Will the metaverse happen?

The rumors were (disconcertingly) true: Facebook is now Meta, a company focused on the metaverse, VR, AR, and apparently “XR” technologies. I watched the keynote, which is less a keynote address and more of an extended commercial for Meta and its products, particularly the ones still in development.

Online reactions to the spectacle started going up before the livestream even ended, and I took some time tonight, laid up as I am with strep throat, to read a decent-sized chunk of them.

I’m still puzzled by the “Look at Facebook flounder! They’re not long for this world!” crowd. In what universe is Facebook–excuse me, Meta–about to go under? They’re not even about to replace Zuckerberg. No one is leaving Facebook and its services, at least not in numbers that have any meaning for such an enormous enterprise. 70% of Americans use Facebook. I remain the only person I know who has actually deleted my account in 2021. Plenty of people “take breaks” from Facebook, but they tend to keep using Messenger at the very least. And that’s not to mention the fact that Facebook is most likely still tracking me, and definitely hasn’t deleted all of the data I gave them during my 14+ years of use. Luckily for me, I didn’t quit for privacy reasons.

In the same vein, a lot of commentators are still laughing at the very idea of the metaverse, which is not new and has been touted as “the next big thing” multiple times over the past 30+ years. Several people I’ve spoken to have said something along the lines of, “No one’s asking for something like that, so there’s no way it’ll work.” But no one asked for smartphones or online social networks, either. These products were answers to questions that hadn’t been asked when they first appeared. They were (and are!) schemes to extract more money from people. The idea that corporations exist to serve us, the everyday individual consumers, is incredibly dated and naive. Companies like Apple and Facebook exist to serve their investors and their advertisers, not the people who actually use their consumer-facing products on a day-to-day basis.

“The most popular games today aren’t the ones that fully immerse players in a virtual world; the screen interface isn’t a problem that particularly needs to be solved.”


It doesn’t matter whether it’s a “problem” or not, or whether we want it or not. What matters is that Facebook has decided that this is the future of the internet, and they have the money and the power to make that vision come true. Unlike many previous pushers of the metaverse, Facebook is not a startup. It’s a powerful and deeply entrenched part of individual peoples’ lives and corporate business plans. What you want is irrelevant: if your employer requires you to attend meetings via the Horizon platform, your choice is gone. And a company as big as Facebook can ensure that employers eventually do just that.

There’s also a lot of incredulity about people “wearing stuff on their faces.” But thirty years ago did you imagine that everyone would carry little computers around and use them to watch TV shows, listen to “podcasts,” and read “tweets” every time they experienced a fleeting moment of boredom? Probably not. We adopted the mobile internet with lightning speed and are only now starting to glance back and wonder what happened and if it might not have been such a great idea. Once miniaturization gets far enough along the production pipeline and enough corporations adopt metaverse platforms, nothing will stop VR goggles and AR glasses from going mainstream, for work and play.

Another argument is that the metaverse already exists. Some say it’s in the form of immersive gaming, some say it’s the internet itself. I get the Fortnite argument, but Fortnite is a single game, not a near-infinite virtual world in which you can have your own “home.” It’s not even close to the same thing that Zuckerberg is describing (and building as we speak).

The idea that the metaverse is already here in the form of the internet itself is compelling, and it describes why I think the Facebook version of the metaverse will probably come to be: the call is coming from inside the house. More than one third of us already spend almost all of our time online. And we’ve known for a long time that younger people are spending nearly all of the “free time” they have on a connected device. There’s no giant leap to be taken here. We’re already living on the internet.

By far the worst take I’ve seen is Kara Swisher’s in the Times. How can anyone believe that Meta is just a distraction tactic to make us forget about “The Facebook Papers” et al? Facebook has been semi-openly thinking about this concept for years, and it’s been in the public consciousness forever–there were versions of the metaverse in science fiction literature even before Neal Stephenson gave it a name that stuck in 1992. I find the idea that Facebook cares that much about the recent “revelations” in congress laughable. My guess is that next to nothing will come of this very quiet “uproar.” I’ve even wondered if it was no more than a feeler intended to gauge how much the public really cares about what Facebook and other social media are doing to us and our kids (answer: not a whole lot!).

