Facebook is my go-to app, obviously.

Every month, I get a few texts or emails from friends asking, simply, How are you?

I try to sum up my state of mind quickly and cheerfully. Then when multiple follow-up questions follow — that’s when I get moderately annoyed.

Because, most of these real-life friends are my Facebook…

Measuring me, every day, may seem obsessive. But, it works.

This conversation happened — amusing to me — with a fairly new friend, sitting in his car in a parking lot, about 18 months ago:

“I love numbers,” I said. “And the more numbers I know about myself, the better. I measure everything.”

My fairly new friend’s face dropped. I…

Soon, connecting with others will be normal again.

Few days back, I identified three words I am choosing to favor in 2021. These are: Connect. Focus. Overdeliver.

Choosing three words to live by, for the next year, is an annual exercise that grabs me every January. …

Why it’s more meaningful to me than the first day in January.

If you didn’t jumpstart your January three days ago, you get a second chance. That comes as soon as — tomorrow, January 4.

Make that: Monday, January 4, 2021.

Naturally, the new year brings about dozens of texts, graphics, emojis and earnest wishes for “Happy New Year!”.

But, I am…

Home, alone. Mostly.

Here is my usual year-end compilation of things that brought me the most joy (or not) last year, more or less. Except, 2020 wasn’t usual at all. The covid pandemic impacted all of us, whether we know anyone who got the virus, or worse, or not. …

Meeting others and making new friends wasn’t as easy in 2020 as it usually is. Covid restrictions kept us home, remember? But here are the most remarkable and memorable people I met in person in this last year, nonetheless. (They also are the only “new people” I met all year, given the pandemic).

“Met in person” — that’s the clarifying phrase here. We must recall that 2020 was the Year of the Zoom, when most relationships formed online or shifted online. .

There were plenty of others I “met” last year. — but most of these were via online groups and webinars. …

Low-cost coffee daily for a lifelong coffee drinker? I’m on it.

I’m unusual, I’d say. I would make a bad first date. I don’t follow popular culture like a typical American, so I fall short at small talk. I’m not exactly open to hearing what others thrive on talking about — The Bachelor, seriously! — because I’ve got my own favorite…

One of the 50 drop-out girls in Sierra Leone we sent back to school.

My 10 biggest takeaways from a fabulous year.

Belately, here are highlights of my year just past — the good alongside the sad. For context, I have just finished 2–1/2 years living in Kambia, Sierra Leone — coming and going, that is. …

Breakups happen. Maybe this is what it takes to get over him.

The white dress I wore for our “declaration” in May 2018.

The Facebook notification — So-and-so added a new photo — showed up at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.

“Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. (Last Name),” was the caption.

These December-and-January weeks in Sierra Leone — where I live and volunteer with adolescent girls — are known as the Festive Season. Kambia District…

So this is Christmas, John Lennon sings.

I used to be all about Christmas: a time that flowed with preparations, presents, decorations, ornaments, trees, wreaths, foods, cards, carols and conversations, even midnight services. When I was surrounded by family in familiar settings.

This Christmas, I am experiencing nearly none of that.

Not by choice. Rather, it’s just…

Katherine Cassidy

What matters more than educating girls in Africa? Ex-state legislator in Maine now living in Sierra Leone: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

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