Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant (Part 2)

Taking Back Joy. When I listened to a happy song from childhood and started dancing, I felt happy. Survivor guilt can rob you of your joy. After his passing, I tried to have fun with my children. We took things that reminded us of Dave and made it part of our lives. Allow yourself to be happy and be kind to yourself. Joy has to come your within yourself and no one else. How you spend each day matters more than only the big moments of joy. Do the small things that make you happy. Write down the moments of joy each day. Happiness does require work. Humans are wired to focus on the negative as compared to the positive. The cool breeze could be a positive moment for gratitude too. Happiness can equate to peacefulness too. Try to engage in something challenging and engrossing that can give you that flow state. Exercise can help you to achieve that flow state quickly. Joy can give us strength too. You can find joy in the small moments that you seize and create for yourself.

Raising Resilient Kids. One way is to respond to embarrassment with humour. It is wise to just announce the sad news to your kids directly. We owe it to our children to make them as happy as possible. Early intervention is critical. The school needs to protect a safe environment for kids. Disadvantaged families should be provided with home visits and counseling. Resilience is a lifelong project. Children must develop these few beliefs: they have some control over their lives; they can bounce back from failure; they matter as human beings; they have real strength. It is important to help them understand that they are in control of their lives. Pre-school has a huge role to play in this. Allow your kids to share their dreams with others. It is important to get an education. Kids should adopt a growth instead of fixed mindset. Sometimes, complimenting too soon doesn’t work. Rather, one should comment ‘I’m glad you tried your hardest’. Adults need to tell the kids that they matter. In Denmark, children are encouraged to share their problems in class. Help your kid identify his strengths by making him pick up skills. For instance, you could encourage the kid to pick up a musical instrument. Respect your feelings and try not to suppress them. Sleep matters even during times of adversity. Learning how to forgive is also extremely important. Do not afraid to ask for help and encourage your kids to do so. Sometimes, I still talk about Dave as it helps to keep Dave’s memory alive. If your kids can have a strong understanding of your family members and their parents, they have been coping skills. Nostalgia is usually good as it reflects a pleasant state most of the time. Make the most out of Option B. Keep photos and videos of your loved ones as these help to create happiness.

Finding Strength Together. Hope is the key to resilience. It is possible to bond over hope and create a shared identity. People can pray together. It is important to change tragedy into a miracle. Keep your faith at all times. There is unity in strength. Collective resilience is also dependent on shared experiences etc. Attending support groups can also help you deeply. It might be wise to join a community after a tragedy. Asking for help is actually not a sign of weakness. Shared narratives can play a big part. It is also useful to be lifted by positive ‘stereotypes’ right at the start. Support circles help to build collect resilience. It can certainly be difficult to forgive a gunman who killed so many people. As a community, we can gather together to tackle the tough problems in life. Empowering communities can be the key sometimes. As a community, we can learn to support vulnerable groups.

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. – Martin Luther King Jr

Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. – Martin Luther King Jr

Failing and Learning at Work. I took my kids to visit SpaceX. We need to learn from our failures. Often, we are too proud to admit that we made a mistake. The majority of things that people regretted was the actions they failed to take. Move fast and break things. At Facebook, we go for teambuilding and often fail at challenges. Failure must be seen as a learning opportunity. You could ask colleagues what their biggest screw-up is and everyone could compete to see who the biggest screw-up is. Resilience is needed in all organizations of all sizes. We need to all focus on learning from failure. Ask for feedback on how you can improve. Learn to gather and act on negative feedback. We all have our own blind spots but often ignore them. Feedback is hard to take. Sports teams often learn from their mistakes. Learn to take suggestions from a coach too. Try not to treat the feedback personally. People are afraid of criticizing others. Everyone should have at least 1 hard conversation in the past.

The more times a government or company had failed, the more likely they were to put a rocket into orbit successfully on the next try. Also, their chances of success increased after a rocket exploded compared to a smaller failure. – Sheryl Sandberg

When it’s safe to talk about mistakes, people are more likely to report errors and less likely to make them. Yet typical work cultures showcase successes and hide failures. – Sheryl Sandberg

To Love and Laugh Again. Being alone can be an empowering decision indeed. Getting married increases one’s happiness just by a bit. I wanted to find love again after Dave passed on. If you date too soon, people may judge you. Men are more likely to date after their spouse has passed on. The responsibility of caring for children and aged parents seems to fall on the women more. Widows in some parts of the world are cruelly treated. Do not listen to others. When your heart feels like you should date, you should go ahead. However, dating does not erase the grief and that is perfectly fine. When we fall in love, we have a great sense of energy and euphoria. Dating helps brings back the humour. Eventually, one will even learn to joke about death. Joking about Dave now helps to break the tension. Humor makes situations less stressful. It is still very much possible to love someone even after they have died. It is crucial to pay attention to the everyday interaction with our partners. You must turn towards their bid. One way to re-ignite the spark in a relationship is to try new activities. Partners have to be able to overcome conflict. You can’t control whether you fall in love. There is always Option B and we can still find joy.