Along similar lines, Ian Bogost sees the metaverse as a mere vanity project, “the private vessel of trillionaire intergalactic escape.” That’s a take I have to strongly disagree with. The metaverse isn’t about Mark Zuckerberg, or any other tech baron. It’s about us. Not about helping us, or connecting us, or giving us new streams of income, or giving us creative outlets, or any of the other nonsense that got heaped on our virtual plates in that keynote. It’s about separating us from our money, the same thing every for-profit venture has ever been about at bottom. What makes this venture unique is that just like smartphones and social media, we’ll probably eat it up without any resistance whatsoever. In ten years, I’m betting we’ll be spending our real money on fake clothes, fake art, fake houses, fake games, fake concerts, fake socialization, fake lives. Sure it’s been tried before–several times, in fact–but I think now the timing is right.

By far the most fascinating takedown of the metaverse is that it’s “boring.” People have been saying this about Facebook itself for ages, and now they’re saying it again about both the social network and the upcoming metaverse project. But if Facebook is so boring, why are we still addicted to it? If the metaverse is so dull, why have dozens of techies and startups and corporations tried to create it so many times and at such great expense? Face it: we’re pretty helpless in the face of masterfully engineered tech. And the metaverse will be nothing if not carefully calibrated to keep us hooked.

Done and Dusted

It’s been over a week since I permanently deleted all of my social media accounts, including The Big One: Facebook. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time–for years!–but felt like I couldn’t. What if I missed out on events, and pictures of events, and updates on people’s babies and kids and houses and jobs? What if someone couldn’t get in touch with me? What if I lost touch with people I liked? Where would everyone go to see what I was up to? What if I was tormented by regret after torching the carefully curated set of updates and images that I had come to think of, in what I can only describe as an unhealthy and sinister way, as Me? Where would I be if not on Facebook?

The answer is, right here. Yes, on this blog occasionally, but more accurately HERE, “IRL,” carrying on as usual. Still more accurately, carrying on as was usual before the grenade of social media was set off in our midst.

The online Me has always held a terrible power over the little-m me in my life. I remember loving the “personalization” aspect of AOL Instant Messenger away messages, and then the personalization of Myspace page backgrounds, profile content, and profile page soundtracks. Look, it’s my little corner of the internet! It was like having an online bedroom with all the right posters on the walls.

For adults my age, Facebook and Instagram serve those same purposes today, 15-25 years later. Especially for those of us prone to the compulsive scrolling and “checking” that characterized my own relationship with social media, and especially after the arrival of the smartphone took social media off of our laptops and put it in our pockets 24/7.

For me, trying to “cut back” on screen time while still using social media was like trying to stop smoking with a pack of cigarettes still laying on the coffee table. You have to flush them down the toilet. As long as they’re there, you won’t be able to stop thinking about them. You’ll reach for them compulsively, out of habit and even muscle memory, and once your hand makes contact with that crinkly cellophane packet, you’re going to smoke one. Just one, just for ten minutes, and then you’ll “stop” again, rinse and repeat.

After only 24-48 hours, my brain started working differently. Several times I found myself laughing at a joke I had thought of while driving or watering the lawn or folding laundry. After a couple more days, I realized that some kind of semi-dormant inner monologue, which had become quiet and boring without me even realizing it, was having a renaissance. My thoughts wandered more freely, my trains of thought became longer and more creative, and despite still having music and podcasts available, I began spending more time in silence.

When I do listen to music, I’m choosing albums I haven’t listened to in years and playing them straight through. I realized that I had been listening to a lot of the same music all of the time: light, fast stuff. I had been skipping a lot of songs I thought I didn’t like. I had labeled a lot of music I used to enjoy “sad” or “too slow,” but now I’m enjoying it again.

Things that used to make me feel harried and rushed and frustrated have started to feel leisurely and relaxing: doing a long workout on my exercise bike, reading a chapter of a book, even working. I’ve realized that this is because I no longer feel compelled to interrupt myself by “checking” social media. The compulsion to pick up my phone even when it is still and silent has ebbed away.

I’ve started to forget where my phone is. One day I left it in the kitchen from 9am until almost 2pm. I’ve stopped bringing it with me to the bathroom (yes, I really used to do that), I’ve stopped keeping it right beside me while watching TV or playing Yahtzee at night, I leave it inside my purse while driving instead of propping it carefully on the dashboard.

