I have been living in constant worry about what might happen if our economy collapses, which almost happened yesterday. Luckily, the government came to an agreement to put a stop to the shutdown, averting an economic crisis. The citizens of Venezuela, whose economy collapsed in the early 90's, were not so lucky, and were forced to find means to live where there were no means. In this TED Talk video, we find incredible ingenuity in the Venezuelan people, who took to an abandoned tower to build their homes. The "Tower of David" is a small city within a city, becoming home to hundreds of people, stores, taxis, and services like barber shops and electronics repair. It's rough around the edges, but it is so inspiring to see how these people adapted to the changing times, and utilized everything around them to make a "new normal." Here's one of my favorite TED Talks, "Ingenious Homes in Unexpected Places," given by Iwan Baan:
TED Talks: Ideas worth spreading
> View my TED profile
> View Jill's TED profile and video
While everyone else was watching the MTV Video Music Awards, I was watching TED Talks online. (Incidentally, the New York Times shares my view on the award show.) I've always found TED Talks to be fascinating, but as my life took a hectic turn, I watched these talks less and less until I eventually stopped altogether. My boyfriend Corey has gotten me back into watching them by recommending a fascinating one: "Jill Bolte Taylor: My Stroke of Insight" about one woman's struggle to survive a stroke. The description on the website is more accurate: "Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions -- motion, speech, self-awareness -- shut down one by one. An astonishing story." Truly astonishing.
I have a personal tie to this story, a tragic tie. My mother passed away from a brain aneurysm. I don't say she lived with, or suffered with, because she didn't know she had it and died suddenly when a blood vessel ruptured in the frontal cortex of her brain. I was the one who found her, and I've been working with a wonderful therapist since 2012 to try and cope with the trauma.
I wish I could've been inside my mother's brain when the aneurysm occurred, much like Jill was observing the deterioration of her mental faculties and motor function. Sometimes, I wish it would've been me having an aneurysm, not my mom. I wonder if she knew it was coming, or that something was going to happen. I wonder if she felt pain, or sadness, or fear. I hope not. I hope she experienced it like Jill did. A beautiful adventure. I'd be a lot less sleep deprived if I had a definite answer.
To switch back to a positive note, I'm now obsessively downloading and watching all of these amazing TED Talks. Some on mental illness, sleep, bacteria. My boyfriend Corey tells me that they're also available on Netflix, which is awesome. (I'm a late bloomer just discovering Netflix for the first time.) I'm always craving brain food, and I've been pleasantly surprised at how much of it I've gotten from my boyfriend Corey. I'm really happy and lucky to have him. Thanks, Corey.
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