A Year from Now …

… a show about what we hope will happen, and what does.

It’s a podcast that’s in production. It will be released in the fall of 2023.

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A Year from Now is a time-traveling podcast that takes a snapshot of someone at the beginning of a journey, then jumps ahead one year to see how it all turned out.

 

Each episode pairs similar problems with dissimilar people.  Topics like leaving the Morman church, traumatic brain injury survivors, learning to live with disabilities caused by gun violence, accidents, medical mysteries, QAnon family members, the 2020 election, law school, road trips, young love, old love, etc. 

 

Promo for Season One

Pilot

 

Right now we have over thirty stories in production. Here’s a general overview of each one.

 

Cay the GayPEOPLE 2

Cay is a Swedish twenty-something who spent her childhood drinking soda with her parents. It was so commonplace that she developed an aversion to water. Her goal for the upcoming year was to learn how to drink water and not be repulsed by it. But being grossed out by water isn’t the only interesting thing about her. She previously would make sexy personalized fantasy recordings (i learned the term JOI, jack-off instructions) for men. She finds it funny thinking of men master bating to the voice of a ‘fat lesbian’. 

In the following year she was able to learn to, at least, drink carbonated water. Nice job Cay.

Katherine

Katherine from Canada, moved to LA, and found herself in Vienna with her Austrian husband and child. When she was younger she did a lot of MDMA, most likely in response to sexual abuse that happened when she was a child, and this, as she tells it, led to a battery of psychological problems: psychosis, distortions, and hallucinations. She would hear voices in her head that would tell her to walk into traffic or engage in self-harm. During our first interview she told me she had just started electroconvulsive therapy and it seemed to be working. She also had, for the first time, been able to tell her parents about the abuse that happened to her. Her world, it seemed, was starting to open up. A literal reprieve from the command hallucinations and also she was able to live in the open. 

I had looked forward to checking back in with her this year but was shocked to learn that around six months after my interview with Katherine she died in her sleep due to medical complications. I was just informed of this by her best friend Caitlin. At the end of my interview with Katherine she said she was about to facetime with her best friend and was going to tell her about the abuse. That friend was Caitlin. With a heavy heart Caitlin did Katherine’s follow up for her. She told me about the bitter sweet, so much more bitter than sweet, couple months Katherine had when she was given some relief from her command hallucinations and the hope she felt for her future.

Amin

Amin is a young Sudanese man in Saudi Arabia. He moved there with his family after the political unrest in Sudan, but there were personal problems as well. His father died of covid. But the biggest stress in his life is a roller coaster of psychotic episodes. When I first talked to him he was living with his family in Saudi Arabia and had just been kicked out of Turkey where he was studying because of an episode where he was hospitalized. He had what some people call ‘insight’ into his mental distortions and was trying to get a handle on his life. During his psychotic episodes he would see signs and the world would start to move in time with his inner thoughts. He would think of something, say – a woman with a dog, and the dog would appear. But now, he just wanted to get back to normal life and finish school.

I checked back in with him a year and a half later and it seemed like he was doing alright. But about a half an hour into our conversation he started talking about how the ‘walk’ signs at intersections had all been switched from the image of a red person to a flashing red hand. They all had been switched, globally, overnight. I asked him if he recognized this as a distortion of reality and he couldn’t. It seemed he was slipping away from consensus reality. 

The modern era didn’t help. At one point he went viral on tic tik for a strange interaction with a police officer. He bought the equivalent of one-hundred dollars of crypto currency and it then ballooned to one-thousand dollars worth. Our modern internet world seems to confirm his feelings that he can control the world with his mind. He sees signs everywhere. I’m not sure it’s a problem, he seems happy but it may not be sustainable to live a life of revelation every couple hours.

MIchael C

When I first talked to Michael, a freshman in college, he was about to drive from Washington State to Colorado to meet a classmate that he had been dating via Zoom.  Michael and I had a delightful chat, and I, like this lady in Colorado, was taken by him. A year later Michael told me the story of his road trip. He rolled into Colorado and met her family and learned that he was to stay in her room, right next to her parents room. 

It could have been awkward but Michael taught me that something is only awkward if you make it awkward. He and his girlfriend, and her family, had a charming week together.