Resilience in love means finding strength from within that you can share with others. Finding a way to make love last through the highs and lows. – Sheryl Sandberg

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Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant (Part 1)

Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

Introduction. I met Dave Goldberg in the summer of 1996. He was very comforting and lovely. It was love at first sight. He was assuring and very understanding. However, 11 years into our wedding, one day, he suffered from a heart attack while on a treadmill and passed on. I was in utter shock and disgust and didn’t believe that this was happening to me. My kids very truly upset too. I felt like I was in a void. At times, I felt like I could hear Dave calling out to me in my sleep. Ordinary events were painful to go through. I was worried my kids would never be the same again. The songs on the radio weren’t helping too. People encouraged to let grief run its course. Adam Grant gave me advice too. The fact is that many people who have lost parents turn out to be resilient. Time will heal the wounds, or so they said. I have no choice but to get over the shock. This book is about how to build resilience. Adversity is everywhere. I am fortunate for the support I have received throughout. It is possible to find greater meaning. Life is never perfect and sometimes we have live Option B.

Resilience is the strength and speed of our response to adversity – and we can build it. It isn’t about having a backbone. It’s about strengthening the muscles around our backbone. – Sheryl Sandberg

This book is about the capacity of the human spirit to persevere. We look at the steps people can take, both to help themselves and to help others. We explore the psychology of recovery and the challenges of regaining confidence and rediscovering joy. – Sheryl Sandberg

Breathing Again. A friend I knew was too trusting and gave a co-worker a ride home. However, he raped her in the end. I offered this lady help. If you don’t believe in all 3, you will find it easier to cope. It is never all your fault and there are things which you might not be able to do better. Learn to stop saying ‘sorry’ after a while. Not everything was terrible after all. We had access to grief counsellors. Working also helps with the pervasiveness bit. However, if you return to work too soon, grief can interfere with the performance. Employers should provide flexible arrangements and financial assistance etc. Humans tend to overestimate how long negative events will impact us. I tried to banish the words ‘never’ and ‘always’ from my vocabulary. The pain temporarily eased up after a while. Humans are also wired for grief. Deep breathing helps me to calm down. The second derivative thoughts were not pleasant at all. I learnt from Buddhism that suffering is inevitable. Over time, my kids and I learnt to respect our feelings. Sometimes, it is necessary to take cry breaks. Focusing on worst case scenarios also had me feel better. We also pray before every meal and thank God for the food. Counting the blessings in your life can make you happier and feel satisfied. We are also financially stable and that is very important to us all. Once, I went for a mammogram and I was alarmed. Thankfully, it was a false positive. Even heartache doesn’t last forever. When life kicks you under, learn to breathe again.

3 P’s can stunt recovery: (1) personalization – the belief that we are at fault; (2) pervasiveness – the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life; and (3) permanence – the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever. – Sheryl Sandberg

Part of every misery, is misery’s shadow… the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. – Sheryl Sandberg

Dealing with grief was like building physical stamina: the more you exercise, the faster your heart rate recovers after it is elevated. And sometimes during especially vigorous physical activity, you discover strength you didn’t know you had. – Sheryl Sandberg

Kicking the Elephant Out of the Room. I went for a college reunion with some of Daves’ friends. Sometimes, asking someone about their illness can comfort them and show that you care. I felt miserable when friends didn’t ask how I was doing after Dave’s passing. People avoid asking because they want to avoid difficult questions. However, the fact is that people who have endured terrible things want to talk about them. Some parents who have lost children also want others to speak about them from time to time. ‘Mum effect’ is when people avoid sharing bad news. By remaining silent in your suffering, you isolate others. It would be good to have friends who ask you difficult questions but do not judge on your answers. People who have been through adversity can connect better with others who are suffering too. Cultural pressure to conceal negative emotions is common. The fact is that most people do not know what to say, especially when it comes to personal matters. I thought that I carrying an elephant around. A month after my husband’s passing, I shared my thoughts openly on Facebook. After that post, I received a lot of love and compassion. Not everyone will be comfortable about talking about personal tragedy. Opening up can improve mental and physical health. Instead of ‘How are you?’; ask ‘How are you today?’. I acknowledged the elephant’s presence and after opening up, many colleagues did reveal that they did not dare to speak up because they were afraid of saying the wrong thing.

