Lessons My Surgery Taught Me Coming Back With Intention in Times of Challenge
Around two years ago, I was just coming out of my recovery frommajor hip surgery for fractures. Before the surgery, I had suffered from increasing pain that went undiagnosed for several years. I consulted with and called upon numerous experts and looked at every resource I could find, without any answers. While you’re living an experience like that, you’re at rock bottom. After my surgery, I underwent months of physical therapy. The stress of the process was overwhelming, but at some point, I had to findmy path forward.
Nobody else can do it for you.
I remember one day in particular, I was with Fred, and I was off of my crutches. We took our first little walk together in our neighborhood— it was probably only a fraction of a mile, but I realized and told him “I can’t go any further or I won’t be able towalk home.” It was so sad to not even be able tomake it down to the cul-de-sac. But recovering from injuries or chronic pain is a sustained effort. It’s a practice, and by definition, a practice involves failure. It involves a whole bunch of minor failures, and you just have to keep going back to your original intention or goal to get to where you’re trying to go. While I typically don’t think“everything happens for a reason,”I do think that you can consistently learn and grow from the things that happen and apply those lessons to other situations you come across. And the lessons that I learned during my recovery — the importance of trusting the process and persisting—have been useful to me in so many other areas of my life. Recently, I’ve started trying to develop a meditation practice. Like many people do when they first start meditating, I wanted to jump in headfirst. But just like the recovery process, meditation is a practice, and the best way to get better at it is by bringing the mind back from distraction.
Things will happen in life that are disruptive and upsetting, but if you can keep your sights focused on your original goal or intention, you can manage life’s stresses to a much greater extent. The lessons I learned frommy surgery were helpful to me professionally, too. Not only can I apply those lessons to help me better empathize with my clients, but the lessons have helped me navigate merging two law firms. When you have two teams who have worked separately and you bring them together, there’s always growing pains associated with it. We’re constantly finding a process that is redundant, or a systemwith room for improvement. It can be overwhelming, but we meet once a week to address these issues. And once a week, we come back to the processes we feel we need to work on. We’re constantly asking ourselves what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and where we can improve. We’re not just doing things because it’s the way we’ve always done them or the way other firms do them, and we just have to keep continually checking in on how we’re doing. Life can be chaotic, and when your professional and personal lives are impacted, it’s important to realize that growth and recovery take time. My hip surgery taught me to trust the recovery process. I didn’t heal overnight. I healed slowly, with sustained effort. When you’re working towards any accomplishment, whether it’s merging two law firms or developing a new skill set, you just have to be consistent and take it slow. You have to figure out how to remain centered and not to allow yourself to be bogged down by any misfortunes you may encounter. And hopefully, you can find a way to appreciate the wonderful things that are happening right in front of you. Otherwise, what’s the point?
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Wednesday, April 22 from 12:00–1:00 p.m.
The workshops are free, but registration is required. Call (757) 690-2470 for more information or to register.
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SOMETHING IN THE WATER WHY ROB BILOTT TOOK ON DUPONT
property provided water for all the cattle and wildlife in the area. Since the sale, the stream had become frothy and discolored, and the animals that drank from it were sick, malformed, or dead, including 153 of Tennant’s 200 cows. When Bilott stumbled upon a letter from DuPont to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the real horror story began to emerge — one that went far beyond the boundaries of Tennant’s farm and into the drinking water of every American. The letter mentioned a mysterious chemical called PFOA, and Bilott requested documentation from DuPont to find out more about it. However, the company refused, so Bilott requested a court order. Soon, dozens of disorganized boxes filled with thousands of 50-year-old files arrived at Bilott’s firm.
Rob Bilott never should have agreed to represent Wilbur Tennant’s case.
The cattle farmer had presented evidence of the strange malady plaguing his cattle to lawyers, politicians, and veterinarians in Parkersburg, West Virginia, but no one took Tennant’s case seriously.
in the mess of documents, but soon, his time as an environmental lawyer helped him see the bigger picture. It became clear that DuPont had orchestrated a massive cover-up regarding their use of PFOA. PFOA is used in the manufacturing of Teflon, and the company had knowingly exposed workers and the Parkersburg water supply to it. Bilott filed a class-action suit as a medical monitoring claim on behalf of the people of Parkersburg, and, as of 2011, a probable link between PFOA and six health conditions, including two types of cancer, has been found.
But when Bilott saw the evidence for himself, it was clear that something was wrong.
The videos and photographs Tennant had collected showed cattle with patchy fur, growths and lesions, white slime coming from their mouths, and staggering gaits. Tennant told Bilott that the abnormal behavior and physical deformities had started after his brother Jim sold his property to DuPont, a chemical company with a big presence in Parkersburg. Jim’s property bordered on Wilbur’s, and a stream running from Jim’s
He was worried he wouldn’t be able to find anything incriminating or even conclusive Because of the medical monitoring claim, plaintiffs can file personal injury lawsuits against DuPont. So far, 3,535 people have. If it weren’t for Bilott and Tennant, the public might have never known the dangers of PFOA. DOYOUR PART TO KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL And Maintain Green Living Spaces for Everyone
jogging and picking up litter, which takes care of your health and keeps your community clean. Anybody can do it: Just throw on your running shoes, grab a bag, head out the door, and pick up any stray bits of trash you see on your morning jog or evening walk.
to better the place you live in. Here are three ways to show your appreciation for a green America this month.
