10 THINGS YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT MARRIAGE

I want to give you a few facts about marriage that you should understand before you engage in this institution. This article is broken into two parts; first, we will examine the evidence and review findings from recent research papers about marriage. Next, I will share a few pearls I have learned almost 10 years into my marriage.

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THE EVIDENCE SHOWS MARRIAGE IS GREATLY UNDERRATED

MARRIAGE WILL LIKELY INCREASE YOUR LIFESPAN:

Overall, there remains a positive relationship between being married and health, which is consistent across different cultures and countries, with poorer health being observed in those who are widowed, unmarried and single. One caveat, however, is the fact that you are more likely to gain weight as a married couple. (Tatagenlo et al, 2017). However, the age when men and women gain weight may be different. It may even occur in different decades. You have to decide whether or not you are willing to deal with it.

YOU ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE MENTALLY SOUND IF YOU ARE MARRIED:

Although the physical benefits to marriage are often touted, there is evidence that marriage also reduces the risk of poor mental health and thus all-cause mortality. In short, those who are married have been shown to have fewer hospital admissions, shorter hospital stays, and are less likely to move into a nursing home. You are less likely to die alone. (Tatagenlo et al, 2017)

MEN APPEAR TO BENEFIT MORE FROM MARRIAGE THAN WOMEN:

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Now, this appears to be counter-intuitive given that women seem more eager to get married compared to men. Evidence shows that men appear to derive greater health benefits from marriage than women. This is likely related to gender roles which are implicit in our culture with women being the de-factor caregivers for the family.

Interestingly young men who suffered early life conditions experienced less mortality when married compared to their unmarried cohorts. However, young women who suffered those same conditions did not experience the same benefit of decreased mortality. I wondered why when I read this and the only reason I could come up with was the fact that women mature a lot earlier than men and are therefore just better equipped to deal with those “early life conditions”.

YOUR CHILDREN WILL EXPERIENCE BETTER HEALTH IF YOU ARE MARRIED:

Previous generations can have a significant impact on the health of future generations. Children of married couples appear to have better health than the children of unmarried couples. Likely because they see these healthy behaviors emulated in their homes at a young age. (Tatagenlo et al, 2017).

WOMEN, SPEAK YOUR MIND!

There is scientific evidence which shows that women who “self-silenced” during a conflict with their spouse have four times the risk of dying, compared with women who did not. (Tatagenlo et al, 2017).

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MARRIAGE PEARLS

YOUR SPOUSE WILL DISAPPOINT YOU AND YOU WILL DISAPPOINT THEM, GET OVER IT!:

You are not perfect, well neither is your spouse. Give each other room to make mistakes and grow. No one wants a perfect spouse but the beauty of marriage is the ability to grow and learn together.

DON’T TRY TO CHANGE YOUR SPOUSE, CHANGE HOW YOU RESPOND TO THEIR FLAWS:

The challenge with marriage is, the fact that it feels like you are trying to grow and mature under a microscope. The truth is, once you marry someone, they get to know all your insecurities, all your “tells”, all your weaknesses, your strengths, they witness all your screw ups and all your successes.

It is very difficult to trust one person with all that information. Consequently, some people try to withhold some of that information from their spouse in order to protect themselves. My advice to you is to pick someone that you can trust with all that information. Pick someone who accepts and covers your faults until you have matured enough to change them. For some people that takes a year for others, it takes 40 years. Are you willing to stay long enough to get a return on your investment?

YOU WILL BE CHANGED FOREVER:

Marriage is like no other contract because it is not a contract it is a covenant. Covenants are different because they are almost impossible to break. In marriage, I can guarantee that you will be challenged like never before even if you have been in a relationship with this person for a long time. I married my college sweetheart whom I had dated for over 4 years. And marriage was still a shock. “Who is this alien?” I thought. Funny thing is, he thought the same thing.

The premise of marriage is a game changer it because it changes your context. After marriage, you think everything will last forever including vices and weaknesses. One of the challenges I faced when I first got married was the “forever” problem. After I got married my spouse’s quirks which I tolerated before the wedding suddenly became unbearable because I feared I would have to deal with them “forever”. I made the mistake of trying to change these perceived faults as soon as possible. In an attempt to “whip us into shape” as they say. Well, let me tell you how terrible that was. It totally backfired and I ended up having some of my faults pointed out. It was a total waste of time.