I had failed to ask him directly about his health not because I didn’t care, but because I was worried about upsetting him. – Sheryl Sandberg

When life gives you lemons, I won’t tell you a story about my cousin’s friends who died of lemons. – Postcard

When someone is struck ill with cancer, you can ask ‘I know you don’t know yet what will happen – and neither do I. But you won’t go through this alone. I will be there with you every step of the way.’ Or ‘I acknowledge your pain. I’m here with you. – Sheryl Sandberg

The Platinum Rule of Friendship. Adam encountered a kid, named Owen. He had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and later took his own life. When you are feeling stressed, you need an outlet. For instance, you can call a counsellor at any time of the day. Sometimes when we feel like reaching out to help, we might suddenly hold back because we fear saying the wrong thing or offending the person. This is like choosing escape over empathy. The trick is just to show up, showing up can make a huge difference in a friend’s life. It’s hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes when you are not the one suffering. Instead of saying ‘I will do anything to help you’, you could say ‘let me get you a burger, let me know what you not take’. Specific acts are more useful for someone in need. Even holding someone’s hand can be a big help too. One can offer comfort to those closest to the tragedy and gain support for those further away from the tragedy. We all grieve differently. It is very rude to suggest that someone should be over their grieving period.

Growing up, I was taught to follow the Golden Rule: treat others as you want to be treated. But when someone is suffering, instead of following the Golden Rule, we need to follow the Platinum Rule: treat others as they want to be treated. Take a cue from the person in distress and respond with understanding – or better yet, action. – Sheryl Sandberg

Self-Compassion and Self-Confidence. Coming to grips with ourselves. Self-compassion is rarely talked about in our society. Everyone makes mistakes. These imperfections make us human. Self-compassion is the key to a faster recovery from trauma. Focus on the mistake and not the person’s character. Guilt and shame are completely 2 different feelings. Learn from your mistakes and own up to them. Writing down your thoughts in a journal might be useful and has much therapeutic effects. The more you acknowledge the negative emotions that you are feeling, the better you can tackle them. Talking into a voice recorder can have a similar effect to writing. Learn to understand that your worth is not tied to your actions. Self-confidence is the key. I am grateful to have a compassionate boss, Mark Zuckerberg. I start journaling and realized that it helped me tremendously. Even when you are really down, you can focus on 3 small wins and write them down daily. Just reminding that something had gone well that day can improve your day instantly. Learn to count your contributions too. Take one extra step even though you are afraid. Learn to treat those who are undergoing a tough time as regular team members and praise their work occasionally. The number of single mums are rising and a lot of them are having a tough time too. Over time, I journaled less. I want to move on and start living again. I am not alone.

Psychologist Kristin Neff describes self-compassion as offering the same kindness to ourselves that we would give it to a friend. It allows us to respond to our own errors with concern and understanding rather than criticism and shame. – Sheryl Sandberg

This loss of confidence is another symptom of pervasiveness: we are struggling in one area and suddenly we stop believing in our capabilities in other areas. Primary loss triggers secondary losses. – Sheryl Sandberg

Bouncing Forward. The one I become will catch me. When you can’t change a situation, you will have to change yourself. Some people can experience post-traumatic growth. This means bouncing forward. It can take 5 forms: forming deep relationships; discovering meaning in life; gaining appreciation; finding personal strength and seeing possibilities. One can walk away with greater resolve. The little things do not bother you so much anymore. If you can find your why to live, you can find meaning to live. I appreciate my close ones more. If you visit poorer communities, you might start to appreciate life more. Gratitude is the key to happiness. Now, I celebrate birthdays every year. You do not need to wait for special occasions to show your gratitude. One could write thank you notes. Every day is precious and should be lived to the fullest. Going through difficult times together can cause one to forge stronger bonds together. It is also important to find meaning in suffering. One could do so via spirituality and religious beliefs. It is important to stay hopeful in your darkest hours too. Trauma can help to build resilience. Work can provide a source of meaning. You can energize yourself with meaningful work. A brush with death can lead to a new life. Some believe in co-destiny, where bereaved parents view their child’s life in a larger framework. Parents can do good, which becomes part of their child’s impact on the world.