For years, since before I even got one in 2015, I thought that smartphones were the problem. I thought the devices themselves were the reason why no one could stop staring at a screen. But it seems that isn’t true. It’s what’s on the phones that makes them so hard to put down.

Before I deleted my account, I wrote on Facebook that I would be leaving in a couple of days, along with links to some of the articles that helped me make the decision. A few people left comments: “Good for you!” “I’ll miss the photos of your kids.” “I’ve been thinking of doing the same thing…”

I’m sure most people on my “Friends List” didn’t see the post at all. I wrote nothing in the most active Facebook group I was part of, a 6-year-old group that felt quite close-knit. I was even in a private messaging sub-group with several other members.

The only people who have reached out since I deleted everything are people I keep in touch with via text or phone call anyway. This doesn’t surprise me, although it would have both surprised and saddened me a year or two ago. Since I started thinking more deeply about social media and how it works, I’ve realized that one of the biggest “benefits” of these platforms is a lie we tell ourselves: “We believe everyone deserves to be connected,” Mark Zuckerberg says. We use it to keep in touch and strengthen our relationships, we tell ourselves. It’s about connection.

But how strong can these connections be when we can only maintain them through a third party that also distracts us, advertises to us, and sells us? I had friends on Facebook I messaged with multiple times every day, but those connections have apparently disappeared without a trace now that I don’t use the platform. I have a neighbor down the street who I occasionally go for walks with, have over for dinner, or meet for a drink––and in a way, my very intermittent connection with her is stronger than my near-constant connection with those online friends. And it’s not just because we meet in person. I would say the same thing about my now-long distance friends from sixth and seventh grade who I schedule periodic phone and video calls with. We don’t require a dedicated platform to keep in touch.

Do I miss my online friendships? Yes, I miss the people themselves. But I don’t miss the constant nagging feeling of FOMO caused by the medium we used to communicate. I couldn’t be on Facebook Messenger 24/7––I have a job! But when I wasn’t “checking” it regularly, I always felt like I was missing out. Oddly enough, now that I actually am, it doesn’t bother me.

An unexpected side effect of giving up social media: my memory is changing. It’s not that my memory is better, per se, but it’s more open and accessible. I make connections to the past more easily, and the memories that come up are richer and more complete than they used to be. I make more random-feeling associations, and am reminded of past experiences and feelings in less expected ways.

Over the weekend I took my road bike out to a long, complex system of paved trails. I was trying out clipless pedals for the first time, and was a bit nervous. I left my phone in my car and ended up riding for over an hour without realizing that more than 25 or 30 minutes had passed. With nothing else pulling at my attention, I found it fairly easy to concentrate on practicing locking and releasing the pedals, let my mind wander through plans and memories, and enjoy my surroundings all at the same time. I realized it had been quite some time since I did an activity that required both mental concentration and physical skill. It had been a while since I learned something completely new. And instead of feeling draining or daunting, it felt refreshing.

After slow work days, I used to feel even more tense, anxious, and drained than I would on busy work days. It’s become clear that this was because on slow work days, I spent a lot of time on social media, flicking back and forth between Facebook and Instagram, looking for something that would hold my attention and give me some content to latch onto for more than a few seconds at a time. Now when I have free time, I read a long-form news article, finish a chapter of the book I’m reading, dig out the latest London Review from my nightstand, fold a load of laundry, trim something scraggly in the yard, or clean the kitchen. Regardless of how busy work is on a given day, I feel fine at 5pm. I don’t feel stressed or rushed. Instead of thinking about “catching up” on social media, I just think about seeing my family.

Does this seem like an awful lot of change for a single week without social media? Yes, it does. It is. I’m realizing just how plastic my brain is. The rut I was in with social media was deep, and long, and very, very easy to fall into. But climbing out of it isn’t nearly as hard as I expected.

I keep coming back to the idea of requiring a dedicated platform to keep in touch with people we consider friends. This is the double-edged sword of online social networks: on the one hand, you have access to far more––and potentially more like-minded––people than you ever did before; on the other hand, does the value they add to your life outweigh the negative effects of the platforms you connect over? These platforms steal your time, manipulate you (yes, they do), sell you to corporate interests, and who knows what else.