Cate Bush

Cate is an older Australian woman whose heart was just broken by her longtime boyfriend. Her setting seems romantic, however. Almost like a movie. Out in the bush in Australia a aging but strong woman nurses heartbreak among the kookaburras, kangaroos, and dogs. When I pointed this out she promptly told me to shove my ‘rose-tinted glasses up my ass’. When I checked back in a year later, heartbreak was the least of her problems. 

Turns out, due to hepatitis,  her liver started to fail and she began to retain water, her legs splitting in places. The doctors gave her a terminal diagnosis and she now has two years to live, maybe less than that. It was hard to hear. I loved our chat and was so much in Cate’s corner. He longterm boyfriend was a, according to Cate, a fuck up and abused her and syphoned away a considerable amount of her money. I just wanted Cate to have that RomCom third act. Cate is out there in the bush, she’s not a monk or some enlightened hero who had accepted her own death. She’s unhappy about it and she’s tried and it seems unreal to me that she’s going to die. 

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Devin Ray Smith is a twenty-something alcoholic with untreated OCD, unless you count the drinking. If so, then he’d be over medicated. Or at least was. When I talked to him in 2020 he was sober and trying to build up to a self-sufficient life where he doesn’t leech off of his girlfriend and manipulate his friends. He told me he’d often make his younger friends buy him beer in exchange for rides.  After our first interview he accidentally sent me a voice memo that he had made on accident where he and his girlfriend had a very sour fight, displaying the worse version of him. In the following year, unfortunately, it seems that that worse version of himself has re-emerged. He started drinking again, got arrested, and lost the one person that was in his corner.  It was a hard follow up interview, but life is long and who knows where he’ll be a year from now.

Amin

Amin is a young man who lives in Saudi Arabia with his family, though they are from Somalia, I think. I can’t remember his exact age. So, just now, I messaged him on Facebook and, just a moment later, he responded, “I’m not Somalian lol. Sudan. And i’m 24…” My bad Amin.

It’s a strange and surreal feeling to be talking to someone on the other side of the globe. It makes things seem, somewhat, unreal. Amin, for reasons far beyond the surreal wonders of technology, has a hard time thinking that the world is real. He experiences schizophrenic episodes and goes through periods of feeling like he’s not real. Or the world isn’t real, but he is. Or it’s a dream. 

When I talked with him a year ago he was in a place where he was aware of his delusions but a year later he had, as he put it, ‘gone back down the rabbit hole’. He sends me matrix memes , tiktok videos about telekinesis, and at one point a cop pulled him over and he went viral. Amin is a nice kid and though his heightened sense of unreality I can better understand my own. It’s odd how connection, like the internet and mass culture, untethers us instead of grounding us. And by ‘us’ and mean ‘me.’

Justin and Viv

Justin is an outrageous  confident Australian photographer and entrepreneur who happens to have bipolar II. I first interviewed him because he had just purchased an experience with a sex worker and I suppose I was looking for sensational stories. What I got was much more.  Justin had his friend Vivian, who is sex worker he works with as a photographer, joined us for a conversation about the industry. What it ended up being was about Justin’s ups and downs with bipolar II and his recent decision to go off medication. In the following year it went okay and he didn’t regress into depression nor did he get lost in any manic states.  

During our first interview Vivian was in the middle of a legal battle. Her father had unwittingly been involved in drug trafficking. In the following year he was exonerated, at great financial cost to Vivian, and Vivian was able to finally take off a backpack of stress and fear. She moved out of the city to the Blue Mountains, took up yoga, and is living a much more beautiful life. One where you’re not scared your father will be put in prison. 

Leo

I interviewed my good friend Leo mostly because it’s a funny way of having a conversation. But it ended up being a little bit more than that. The first round of interviews was mostly about his journey to emotional awareness and letting himself, essentially, say no to dates without feeling bad. He called it listening to his gut.  He talked about how when he was at Juilliard studying concert piano he had trained himself to ignore all those feelings. There were a lot of people he didn’t like there, sexists kids and one that bragged about reading Mein Kampf

In the following year he found that one of those people that he disliked so much had just turned himself in for stabbing his girlfriend and killing her. This brought back a lot of memories for Leo of all the awful things this person did at University that he just had to ignore. In no way does Leo suggest that he knew that in the future this classmate would end up killing someone, but it was a great example of how you should listen to your gut and respect your emotions.