In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. – Albert Camus

In prosperity our friends know us. In adversity we know our friends. – Old Saying

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Comforting Thoughts About Death that have Nothing to do with God by Greta Christina

Death can seem appalling if you don’t believe in an after-life. In 500 years, no one will remember you. In 5 billion years, the Earth will be boiled. It can make life seem trivial and absurd. But it is certainly possible to not have religious or spiritual beliefs or be an atheist and still be okay towards death. Death allows our life to have meaning. Time passes and we are aware of it passing. With the passing of time comes loss. Without loss, we won’t get to fully experience life’s great moments. The world changes due to the passing of time and I don’t think anyone would want the Earth to be still and captured in one frozen moment. Even though you might pass on, but time still had a part to play during the years you were alive. Your segment on that timeline would have always been there. Dying does not make your time which you were on Earth disappear. We don’t know what happens when we die. However, what matters is we get to be alive and connected.

The fact that time will continue after we die does not negate the time that we were alive. We are alive now, and nothing can erase that. – Greta Christina

The Meaning of Death, Part 1 of Many. For atheist, there isn’t a meaning of death. It simply happens because it happens. This is nothing depressing. As an atheist, you get to create your own meaning in life. How can death shape your experience of life? I see death as something that connects me with the universe. You don’t have to feel guilty when someone else passes away. No one tortured them. Death is just part of the way the world works. The world can seem bleak and cold at times. However, we are part of this world.

You don’t have to torture yourself trying to figure out the motivations of the physical universe. It doesn’t have any. So you can accept the inevitability of death, and get on with your life. – Greta Christina

Motivation and Mid-Life Crises. I went through a mid-life crisis at 40. I realized that time was short. I was aware that I needed to work hard and start writing. Now, I do freelance writing. When you are older, your priorities become clearer. You know that you have to make sacrifices with these priorities. I am a deadline-driven person. Since death is inevitable, might as well use it to give your life meaning. Death has given me clarity on my life. Death is not so bad after all.

Fear, Grief and Actually Experiencing Your Emotions. Go through with it. Death is natural and you didn’t deny it. The fear of death is natural. Sometimes, the best way to deal with strong emotions is to avoid fixing them but just try to feel them. Things don’t have to be permanent to be meaningful. To some, they think that death is no different from not having being born yet. You can create your own meaning in life. We can give companionship and witness to others. It can be incredibly comforting. This is someone who can be by your side when you need them. It is okay to think about death once in a while. It is just human to do so.

The idea that death is a deadline: that knowing life is temporary brings focus to our lives, inspires us to treasure the people and experiences we encounter, and motivates us to do something valuable with the short time we have. – Greta Christina

Lydia’s Cancer and Atheist Philosophies of Death. How can atheist philosophies improve life? Our cat has cancer. What sort of treatment should the cat receive? These are all small and difficult decisions. All animals will eventually die. What you can do is to make the cat as it can possibly be when it is still alive. There are no simple decisions which can be made. Research has shown that those who have religions will try to delay death when it’s clearly imminent. Religion pretends that death is not permanent. For atheists, we believe that when people die, they are fucking dead forever. Ensure that you have time to think about your death. Learn to make informed decisions.

We understand that our own time here is limited. We understand that all we can do for ourselves and for one another is to make that time – however much time it is – as happy and joyful and meaningful as we possibly can. – Greta Christina

Do We Concede the Ground of Death Too Easily? Many of us assume that an having an after-life is favourable. The fear of death cause people to cling to religion. Do you really in a heaven where everyone can live happily ever after? Conflict helps to strengthen us and build our character. What will happen who those make it to Heaven? How will you feel if your loved ones are in Hell? Would our personalities change in Heaven because it is too blissful? Secular views of death are better because they can withstand scrutiny. Your understanding of death should be grounded in reality. We don’t have to be afraid of talking about death. You don’t have to continue living a lie.

Difference between Pessimism and Realism. Atheism can coffer comfort in the face of death. Comfort doesn’t mean eradication of pain and grief. It doesn’t make the grief disappear, but it can lighten the load. Religion doesn’t eradicate grief. Even people who believe in an afterlife might doubt their beliefs. The problem with believing in an afterlife is that what if you go to heaven but your loved ones go to hell? Belief in an afterlife is also not based on any strong groundings. Atheism doesn’t leave you with cognitive dissonance. One’s perspective towards death is truly personal and there is no right or wrong. One should try to frame it such that it is positive and hopeful and meaningful. You should frame reality in a way that offers meaning and hope. Atheism is a safe thing to practice in real life. One can always find new forms of comfort and meaning with atheism.