Now almost 10 years into our marriage, I can honestly say it just doesn’t matter as much. Some of these faults have changed, some haven’t, others I totally forgot about. Frankly, I just stopped caring about changing him and just focused on changing my reaction to these perceived faults. Truth be told I have more faults than he does and I have been so busy working on my own faults that I stopped obsessing about his.

NEVER COMPARE YOUR MARRIAGE TO ANYONE ELSE’S:

No two marriages or relationships are the same. Never compare your relationship to someone else’s because you just don’t know enough even if you think you do. Perception and reality are usually completely different. Instead, focus on the things about your relationship that you want to change and work on them together (but you both have to agree it’s a problem). Otherwise, just work on you. The better you get at interpersonal relationships the more your marriage appreciates in value.

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BE COMMITTED:

Marriage is not for wimps, it is hard and it takes some time to find your rhythm. Confounded by this is the fact that life happens in seasons. Some seasons are just more challenging than others. Although you are married, there is no guarantee that you will experience life in the same seasons. Sometimes my husband’s best seasons in his business are my toughest seasons at work but I must have the capacity to be happy for him and support him through that season.

Some people are more committed to their cell phone providers than their spouses. You may know that Sprint sucks but you are willing to tolerate them much more than you are willing to tolerate your spouse. You cannot be more committed to your 401k investment portfolio than you are to your marriage. Sometimes you are up other times you are down. The point is to put everything in context. Some tough seasons last for a month, others last for 10 years. The question is, how committed are you? Sometimes life will throw you some curveballs such as cancer, the death of a parent, depression, joblessness, infidelity, financial challenges, the death of a child etc, etc, etc. Hard times are a guarantee but whether or not your marriage will stand is not.

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MARRIAGE IS NEVER 50–50:

This is one of the greatest misconceptions about marriage. Sometimes you will give 20%, other times you will give 70%. All that matters is that your marriage benefits from each spouse’s investment. Personally, my husband has given up so much to support my dream of becoming a physician. He has given up job opportunities, turned down business and deferred certain dreams to make my dream a possibility. Now as I near the completion of my training, we are making adjustments to maximize his opportunities.

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LOVE ENTERS THROUGH THE EYES AND LEAVES THROUGH THE EYES:

I once heard this line in a movie “Love enters through the eyes and leaves through the eyes”. I thought it was really interesting. The challenge is finding someone who looks physically attractive and also looks good on paper. My advice is to focus on values more than looks. Yes, I know that you have heard this before but it bears repeating. Love is what remains after emotions associated with lust have worn out.

It is easier to change your looks than it is to change your character. Poor character will wreak your life and that of your children. Pick a spouse that will build you up, that will invest in your children and your family, pick a spouse who loves your parents, one who will stay even if you lost your job.

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You need to pick someone with staying power. Staying power is hard to assess when dating casually but you need to ask specific questions about their lives. Ask to meet their friends, meet their parents. Watch how they interact with people less fortunate than them. How do they treat the homeless? , how do they deal with deficiencies? How do they deal with failure? At the end of the day, you cannot build your life with materials or equipment that have been untested. You need to make sure that they can withstand the storm before you use them as an anchor in your life.

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You don’t go to school to learn

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Every year I have the pleasure of talking with dozens of young people who have the great misconception that they go to school to learn. I love watching the shocked look on their faces as they realize for the first time that they have been misusing their time in school. I love this quote by Myles Munroe which states “when purpose is unknown, abuse is inevitable”.

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Therefore, I spent some time researching the purpose of school. The word school derives from greek word σχολή (scholē), originally meaning “leisure” and also “that in which leisure is employed”. However it was changed later on to mean “a group to whom lectures were given”

In order to understand the purpose of school I had to understand the history of formal education.

Prior to the advent of agriculture children spent their time learning by exploring their environments and learning their craft by watching their parents or other family members. In general if you were the child of a blacksmith, you became a blacksmith unless you had a rich uncle or in-law who had a separate training then you could transition into another field by becoming their apprentice.

By most accounts formal education came about as a result of religious bodies wanting to ensure that the next generation were converts who could read and understand their dogma.