Matt No Sleep

Matt has a very strange condition. Actually, he has a collection of strange conditions. The first interview was all about his medical mysteries. we had a late onset hereditary blood clot disorder that gave him multiple embolisms. Even more mysterious, he has an abnormal brain that skips one of the most important sleep cycles and no one knows why. His docs had him do a sleep study. During the study they have you stay awake as long as you can and then they monitor your sleep. The thing is, he stayed awake for over two days. They weren’t sure what to do with him.

Not only does he not sleep very much, two to four hours a night, but his brain skips the restorative part of sleep that helps the brain clean itself, so to speak.  I originally met him on a Reddit forum where people who have incontinence meet to share products and support. Matt also pees in his sleep, again, we don’t know why. 

Matt has a family and a strange life where after they go to bed he stays up for hours. Reminds me of a gargoyle in a way. In the following year Matt’s medical Mysteries were not solved but he did start to work with a psychiatrist who helped him balance his meds and work on a sleep cycle. Matt now sleeps a whopping four to six hours a night.

Emily

Emily was born with a bleeding disorder, her blood doesn’t clot correctly. The first interview with was mostly me learning about what it’s like to live with a body that is so vulnerable. She, however, doesn’t live in a bubble and has from a young age lived a wild and vivid life. Riding horses, riding bikes, and now she’s training to be a vet even though animals scratch and jump. She knows people who have died from their disorders. She told me a popcorn kernel could kill her. One cut in the intestine or stomach would cause a bleed and is very difficult to find. Yet in spite of this, perhaps because of it, she has soaked up as much life as possible. 

Not much changed in a year. She had to delay her studies but she is still as kinetic and she was a year ago.

Rachel

Rachel recently left the Mormon Church even though her husband and kids are still in the community. It was a very difficult move to make and when I talked to her the first time it was heartbreaking to hear that her older daughter might soon get married and not invite her to the wedding. It would be against church doctrine.  One reason she left was the incompatibility of her bisexuality with the church, but also, she said her personhood seemed to have faded away. Due to the patriarchal structure of the church most of what she did was for the church, for god, for someone that wasn’t her. Even her art, something she was proud of, she felt was done for other people.  

A year later when we checked in she told me she was planning on divorcing her husband. Her relationship with her eldest daughter was still up in the air. But for good news, when Rachel accidentally came out to her youngest daughter, a funny story in itself, she in turn came out to Rachel. There’s always a tension between the self and the community and those tensions are heightened in a high demand religion like mormonism. But Rachel showed me that even though it’s hard, you have to be true to yourself even when you may lose a lot. A marriage and possibly her daughter. It certainly isn’t fair.

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Liam it’s a Swiss man and half of his family was taken in by the Swiss version of the QAnon craze. They normally would have yearly reunions but it was canceled essentially due to Coronavirus misinformation that sparked a fight about how they would gather. When we talked Liam said he was hoping that a year from now the reunion would resume,  it didn’t. It was a sad but interesting story of family dynamics and who holds families together.  It seems like Liam’s mom was doing the work to keep the whole family together, and when she lost her energy to do so they all split apart. Makes me wonder how many families take that type of person for granted.

Aldo

A prison guard in New Mexico gave me an interview to explain the job and why he does it. I did a previous series with people in prison so I had some questions about who chooses to work in the capacity of jailer. Aldo isn’t an evil man with a lust for power. When he was a kid he and his family were protected by the police. He later was denied entry to the police academy for unknown reasons so he became a prison guard, which can help people transition to police officers. He told me he does his job honestly, doesn’t abuse his power, and tries to walk the thin line between just doing your job and being complicit in abuses. 

However, In the year that followed our interview he lost his patience and ability to withstand the job. He witnessed a young man get pulled in by a gang and pressured into beating an older inmate. The inmate died and Aldo watched this young man who was going to get out in a couple months get pulled into the prison indefinitely. Aldo decided his time in prison was up. 

Todd Schultz

My friend Todd has a lot going on. A year ago, or more, he was in the middle of a drug-influenced bipolar-II manic high that involved paranoia. I interviewed him because I think he’s an interesting person but also because he’s the boyfriend of someone famous, Bret Easton Ellis, the author of American Psycho. When I talked to Todd he thought that the artist Sia was out to get him and was manipulating the young artist Maddie Ziegler. There were other paranoias. 