Have you ever walked through a park and seen a plastic bottle or wrapper lying on the ground? If so, did you pick it up and properly dispose of it? You might not have realized it, but in that moment, you took a small step toward keeping your community — and, by extension, America — beautiful! April is Keep America Beautiful Month, and folks who celebrate aim to help each community in every state stay clean and green. Created by the nonprofit organization Keep America Beautiful, this holiday offers a perfect opportunity to roll up your sleeves and work
VOLUNTEER FOR THE GREAT AMERICAN CLEANUP.
IMPROVE RECYCLING THROUGH EDUCATION.
This event is one of America’s largest community improvement programs, with hundreds of thousands of people
An important goal during Keep America Beautiful Month is to spread awareness about recycling. There are various ways to educate those around you about recycling and encourage them to do their part. At work, for example, you can volunteer to lead a recycling initiative by printing off guides and fostering discussions on why recycling is so essential. At home, you can make a commitment with your family to fulfill the three R’s of recycling: reduce, reuse, recycle. To discover more ways to participate in Keep America Beautiful month, visit their website at KAB.org today!
participating each year. In 2019, over 550,000 volunteers participated in the GAC to bring natural beauty back into their communities. 2020 marks this event’s 22nd year, and you can be a part of it this month! Volunteer your time with a local Keep America Beautiful affiliate or another community improvement program close to home. Do your part to clean up your parks and spread awareness today.
If you’re passionate about staying active and cleaning up your neighborhood, then this is the perfect activity for you! Plogging combines
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TAKE A BREAK
Few things change faster than the internet, and how we connect with the internet is constantly evolving. When it comes to wireless capabilities, fourth-generation (4G) networks have been the norm for 10 years. But 4G couldn’t meet demands forever, and there’s already talk of a fifth-generation (5G) network taking center stage. So, what makes 5G different from 4G, and how will it affect consumers and their internet-enabled devices? Simply put, 5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology that enables mobile devices like cellphones and stationary devices like desktop computers to send and receive data without being physically connected to a network via cables. As technology improves and more connection points are established around the globe, new network generations are “released” to represent significant advancements in speed and reach. Consumers will notice the rise of 5G mostly with their smartphones. Apps and services that function using the internet will have fewer delays, faster loading times, more reliable internet access in remote locations, and more stable downloading and uploading capabilities. Experts predict that 5G will provide download speeds of up to 10,000 megabits per second, which is roughly 100 times faster than 4G. While it can take a 4G network upward of 15 seconds to download a simple 5-megabyte music file, a 5G network will be able to download an entire movie in less than two seconds. These network updates are all about speed, but that doesn’t mean you should rush to switch your cellphone over to 5G. Many providers are still testing the service with select markets, and a full rollout of 5G isn’t expected until later this year. Check with your network provider about the options they currently offer and get ready to connect with the world like never before. SO, WHAT IS 5G? A New Horizon in Wireless Technology WHAT ARE THE BASICS? HOW POWERFUL WILL IT BE? WHAT’S NEXT?
EASY DEVILED EGGS
While the kids hunt for Easter eggs in the yard, whip up this easy deviled egg recipe for a hearty snack that’s sure to satisfy any craving.
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
12 large eggs, hard-boiled
1/2 tsp dill weed
Fresh parsley, minced, and paprika for garnish
1/2 tsp fresh chives, minced
1. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, milk, parsley flakes, dill, chives, mustard, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix well and set aside. 2. Cut eggs lengthwise and remove yolks carefully to preserve egg whites. 3. In a small bowl, mash yolks. 4. Mix mashed yolks with mayonnaise mixture. 5. Spoon or pipe the mixture back into the egg whites. 6. Garnish with fresh parsley and paprika. Refrigerate before serving.
Inspired by TasteOfHome.com
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
1 2 3 4
Lessons My Surgery Taught Me
The Lawyer Who Took on a Multibillion-Dollar Company Keep America Beautiful
Easy Deviled Eggs 5G Made Simple
The History of Libraries in America
THE OLDEST LIBRARIES IN AMERICA A STORY OF MANY FIRSTS
A FEW MORE FIRSTS
What’s the oldest library in America? It’s an easy question to ask, but it has an unexpectedly complicated answer. Before the Industrial Revolution generated greater interest in public services, a library’s function and purpose varied widely. Several libraries in the United States claim to be the country’s “first,” but for different reasons. Some believe Harvard University hosted the first library in the United States. Harvard was the first university in the United States, founded in 1636, and clergyman John Harvard seeded the library with a 400-book collection. Soon after, however, Thomas Bray, another clergyman, began establishing the first free lending libraries throughout the colonies to encourage the spread of the Anglican Church. Not surprisingly, most of the libraries’ holdings were theological. COLLEGES AND THE CLERGY
During the 1700s, a few more “first” libraries were established. In 1731, Ben Franklin and a few others started the first subscription library in the United States. Members of subscription libraries could pay to buy books or borrow them for free. In 1757, 60 men founded the Library Company of Burlington in New Jersey, and Thomas Rodman received a charter from King George II to operate the business in 1758. The library still operates under that charter today. The Library of Burlington was the first library to operate out of its own building after a prominent resident donated the land in 1789.
Hampshire, at a town meeting. It was the first tax-supported free public library in the United States and in the world. Not long after that, the Boston Public Library, known as the “palace for the people,” became the first municipal public library in the country. The Boston Public Library was also the first library to have a space specifically for children. Out of all the “first” libraries in the country, these are the most probable progenitors of most libraries today — even if they weren’t exactly “first.”
BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE
In 1833, just as the Industrial Revolution was picking up steam, the Peterborough Town Library was founded in Peterborough, New
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