As such, the fight for a universal system of education was led by emerging protestant religions. 

This coupled with the fact with the industrial revolution, countries needed able bodied workers to help them quickly become industrialized and move out of the dark ages. In order to do so they needed a way to formally train lay people so that they could join the working class with the basic skills necessary to meet the minimum work requirements.

Children were mandated to go to school as such in order to become “good laborers” and “good converts”.

In order to do so, education systems were designed to squash the willfulness and playfulness of children in order to make them good laborers and good converts. As such a good student is one who suppresses his or her urge to play and explore and dutifully carried out the orders of their teachers. By that same token a good convert is one who suppresses their urge to question and explore but one who dutifully obeys the tenets of the religious group.

Dr. Peter Gray gives a good summary of the history of the education system on his blog. He reports that, employers in industry saw schooling as a way to create better workers. To them, the most crucial lessons were punctuality, following directions, tolerance for long hours of tedious work, and a minimal ability to read and write. From their point of view the duller the subjects taught in schools the better because it prepares for the drudgery of the workforce.

-Who needs Art and Music in schools? It can’t help you flip a burger any faster can it? 

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My point therefore is; School is not were you go to learn, it is where you go to be tested!

The 12 years of grade school can be summarized in one sentence “Do you have a high school diploma?” You may have been the best student for 11 grades but if you do not complete high school or get your diploma, in the eyes of the state it is as if you never went. Every job you apply for comes with a list of minimum requirements,  in every position in every field.

My conclusion therefore is you go to school so you can leave school with an attestation of minimum requirement certificates. My primary school education in the British system can be summarized to 2 days. The day I sat for the First School Leaving Certificate exam and the day I took the Common Entrance exam.No one cared that I had been at the top of my class for 13 terms in a row or the fact that I was reading Chaucer at age 9, it was irrelevant.  My time in grade school (College in the British system)was summarized to 2 events; when I took the GCE ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels (which I failed by the way). My time in college (University in the British system) can be summarized in one day; the day I sat for my NCLEX exam, no one cared whether I only had 75 questions or if I had to take all 225 questions all that matters is whether or not I passed and met the minimum requirements. Medical school can be summarized to 3 events: STEP 1, STEP 2 and STEP 3…you guessed it those are the 3 tests you have to take to become licensed as a physician in the US.

I leave you with a quote by Albert himself: Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

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Where then does learning take place? Stay tuned for part 2 of this article…..

As you set the rhythm for your day/week, I recognize  that we are all overworkedover exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

Share your thoughts below, I can’t wait to hear from YOU!

First World Problems: Vaccines cause Autism—Seriously?

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I just read a post on KevinMD’s blog by Matt Anderson, MD which totally resonated with me. It is titled: IF YOU THINK FAKE NEWS IS BAD FOR POLITICS, YOU SHOULD TRY BEING A PHYSICIAN.

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Okay,  I am so sick and tired of this untruth which has been promulgated like wild fire around the world for 2 decades. It has been debunked by multiple other studies and the paper who published the initial study in 1997 has since retracted it because, it turns out the physician who first published it falsified data. The association between MMR vaccines and Autism has since been COMPLETELY DISCREDITED due to serious procedural errors, undisclosed financial conflicts of interest, and ethical violations.

Andrew Wakefield, the British surgeon who published and initiate this farce has since been discredited and has lost his medical license. Turns out he is no longer a physician but decades later medical doctors are still undoing the harm that was done to the public health community. Check out this page on  debunked myths about vaccines.

Meanwhile in Africa, 1 in 5 children do not have access to life saving vaccines (WHO). An estimated 3 million children under the age of five will die each year in Africa and most of those deaths could be prevented with vaccine administration.

The MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine  is the particular vaccine erroneously linked to causing Autism. Now let’s compare and see what happens if your unvaccinated child gets Measles, Mumps or Rubella.

For some, this is unimaginable. but I grew up with family members who did not receive appropriate vaccines at birth who now have permanent brain damage due to inaccessibility to vaccines. I have seen firsthand what lack of vaccination can lead to and it is not pretty. 