Bipolar II can give you grandiose thinking. Now imagine you’re predisposed to magical grandiose thinking like that and your boyfriend is Bret Easton Ellis, and your dad, Bill Schultz, was a producer for The Simpsons, and you know a fair amount of famous people. All that would make things, incredible things, seem very possible. 

Now, along with all that add a disreputable YouTuber who decided to start bullying you on his YouTube channel, including possibly making an anonymous channel solely dedicated to mocking you at your worst. All this sets the scene for some paranoid thinking. Now the final ingredient, add some drugs. Well, a lot of drugs. Todd had all of this going on. At one point he was live streaming himself while on drugs and this YouTuber posted it. You see cops respond to a call and you see Todd clearly Incapacitated try to deal with it. Todd had a lot going for him, a life of what we call privilege, but he was vulnerable chemically, neurologically, and socially and all those exposed points were hit last year. 

A year later I did a follow up with Todd and he’s doing much better. He was able to get some help and he now has more insight into his bipolar II and how drugs amplify the manic highs. He still sounds like the Todd I know. He’s nuts and funny and a bit narcissistic, but he’s not crazy.

Abigail C

Abigail is a Canadian ex-mormon. Like another subject for A Year from Now… her sexuality forced her to make a choice between the faith and living honestly as herself. Makes me wonder how many of us just need an ultimatum to give up parts of our lives that aren’t serving us?

In our first interview she talked about how difficult it was to leave the church. In the year that followed her uncle died. Her uncle was one of the few atheists of the family and he showed her a different way of life. On his deathbed she was able to tell him thanks goodbye, a bittersweet goodbye not the first time i cried during these follow up interviews.

Anxious AF

The podcast anxious AF is an emotional chat podcast. The host, Sarah, talked with me last year about her emotional eating, her therapist who suggested she get her stomach stapled, and her mother whose undiagnosed OCD hung over her childhood and inadvertently oppressed her. Such as her mother picking out her outfits well into high school. When we talked it sounded like she was on the brink of setting up some boundaries for the difficult people in her life. 

One year later it seems that she was able to set up those boundaries. But more importantly, accept herself and accept love for herself. Though, she did do an episode on her show where she complained about how presumptuous I was when I interviewed her over a year ago.

Abby Ehmann of Lucky on B

Abby Ehmann, owner of Lucky on B, a bar in the Lower East Side of Manhattan was nervous  that due to the pandemic and multiple fines she would lose the bar. When we talked she was in the middle of a legal fight to get thousands of dollars of fines dropped though a public and legal fight she was engaged in. But underneath all of this was a strange and interesting person. Abby, a professional extrovert, ran on all cylinders and seemed invulnerable but during our first interview she talked about how much she cared and worried about her mother. In the upcoming year both her mother and business were at risk.

A year later one of them survived. 

Abu

Abu is my friend and someone I’d quarreled with because of his grandiose, yet vague, goals. He has always tackled about community organizing, but never quite gets there. Years ago he had a ‘normal’ job working with computer systems for a University and has been coasting on his savings the entire time I’ve known him. By my calculations he was about a year off from running out of money. The question was, will Abu run out of money and become homeless? He had recently hurt his shoulder in a bike crash and needed surgery to fix it, he struggles with bipolar II, and his savings were drying up. Instead of getting a decent paying job he ran for mayor (and this was after a failed campaign to get on the St Paul City Council a couple years prior). I got ready for a ‘i told you so’ interview where he admitted he needed to find regular work.

Yet, in the following year he proved my worries wrong and invested in crypto and ballooned his diminished savings up to $60,000. However, after our follow up crypto crashed and he lost a lot. He’s not homeless, but he’s back to square one. But it’s his square, and I need to accept that.

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An anonymous cancer patient chatted with me over reddit. He was in a bad place but was hopeful. A year later all he wrote was ‘Things aren’t good.’ That’s all i heard from him.