Grief Beyond Belief: How Atheists are Dealing with Death. There is an online support group called ‘Grief Beyond Belief’. Community groups like this are useful and help give strength. Many non-believers pretend to accept the concepts of the afterlife etc. Religious beliefs about death can make atheists feel alienated sometimes as well. The concept of an afterlife is not shared by everyone. Usually, a death of a close one is often a trigger for questioning or abandoning religious faith. Sometimes, religious people hijack the funeral proceedings and make it seem religious in nature. Sometimes, they do so and are not aware of it. In some cultures, ‘atheism’ might seem invisible. Many people fault atheism for being inferior to religion because it sees death as the ultimate end. The atheism community is certainly growing in numbers.

We point out that a philosophy that accepts reality is inherently more comforting than a philosophy based on wishful thinking – since it doesn’t involve cognitive dissonance and the unease of self-deception. – Greta Christina

Atheists in Foxholes. People suggest that in near moments of death, people will turn to religion. This is untrue. There are many atheists who have had near death experiences but who are still atheists. When people want to believe something, they tend to exclude or dismiss all contradictory evidence. Hence, this is a poor argument. Some spiteful religious people might say that atheists are immoral or that they don’t have meaning in their lives.

Atheism and the Argument from Comfort. Religion doesn’t universally offer comfort. Religion might expose young children with images of Hell. Some people who give up religion feel that a burden has been lifted from there. Atheists see the world as it is and understand that it operates based on physical laws. Death is simply a problem that has to be faced.

Humanism in a Shitstorm. I want to work with other humanists and learn about tiehr trials and tribulations. I had cancer, but thankfully, it was treatable. However, I didn’t turn to religion. Humanism has been a profound comfort for me. I understood that things happen because of natural causes. We have little control over what happens to us. I have the power to learn from my experiences. Being able to be born is a miracle already.

There’s no way I’m going to be the same person after this shitstorm than I was before it. But I get to decide what lessons I learn from it. I get to infuse it with meaning. And that’s the power I have. – Greta Christina

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Lost Cat by Caroline Paul

(A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology) This book is from a cat’s point of view, imagined by the cat owner. Cats are generally afraid of water. They only think about danger, food, fear and anxiety.

I (Caroline) was flying an experimental plane. Tibby and Fibby were my cats. My girlfriend, Wendy, brought me ice cream. I took too much morphine as a pain killer. I had to undergo surgery as well. Finally I was home in San Francisco. My cats were delighted to see me. They wanted ear scratches and chin rubs. Fibby was energetic and loved attention from adults. Tibby, on the other hand, was a shy male cat. He only liked to stay in his safe zone. He was wimpy by nature, although I tried changing him. My cats were an inspiration to me. Suddenly, with warning, Tibby disappeared and ventured into the great unknown.

Now, I started to panic. 10 days passed and still there was no sign of my cat. It wasn’t my style to keep them cooped up at home. I consulted a psychic for advice and she assured me that Tibby would be fine. However, he did not return to me as the psychic expected. I asked God on where Tibby could be. I received no answer from the heavens.

I visited the animal shelter to check. Despite re-visiting it every 3 days, Tibby was not there. The volunteers had seen cats go missing for years and they could still return. Five weeks after his disappearance, Tibby re-appeared.

He said ‘Meow’. The vet weighed him and he weighed slightly more. What led him to run away from me? In the past, locking him up didn’t work as he would keep banging on the door. I went on a mission to see where Tibby when during the 5 weeks that he was away.

I followed him to the den of iniquity. Tibby’s appetite wasn’t good now. Was it possible to follow a cat? I approached a shop and they gave me a GPS tracking device. The device had to be very small. I bought a specialised cat tracker. It would be attached to his blue collar. It fit snugly.

Cats are the slipperiest of domestic animals. Thousands of years of genetic coding has taught them to melt into azaleas, lie motionless behind garden gnomes, glide along fence tops, and slink under benches. – Caroline Paul

12 hours after exploring, he re-appeared. His movement pattern was highly chaotic. It was all over the place on the grid. He was moving in a haphazard manner with no aim in mind. I expected clear straight lines from a cat.

Now, we wanted a cat camera as we couldn’t interpret the GPS results well. Tibby was suspicious over the new device around his neck. The camera would capture a photo every minute that he spent outside the home. I wanted to know how large his territory was. Logic and denial thoughts played rapidly in my mind. Why would he suddenly leave for 5 weeks after 13 years of warm tender care? I hope he realized that the outside world was not as comfortable as home. Was it a spiritual journey? He was always in the yard and the photos didn’t do good.