There’s also the fact that many of the people we have on our Facebook “friends lists” are adding almost no value to our lives at all. Does that sound harsh? Think about it: my list contained people I met while couchsurfing 10 years ago, people I took science class with in 2004, people I shared a dorm building with for 6 months in 2007, even some people I went on one date with and never saw again. I know I’m not the only person whose online list of 300, 400, 500+ “friends” contained a vast majority that couldn’t be considered remotely close. Thirty years ago, those connections would be appreciated for what they were at the time and then allowed to lapse. They could be kept up via purposeful effort––calling or writing––if they happened to be deeper or more genuine than usual. Why do we now feel the need to collect these acquaintances and keep seeing updates on their lives for years and decades after we have any meaningful contact? Maybe we should be realistic about what these pseudo-relationships are: minute drains on our time, our attention, and even our emotional energy that can add up to a pretty big net loss.

Am I saying that everyone you consider a friend needs to “add value” to your life? Well… yes. That’s what friends, both close ones and our more expanded social networks, do. These are reciprocal relationships that are sometimes unbalanced for periods of time––you might lose touch with someone, fall out with someone, someone might be busy or sick and unable to give back––but they tend to either balance out over time or fade away over time. Online social networks have made a new phenomenon possible: people unwittingly taking emotional tolls on each other without receiving any benefit whatsoever in return. You and that girl from high school see each others’ updates and take up each others’ time and brain space, but you have no beneficial connection! You’re just being forced to take these slight tolls on each other so that third parties can benefit from your presence on the platform. And that’s leaving aside the people on your networks who actually manage to make you feel bad, intentionally or not.

We seem to have entered a new phase in the public conversation about social media: apologetics. The idea that “Today, for better or worse, the world runs on social media” and therefore we should expose ourselves and our kids to it seems incredibly short-sighted. Just because something is relatively new and popular does not mean that we should accept it without question, especially when a growing number of doctors (all kinds––pediatricians, psychiatrists, etc.) are saying that they see it causing significant harm.

We’ve known for years now that this stuff isn’t good for us. Pretending we’re still “not sure” is ridiculous at best.

Here We Go Again

For the twelve billionth time (or so it feels), I find myself hovering over the “delete” buttons of my social media accounts, wondering if I’d be better off without them.

If you’ve been following the Facebook whistleblower news, then you may be feeling the same way. The thing is, nothing she’s said has surprised me at all. I think most people my age who are watching aren’t surprised either, although they might pretend to be. We all know that social media is unhealthy, that it doesn’t make us feel good after we’ve used too much of it, that it affects our quality of life, that it’s addictive, and that it’s especially bad for kids. It’s exactly like alcohol, except that if you look around Instagram for a minute you’ll find more people going dry and chugging non-alcoholic herbal elixirs than you will people leaving social media platforms.

I deleted my Instagram account earlier today. I don’t have Twitter, Snapchat, Tiktok, or WhatsApp. But Facebook persists. I was about to click that button when I remembered that I attended a friend’s wedding a couple of weeks ago and that the pictures featuring me haven’t been posted yet. I was so disgusted with myself: I’m keeping Facebook so that I can see pictures of myself at someone else’s wedding? So that I can subtly show off to a collection of acquaintances who may or may not even see what gets added to my profile? So that I can curate this narcissistic collection of crap that makes me look active and interesting and popular? Gross. So, so, so, so gross. And so immature.

I’ve noticed that social media often makes me feel younger than I am. It takes me (and many others) back to a high school mindset of social posturing, attempting to elicit envy and FOMO. Isn’t it unhealthy for us to remain locked in that emotional space when so many of us have real lives now? We have families, we have important jobs, we have homes to take care of, dogs to walk, meals to prepare, towels to wash, lunches to pack. What’s wrong with us that makes us still care whether Rob from freshman year film class sees a picture of us at age thirty-three?

The answer is that there isn’t anything wrong with us. We’re being manipulated and controlled. We’re addicted to something designed to be addictive. It’s not even a secret anymore, and we still can’t stop because of how powerful it is. This is often where people start rolling their eyes and saying that it’s just the internet, it’s no big deal, it’s just the latest thing, it’s just entertainment. But take a gut-check and see if you really believe that deep-down.

I might still be thinking about this tomorrow morning, but oh well. It merits some deep thoughts.