Clint Crabtree

Clint is a veteran and is involved in veteran communities, specifically ones with the goal of helping those with PTSD heal. He has a fierce loyalty to those he loves. He has a IGY6 tattoo, which stands for ‘I got your six’, as in I’ve got your back, and this is what, among other things, made it so difficult for him to break up with his girlfriend when she got sucked into the QAnon conspiracy theories. When we talked over a year ago he was still open to reconciling with his partner, but in the following year she did not relent in her obsessions with QAnon and he had to walk away from the relationship. He moved from Michigan to Southern California and he now lives on the beach. He sent me pictures, he’s living a great life and I hope to visit him.

Conor 

Connor is a bombastic New Jersey, Alpha male gamer, who does, or did, jiu jitsu. A couple years ago during some sparring he received multiple micro-concussions. Little hits over and over again. One day he received a kick to the head and it sent his brain over the edge and he suffered a traumatic brain injury. When I talked with him he was at a low point, had only a handful of hours a day where he could focus on things, he couldn’t drive, he couldn’t even watch TV or play video games. 

In the following year since our first interview he has made much progress and has managed to, in some way, balance his over-the-top ego with the humbling nature of having your brain taken away from you. He returned to work, though he wasn’t ready but he ran out money, and is trying to see where his new normal will end up. He still embraces his bravado though it is firmly planted, albeit unwillingly, on the ground.

The Crusher

The Crusher lives on Mount Crushmore, attacks cats, and will defend their title as the one who crushes at all costs. At least, that’s what Ashley’s amateur-professional wrestlers character is all about. When I interviewed Ashley she was at the beginning of her professional wrestling career. Far from the character The Crusher she has little confidence, perhaps overthinks things, and doesn’t feel entitled to her place in the ring.  

In the year that followed our first interview she has grown more confident, has had more matches, some stand-alone matches, and is teaching us all the beauty of crushing.

Emma

I was supposed to interview Emma about her close friend who was sucked into QAnon conspiracy theory but our interview departed from that relationship and more focused on her own fear of death that stems from her father. Her father, she did not tell me during the interviews, at one point taught Keith Moon, the drummer for the legendary rock group The Who, when Moon was a teen.  When her dad was dying he scared her with his shocking apathy and Atheism.  He described his death as when you turn off a TV. In the year that has followed she had goals and hopes to quit smoking and find some connection to her father. When we talked she was planning on going to a psychic, she said they were unsettlingly accurate. 

Harry

Harry lives in the south of England, the LA of the UK is how he described it. When we first talked he was overcome with pain because of an infected molar. He blamed his overconsumption of soda and dislike for brushing his teeth. He had recently had been diagnosed as having autism and during the interview he remembered that as a child of he hated the taste of toothpaste, yet it was forced on him. These two things, a bad relationship with brushing his teeth and a cola addiction ruined his oral health. Along with his teeth he hoped to learn more about himself and how he interacts with the world. He recalled having meltdowns at parties and now, armed with the knowledge of his neurodivergent brain, he realizes there are things he can do to avoid these events.

After the interview he took some voice memos of the moments after he had the infected tooth removed, in which she was much relieved. A year later, however, he wasn’t able to quit drinking so much soda but he has been able to avoid meltdowns. 

Jennie Lawless

Jenny Lawless is my friend and a musician who lives in LA. I talked to her about what it’s like to have alopecia areata as someone who is a performer. It was a good conversation for me to have as a man because, though of course I am aware of sexism, I think it’s easy for me to forget how oppressive our image based culture can be on women. When I talked to her her hair was starting to fall out. It started with a small half-dollar sized patch on her head and was understood that it would probably continue. 

A year later, after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock for making a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head, we did a follow-up interview. Jennie, unlike most people with alopecia, had, for the time, reversed its progression. This was mostly due to getting off Adderall and making other lifestyle changes that lowered her stress, including Jennie correcting some disordered eating. When Jennie told me her hair had grown back I had to, in a moment, think ‘Should I congratulate her? If so, what am I congratulating? Her ability to blend into how the ideal white woman is supposed to look?’ I then told her ‘That’s interesting.’ Because it was.Doc - Nov 1 2020 - 1-31 PM - p3 copy

Jess

Jess has suffered from seizures her whole life. when she was younger she had an operation that was botched that left her partially paralyzed. Even though her life has been hard, she has difficulty sleeping, nightmares, and lives in fear of having seizures, she was able to live a full life and fall in love with a wonderful man. They are incredibly cute. Jess told me they do cute games like they will stop by a Goodwill and then buy each other outfits that they have to wear out on a dinner date.