We re-programmed the camera to take photos every 5 minutes. The photos were all the same when he was sleeping. My two cats were twins but I doubted if they got along with each other well. I wanted to know Tibby’s new food source. I tried to give him different varieties of food, but he didn’t seem to like them much. We were making headway in understanding our cat. I finally decided to try talking to it. This could be done by reading his facial expressions.

I attended an animal communication class. The teacher claimed her methods had scientific backing. You need a loving intent and followed by thoughts. Learn to recognize and record. Soon, I was able to get the hang of talking to my cat and interpreting his replies. Each ‘meow’ means something.

Fibby was much more expressive and liked talking to us. One day, Fibby suddenly disappeared. She collapsed while walking suddenly. We drove her to the emergency room. It was a tumour growth in her stomach. She was bleeding profusely. The vet suggested putting her down. At that moment, I was already crying. Fibby started whimpering. It all came so sudden. After listening to the doctor’s advice, she was gone.

Tibby never greeted me upon arrival for 13 years. I could sense he was wondering where Fibby was. Tibby went around the house looking for Fibby. He was upset and looked at her for days on end. Tibby was still in the denial stage of life. Denial was the first stage of grief. Next, we could see that he was turning angry. The next stage was bargaining. During the depression phase, Tibby hardly moved around much as read from the GPS lines. Even Wendy, who hated cats, started crying. It’s like a kitty light had been extinguished.

Weeks past and Tibby overcame the grief. He was moving about more. This is the last phase of grief, acceptance. I started looking for a pet detective! A lot of them use ESP and dogs to track. A lot of detectives were clueless when I told them my cat was previously lost. I read a book on private investigation.

Wendy wanted to help me and suggested that we re-look at the GPS maps. Too much information would be difficult to interpret. Now, she superimposed all the pink lines together and looked for the thicker lines. Soon, it was clear where the Tibby had been.

It turned out that Tibby was often venturing 10 blocks away. I was disappointed because Tibby could hear my crying during his absence from home and didn’t bother at all.

My girlfriend was now a full cat person. Our plan was to interview a few houses where Tibby was suspected to visit.

We wrote a flyer for each of the 6 houses. The plan was to find out which food he really liked because he had a poor appetite at home.

The phone didn’t ring.                                                                                                        

Tibby started eating more at home now. Ringing doorbells were usually not responded to. We tied a note to his collar.

In sum, a ringing doorbell signalled someone who had neither your phone number, e-mail, or Twitter account. Why would you want to speak to them? – Caroline Paul

The phone didn’t ring.

We were not close to our neighbours and seldom acknowledged each other’s presence. It was ironic that Tibby knew the neighbours better than we. A man in the house started talking to us after we rang his doorbell. We didn’t receive a few responses from houses and vowed to try again the next day. One man recognized our cat. They were the ‘cat stealers’.

We had the ‘cat stealers’ over for tea. The cat stealers looked like decent people. It turns out that they were cat whisperers, not cat stealers. Tibby could recognize them and he purred. They often left food outside their house and Tibby could eat them. They rented their house out to Russians previously. The couple used to have 15 cats and kept a file on each of them. They fed Friskies to the stray cats. It was Halloween candy. It was now that I realized that they were cat lovers. All along, I wanted someone to blame for Tibby’s disappearance and knew that I wasn’t right to do that. They even tied a note on his collar. They were actually just like me.

Tibby wasn’t lost. He just wanted to explore. I felt dumb to spend so much on technology when a simple conversation would do the trick. SF was really quite a closed city. I found the truth and thanked the cat whisperers.

If cats don’t like where they are living, they’ll just move into another house. Cats choose. – Cat Whisperer

I visited the Banya at their house. It was a kitty paradise. It was like a maze with many entrances and exits. The truth was this: Tibby just didn’t want to be at home. Fibby was always mean to Tibby. The point was not that Tibby left, it was more important that he returned.

There are 7 possible morals of the story. Technology is awesome. Don’t rely on technology all the time though. If you’re depressed, go out more and see the world. Bonkers is in the eyes of the beholder. Sooner or later, everyone becomes a cat lover. Tibby was settled now. He would only disappear for short periods of time now. We offered it Friskies regularly.

You can never know your cat. In fact, you can never know anyone as completely as you want. But that’s okay, love is better. – Caroline Paul

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