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Measles: CDC Fact Sheet
-Lifelong brain damage
-Deafness
-Death

Mumps: CDC Fact Sheet

-Meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord)
-Deafness (temporary or permanent)
-Encephalitis (swelling of the brain)
-Orchitis (swelling of the testicles) in males who have reached puberty
-Oophoritis (swelling of the ovaries) and/or mastitis (swelling of the breasts) in females      who have reached puberty

Rubella: CDC Fact Sheet 

-Brain infections and bleeding problems.                                                                                                  -Rubella is most dangerous for a pregnant woman’s unborn baby. As many as 85 out of 100 babies born to mothers who had rubella in the first 3 months of pregnancy will have a birth defect. Infection during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, or birth defects like deafness, blindness, intellectual disability, and heart defects.

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Child with Measles.

In summary developing countries have 99 problems and fake news about vaccines and autism is not one of them!

I recognize we are all overworked, over exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

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TRANSLATION

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Languages are a beautiful thing. I have always been  intrigued by languages and the cultures they unfold. I was so passionate about languages that at age 18 I set a goal to be fluent in 5 languages by age 25. Well… things did not go according to plan. I just turned 33 and I am only fluent in 2 languages (English and French). I can barely understand 3rd grade Spanish with a few scattered medical terms. I have a vocabulary of 50 Italian words and I definitely am not fluent in Arabic which was also one of the languages I had planned to learn. I was feeling pretty sad about not meeting my language goals until I remembered that I spoke Pidgin and Franc-Anglais really fluently  bringing my grand total to a whopping 4!

However, I remembered my upbringing and I could hear my teachers from the British system of education say, “Pidgin is not a language, it is a dialect”. At that point I started researching the differences between a language and a dialect.

Oxford dictionary defines a LANGUAGE as:

The method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. A system of communication used by a particular country or community.

Whereas a DIALECT is defined as:

A particular form of a language which is peculiar to a specific region or social group.

It seems in the colonial era, the ‘powers that be’ decided that the countries being annexed were not “civilized” enough to have a language system and therefore these languages were dubbed “dialects” and this erroneous label has been wrongly promulgated though the years.

What most people don’t know is Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Romanian were once considered dialects of Latin.

Meet Durante degli Alighieri also known as Dante

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He was a major Italian poet who was very controversial because he decided to publish his works in Italian which was a language mostly spoken by commoners. During Dante’s era, most literary works were written in Latin which was accessible to only educated audiences. Dante defended the use of modern day vernacular in literature thereby setting a precedent that other writers soon followed. As such, Dante has been credited in playing a critical role in establishing the national language of Italy.

Now let’s focus on one of my favorite languages, Pidgin which comes second only to Franc-Anglais. PIDGIN is the lingua franca for English speaking West African countries. Check out this recent article by BBC who started an initiate to create a service in Pidgin. They are just now recognizing what we have always known, pidgin is an awesome LANGUAGE!!! It is estimated that over 200 million speak Western African Pidgin English between (Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Liberia.

Learning about this Dante and his controversial  prompted me to start a project that I had been putting off months. I have always wanted to translate classic text in literature and science into Pidgin. Imagine listening to the “To be or not to be” speech in Pidgin. I can only imagine it sounding like an Osuofia scene by Nkem Owoh (for those of you not familiar with the name, this is a Nollywood actor). If I could describe Pidgin in one word, I would call it “juicy”. It rolls off the tongue with such ease that once you learn it, you cannot unlearn it.

My goal is to create a body of work that can be of value to some groups that may be marginalized because they may not understand English or French well enough to understand the text to its full extent. I am very excited to start this project and here is list of potential works to be translated into pidgin.

  • The old man and the medal – Ferdinand Oyono
  • Dedication – Wole Soyinka
  • Okwonko’s speech (Things fall apart) – Chinua Achebe
  • To be or not to be (Hamlet) – Shakespeare
  • Newton’s Laws of Motion – Sir Isaac Newton
  •  Marc Antony’s soliloquy (Julius Caesar) – Shakespeare
  • The Raven – Edgar Allen Poe  etc, etc, etc….

I am open to suggestions for new works. I am excited to get started. Of course I am open to submissions of original works in pidgin as a guest author.