When I talked to her she had just undergone another surgery to hopefully halt her seizures. It was working so far, but was by no means a guarantee. Would her dream of living a seizure free life be taken from her? Or had they actually stopped? When I checked back in the following year she had not had any seizures. She went on living her life. She went to Vegas with her husband and was looking at getting a job and it seemed like, though I don’t believe the world works in narratives, that a wonderful person was given a wonderful thing.  After decades I’m living in the specter of seizures she had been given some respite.

Laura C

Laura, a recent college grad, had a traumatic brain injury when she was in high school and to this day she has massive headaches. I met her in New York City, a difficult place if you have sensory issues. Like many medical struggles, some of the most difficult parts are not about the condition but about how uncompromising able body people are. She had difficulties navigating medical billing and a strained relationship with her dad who refused to acknowledge her pain. Her pain became intertwined with her life and, in a way, how she thought about herself. 

In the following year she finally had a good experience with hospitals and she worked with a therapist that understood the psychology of pain. She learned how to observe her pain’s base lines, and thresholds, and learned to stop struggling against her pain. She had previously, perhaps because the world disregarded her pain, pushed through it but now she learned how to corral it. She also found the exact opposite of her dad and moved out of the city to live with a nice man in Jersey. 

Leo

I interviewed my good friend Leo mostly because it’s a funny way of having a conversation. But it ended up being a little bit more than that. The first round of interviews was mostly about his journey to emotional awareness and letting himself, essentially, say no to dates without feeling bad. He called it listening to his gut.  He talked about how when he was at Juilliard studying concert piano he had trained himself to ignore all those feelings. There were a lot of people he didn’t like there, sexists kids and one that bragged about reading Mein Kampf

In the following year he found that one of those people that he disliked so much had just turned himself in for stabbing his girlfriend and killing her. This brought back a lot of memories for Leo of all the awful things this person did at University that he just had to ignore. In no way does Leo suggest that he knew that in the future this classmate would end up killing someone, but it was a  giant example of how you should listen to your gut and respect your emotions.

Mike S

Mike is a Canadian Living in England as a high school physics teacher, or whatever the Brits call High School, but on his weekends he makes nü-metal, or alt-rock, music videos and I have to be honest, I kind of love them. When we first talked he was on the brink of giving up. His views were incredibly small but the work to make the videos was a lot. Our first interview was about if he was going to continue doing music even though life had told him that he was not a rockstar. Part of me sympathizes with him. I’ve done music in the past. I’ve made songs that I think are worthy of a large audience, but the world just says no. But unlike Mike I assume I’m the problem, Mike pushes on.

A year later you barely got over his goal of having 100 subscribers on his YouTube channel and I suppose that means he’s going to keep making music. He had one live performance, that might be a sign of success right? Though, his performance was at his school or the student body. Such a strange and interesting guy. He may not be a rockstar, but he has the ego of one.

Nic C

My friend Nick who lives in the UK engages in a lot of coronavirus misinformation. He is a very new-age alternative medicine type person and he doesn’t believe in vaccines. Not much has changed in a year. I’m not sure I’ll even be able to use our interviews because he doesn’t want me to edit any of it. I suppose distrust for the media is in alignment with distrust for vaccines.  But it is an interesting conversation about bias and how someone can be a wonderful person, which Nick is, and yet not seem to understand or connect to the fact that millions of people died that didn’t need to. I hope nic comes around and lets us do his story.

Romona Rattler

Ramona Rattler in Pipestone Minnesota runs a trailer park, has two autistic grandkids, has had 9 heart attacks, and a son with grandiose delusions in prison. Two different people thought I was making her up. I suppose her name sounds like a character. But she’s real.

The reason I first talked to her was that she had just had her heart broken by a man she was in a relationship with. He was doing time in South Carolina and when he got out of prison he promptly dropped all the plans that they had made and now only calls her to ask for help on how to use a smartphone. Not a cool move. 

When you get older, as Ramona is, people become more realistic and have a better idea of what we’re entitled to. And that’s a good thing but unfortunately I think Romona considers companionship and love one of those things. Life can beat you down and Ramona, now with 10 heart attacks, hasn’t entirely given up, but I’m nervous she’s headed in that direction. But life is long, ideally, and who knows what Ramona will pull off next year.

