Well, to be honest
A couple of decades ago, I used to walk three miles every morning with two friends. The goal was fitness, but it was also social time.
Some days we woke the neighbors with our hoots of laughter. But when my long-disintegrating marriage really started to fall apart, I got quiet and sad. Of course, my friends noticed. One cold dark morning we talked about it, and one of my friends told me that I should pretend to be happy. After a while, she reasoned, I’d start to believe myself and really be happy; in the meantime, other people wouldn’t feel uncomfortable around me. I tried to follow her advice, but I only felt worse.
Not only was I failing at holding my family together, I couldn’t even fool myself into being cheerful.
With hindsight, I can now say that was awful advice. Pretending doesn’t solve much.
I thought about this when I first read several of the personal essays in this issue’s wellness section — what struck me most was their honesty. Before these writers figured out how to take care of themselves, they had to face up to what ailed them — to the ways they were broken. As they walked me (metaphorically) through their experiences of stress and pain, I realized that all of us need to see and be ourselves truthfully before we can find a way to heal and be well. I am grateful for these difficult shared journeys. I hope you will be too.
On a completely different note: It’s a new year. Sometimes that means changes, sometimes not. Here at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (and specifically at this magazine), 2020 means big changes to our online presence. We have a handsome new website, and ASBMB Today is moving to daily publishing.
What does that mean? Instead of throwing an entire issue of the magazine onto the website early in the month, we will post new articles and essays every day. We’re playing around with themes like “Member Monday” and “Fats Tuesday” (the “s” is not a typo — that’s the day for lipids). The magazine site will grow to include our public affairs department’s policy blog, weekly careers columns and monthly health observances. As a big bonus, the site also will be mobile friendly, so you can read ASBMB Today everywhere you go.
Be well — and may you thrive in the year to come.
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René Fuanta, a second-year assistant professor at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, tries to support his students through a semester of unexpected challenges.