I leave you with a quote by Robert Frost: “Poetry is what gets lost in translation”

I recognize we are all overworked, over exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

Share your thoughts below, I can’t wait to hear from YOU!

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Never UNDERESTIMATE a Lion; an Indomitable Lion nonetheless

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Today  the Cameroonian soccer team shocked the world and Africa in particular by winning the African Cup of Nations 2017. This is the first time in 15 years that Cameroon has won the AFCON. The last time being in 2002 with the likes of Patrick Mboma and Samuel Eto’o Fils. 

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The most surprising thing to recognize about this team is, they are not the lead team for Cameroon rather they are a substitute team who were asked to play when most of the lead players for Cameroon refused to come represent their country. They shocked the African public by qualifying for the semi-finals and then proceeded to give the Ghanaian Black Stars a thrashing during the semi-finals game in a 2-0 win.

Of note, Cameroon has faced  Egypt 3 other times in the Finals of the AFCON but never succeeded in defeating the Pharaohs of Egypt. Cameroon’s lackluster performances in the past 7 AFCON competitions has led most of Africa to believe that the Indomitable Lion was dead but as they say in Cameroon; “Ont ne fait pas les grimaces devant un vieux lion” loosely translated “No gesticulations in front of an old lion”.

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon roared valiantly and defeated the Pharaohs of Egypt in a 2 – 1  win with goals by Nikolas N’Koulou and Vincent Aboubakar. Aboubakar  scored his 15th goal with the national team and soared Cameroon to victory with arguably the best goal of the tournament. In Cameroon we say “Impossible n’est pas Camerounais” (Nothing is impossible for a Cameroonian) but I like to say “With God nothing is impossible”. Thank you God for blessing Cameroon with a victory after 15 years. This will be the fifth AFCON cup for Cameroon making them second only to Egypt as having won the most cups in the history of the competition (Egypt has seven cups).

Most Cameroonians are celebrating with the Cameroonian anthem for the African Cup of Nations which is a song by the artist Reniss titled “Dans la sauce” which literally means “In the stew”. For Cameroonians today, the Egyptian football team is all part of the stew being served in Yaounde for the victory. Even Egyptians were chanting “l’Egypte est dans la sauce” as they left the stadium.

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Image result for reniss dans la sauce pictures

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It goes without saying that the most underestimated team in the history of Cameroonian football has proved everyone wrong today. I leave you with a lesson I learned a long time ago which is to appreciate the gift of underestimation.

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I know we are all overworkedover exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

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UNDERESTIMATED

I used to be irritated when people underestimated my talents. Often times I would be fuming in frustration when decisions were made against my recommendations. I have grown to appreciate being underestimated because it enables me to strategize covertly. Now, I just make my plans taking into account the fact that I will be underestimated then laugh all the way to the finish line.

It’s important to never underestimate a problem, a person, or situation but the most important thing to remember is to never underestimate your talents as you hone your craft. You must recognize that the one thing you can control when facing a problem or an opponent is your reaction to the said problem or opponent.

As I often say, “I refuse to be marginalized, stigmatized, terrorized or tolerated but thank you for underestimating me”. I know it can be annoying sometimes but I urge you keep a poker face when people clearly underestimate you. At the end of the day, being underestimated is the best gift your haters could ever give you.

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I leave you with a quote from Hale Irwin: “I never underestimate my opponent but I never underestimate my talent”.

I know we are all overworkedover exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

Share your thoughts below, I can’t wait to hear from YOU!

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Welcome!

Check out this quote from one of my numerous big sisters; I am so proud of her. Keep going I can’t wait to see you fly!

gg's musings

Welcome to my blog. My name is Georgina, those who’ve known me a longtime call me Aka. I am a nurse who loves other things in addition to nursing.

I have always wanted to write, to share my thoughts on a range of topics, but procastination got the best of me, until my sister Tina Coleman (Grace Favorand Faith- check her out @CNATOMD) challenged me to write my first post. Tina called me daily, asking me if I’d written my first post. So I told her to pick a date, any date, and I’ll have my first post. She picked January 1st 2017-but then called me 2 days later, and said she’d decided to push the date earlier-the next day (over 2 weeks before the planned date). I told her, that won’t be possible but my blog would be up on 12/14/16.

My goal here is to share my thoughts…

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