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I haven't been on Twitter much lately; after the US election it just wasn't doing my mental health any good at all, so I took a bit of a break. I've dropped back in again a few times in the last couple of days, mostly because I clearly have too much time on my hands in a week at home with nothing to do, but partly because I remember that it used to be fun. Today, though, I've been confronted by endless retweets of someone's thread about how, in the wake of the deaths of 53-year-old George Michael and 60-year-old Carrie Fisher, we all need to reduce our stress levels so that we can live to 90 instead of dying so young. Which, well, yes, they were both much too young, but most people don't choose to be stressed and are in fact stressed by factors beyond their control; health issues (including mental health), poverty, prejudice, war, and the amount of privilege inherent in assuming that we can just "choose" not to be stressed is staggering. Plus, it's bullshit anyway. My dad's heart problems weren't cause by stress, they were caused by viral damage to the heart muscle. Probably food poisoning, to be exact. Stress may increase vulnerability to some infections, but I'm not sure food poisoning is one of them. One of the most laid-back people I know died last year of acute pancreatitis, at the age of 45. (As Facebook has helpfully reminded me, today would have been his 47th birthday.) A colleague's wife died at 40 of metastatized melanoma, which is caused by UV damage, not stress. I may not be a doctor, but I'm still fairly sure more sleep - even if that's possible for you - is probably not actually going to make you live longer. And anyway, what's so great about living to 90?

Maybe my New Year's resolution should be to delete my Twitter account. I'm not sure it's ever going to go back to being fun like it used to be.

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July 2017

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