The Long View

First of all, if you’ve read the book I referenced and think that it’s full of crap, I can only speak for the first 5-6 chapters, the ones relevant to my own and my kids’ lives. I didn’t read past that because we don’t play video games and will never allow them in our house, my kids are not in public school yet, and my kids don’t watch TV. At the moment I’m much more concerned with the prevalence of tablets and smartphones, and with the tendency for parents to give them to younger and younger children, than I am with television or video games. They’re just not parts of our lives yet.

I know there’s been a significant backlash to this book, and to every one like it ever published. “They said TV would rot your brain 60 years ago, and we’re fine.” “Millennials have grown up on the Internet, and we’re fine.” “Calling smartphones ‘heroin’ is just an attempt to scare parents.”

Are you fine, though? Think back to 2008 or 2009. You almost definitely didn’t have a smartphone. If we’re peers, you were probably in college. Now think about how long you typically spent reading at that time. How long could you sit and write? How long could you concentrate on a lab experiment, a classroom discussion, a conversation with a friend, or a sunset? What did you “do” when you were walking to class, waiting in line, or cooking dinner? And what did you “do” when you were stopped at a red light, laying in bed at night, or (for real) sitting on the toilet? 

You didn’t reach for a phone. My point is that, if you’re like me, the internet has wriggled its tentacles into all of those little empty spaces, displacing time we used to spend listening to music, reading a book, chatting, or just staring into space daydreaming, planning, fantasizing, and thinking. Given an empty few minutes, I find myself scrolling Facebook, skimming the news, jumping through online articles, or virtually window-shopping for crap I don’t need. My mental stamina has plunged to almost nil. I find myself feeling “bored” more than I used to, and instead of using my brain to deal with that boredom, I use a screen. Instead of taking up that space with my own thoughts, I use content generated by other people (and companies). The way that my brain works has changed. 

Are these changes inherently bad? Maybe not for you personally. But they make me very, very uncomfortable. I feel dissatisfied with myself. The first time you realize that you just started looking at Instagram while sitting outside watching your kids play is a sobering moment. Do I need to be staring at my children all of the time? No, of course not! But I could be setting a better example by opening a book, or enjoying genuine mental relaxation by just letting my mind wander. The constant flow of novel content is not actually relaxing, and you know that perfectly well from how you feel after laying in bed with your phone before trying to sleep. 

So are books like this one an attempt to scare you? Yes, because many of us need to be scared. Think about how much your brain changed just since having access to the internet. Now think about how much more it has changed since the internet came to live in your pocket. Now think about kids who are handed devices when they’re 12, 8, 5, even in toddlerhood and infancy. Their brains don’t get the chance to develop normally in the first place. Think about how much they’ll struggle to concentrate on anything–and that’s leaving aside how they will (because they definitely will) struggle with age-inappropriate content and social media. 

I am not the most uptight parent, but screen time is where I’ve drawn an absolutely immovable line that won’t budge until my children are adults. My kids do not get “iPad time.” They aren’t allowed to touch our phones. They won’t get smartphones while they live in our home. They’ve never seen a movie. They don’t know what “Paw Patrol” or “PJ Masks” are. And I’m glad. In ten or fifteen years (in fact, probably in one or two years), it won’t matter whether they’ve seen “Frozen” or know who Big Bird is. It will matter what they were doing instead.

“Our job as parents is to have the long view, because children don’t.”

This is where other parents always get mad at me. I had written several paragraphs about why and how you should make and keep your kids screen-free, but I deleted them, because I don’t think I personally can change anyone’s mind about this. Suffice it to say that if you feel harshly judged and cruelly targeted by someone saying kids shouldn’t spend time on screens, then you definitely need to read more on this topic.

Many, many reviews of this and other books repeatedly use the phrase “fear-mongering.” Even if that were true, and the consequences of screen use and overuse aren’t actually very dire… what about that gets people so riled up? Is there something bad or harmful about not using screens? The answer to that question is an emphatic no, so I don’t understand why efforts to curb screen usage, especially in children, make some people so frothily angry. Scratch that, I do know why. There are three big reasons:

  1. Money. If you do work that profits from people overusing screens, then of course you don’t want to reverse that trend.
  2. Selfishness. You like to diddle your phone and you don’t want anyone batting it out of your hand. Or, you like having your kid(s) “occupied” on screens and don’t want anyone making you do more hands-on parenting.
  3. Guilt. You know it’s a problem and the natural human response to being told we are wrong is to get mad.

