness are so important.

Writer and mother of three teen daughters, Whitney Fleming, shared a beautiful post on Facebook explaining what we need to teach our teenagers about empathy in the age of social media, and how we ourselves can serve as an example.

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