So go ahead and call it fear-mongering if that comforts you, but you’re only harming yourself and your family by pretending that screen-time is healthy.

I’m trying HARD to change how I use the internet and in particular my phone. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about switching away from a smartphone, but I am too worried about running into major hurdles because of how app-centric our lives have become. I need an app to sign my kids in to school. I need an app to pick up my groceries. I even need an app to turn off my debit card if it gets stolen! At this late date, I don’t think going “dumbphone” is practicable. But I am determined to use my phone as little as possible. I’ve removed all ways to listen and read on it. I’ve removed all apps that steal my time. I’ve turned off all notifications and set a long daily Do Not Disturb time with a text auto-reply.

I wish that I could completely opt out, but it feels impossible, so willpower is the only tool we’ve got.

Here are things I’ve been reading and listening to:

Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras

Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

Deep Work by Cal Newport

The Shallows by Nicholas Carr

Irresistible by Adam Alter

The Ezra Klein Show: this episode & this episode

Jaron Lanier speaking here

And countless other interviews with and articles about authors, thinkers, and “eccentrics” who shun overuse of the internet. I accessed everything above for free.

Back in Texas

I can hardly believe it, but we managed to move our family of four + dog from Provo, Utah to Plano, Texas. We’re settling into our new house, and absolutely loving being back in Texas.

Let me just say that buying and selling homes simultaneously is not for the faint of heart. I thought that buying a house was difficult, but it’s nothing compared to the complex timing processes involved when you have to sell one, too. We had three (three!) sales fall through before we finally landed a solid buyer for our place in Provo. Luckily, we ended up with an amazing, hardworking agent in Texas who managed to get us a rental contract on the house we wanted to buy, which gave us a cushion when our third sale fell through. We only ended up renting the house for two weeks before our purchase could go through, which felt great. We’re homeowners again!

The best things about our new place are that I have an office, we have a fenced yard, and we have few multi-use spaces in the house. By this I just mean that our house is divided up like most modern homes: there’s a garage, a shed, a laundry room, etc. Our old place, because of its age, had a ton of multi-use spaces. The driveway was also the shed and the garage. The master bedroom was also the office. The laundry nook was, well, a nook, so the living room was also the laundry room. For someone like me who loves to be carefully organized, the new house is a huge improvement. We all have plenty of space. Plus: closets! I had to be without them to truly appreciate them.

Right now, in September, I’m trying to take a deep dive back into digital minimalism. I’m re-reading the book (by Cal Newport) and attempting some changes. I’m realizing that our move will enable me to enact many, many more of the “high quality leisure activities” aspects of Newport’s digital declutter plan. I have more opportunities to socialize here, for one thing, but what really stands out to me is that I have space to pursue some hobbies that were recently crowded out of my life, partly by the new-baby phases and partly by the lack of space we experienced in Utah.

There’s already a hobby taking up increasing amounts of my free time: tending to plants. We have a large yard here, and the front is very nicely landscaped, which takes maintenance. The back I want to landscape better, which will be a fun project. And, most interestingly, the house has a fairly large atrium in the center, brightly lit by a skylight. Right now it just contains two boring ferns, but I have plans for two large hanging planters and a collection of herbs and succulents on plant stands on the floor.

An upcoming challenge that my husband and I will take together is to watch less streaming television, too. Our youngest child is now sleeping much better than he used to, which leaves us free to stay up a bit later after dinner. That time has usually been filled with TV, which we often talk over. But now that we’re less tired, I want to fill some of the evenings with board and card games. We have a big collection, some of the board games completely unopened, and it would be really fun to do something interactive together even when we can’t leave the house due to sleeping kids.

My personal biggest challenge at the moment is cutting back on podcasts. Don’t get me wrong: podcasts and wonderful, and I love listening to them while I drive the kids to preschool or fold laundry. But I’ve reached a point where I want to be listening to something all of the time, even when I’m working in the yard or taking a walk, and it’s super distracting. I’m not actually “multi-tasking,” I’m just filling silence. It’s encroaching on the small amount of solitude that I do get to experience.

Here’s to some positive progress in September!