Ryan and Kelly

My friend Kelly is a folk musician and is married to one as well. Kelly Everett and Ryan Koenig. A couple years ago Ryan was run over by a car while walking back to the tour bus. It was a horrendous accident that was followed by an even more horrendous legal fight with the insurance company.  The insurance company’s lawyers tried to defame Ryan and Kelly’s reputation, I guess because being a musician means you’re a drug-addled person magnetically attracted to distracted drivers. They also had Ryan and Kelly tailed and photographed by insurance PI’s trying to prove that Ryan wasn’t as hurt as he was. 

When I talked to Ryan and Kelly they had just finished their paperwork on the settlement we’re excited to fix up their house and, god willing, be able to tour again a year from now. In the following year that seems to have come true. Ryan is able to perform, though his energy and headaches keep him from his previous ability to tour and Kelly is able to go on the road and leave Ryan at home by himself, previously he needed more care taking.  This was a wonderful story about the sad reality that when bad things happen bad things happen. Like getting your legs cut off hurts a lot, but you also can’t reach the cabinets. Metaphorically speaking.

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In the summer of 2020 gun violence in New York City increased. I saw it on the news almost everyday and then it became real when I met Sam Metcalf. Sam and his wife were walking to a corner store when a retaliatory drive-by occurred. A young man named Malcolm Amede was shot and then, while trying to return fire, shot Sam in the back. I talked to Sam around a month after his hospitalization and his spirits were up, even though he was paralyzed from the waist down. He was learning how to control his bladder, or live with not being able to control it, and was hoping that some of his nerves would heal and he’d get partial feeling in his legs. 

In a way it was almost too inspiring. He understood and forgave the person who shot him and, perhaps because he was so close to death, he was just so grateful to be alive. Sam helped me realize what a gift it is to be alive with a fully functioning body. I get to drink as much water as I want and I don’t have to worry about my bladder bursting. I can sleep straight through the night while Sam has to wake up every couple hours to shift his body to avoid bed sores. A year later during our follow-up my main question was, has he kept that philosophy and understanding? Is he bitter yet? I was happy to learn that he wasn’t. 

Chris M

During the lead-up to the 2020 election, or perhaps I should say mobilization for the 2020 election, Democrats and Republicans were hitting in the street and internet in massive numbers.  The problem for the Democratic Party was that negative partisanship drove most of their would-be voters. The Democrats had to talk about the election as if people were excited about Joe Biden but most of them were just afraid of Donald Trump. Some college kids jokingly tapped into this discordant feeling and came up with the Settle-for-Biden hashtag. This term resonated with one Minnesotan, Chris Madden, and he started a Settle-for-Biden Tik-Tok Channel. He then bought a van, had it wrapped in a giant Settle-for-Biden logo, and drove across the country to Rally support for a candidate people weren’t thrilled about. 

In our first interview I asked Chris about what it’s like to engage in politics in this sincere but tongue-in-cheek approach. I also covered election night while I made calls for the Minnesota DFL and captured the moment Pennsylvania was called in Brooklyn. A year later I checked in with Chris and was surprised to find that he had transferred his Tik Tok media skills from progressive politics to a small business that promotes business-entrepreneur podcasts. The most popular being All In Podcast: a podcast where three billionaires and one millionaire talk about politics. I suggested he went from Settle-for-Biden to Settle-for-Billionaires. He makes a compelling point in favor of them.

Will

One of my best friends Will went back to school in his late twenties to become a lawyer. He got into law school and during the second year where the University coordinates a bunch of interviews with law firms for summer placements, internships. These internships often can lead to a job with a law firm and be the first step in the career ladder to help pay off the over $100,000 debt most students will be in. 

I talked to Will during this week, he had 14 interviews scheduled. It was a whirlwind, a melee. Spoiler alert, he didn’t get the job he was hoping for. ACtually, he didn’t get any. Instead, with his tail between his legs, he kept looking and got the job he actually wanted. It won’t lead to a nice payoff to help with all of his debt, but it was in the field he wants to work in. Immigration law. Perhaps things worked out by him failing to land an internship with a prestigious law firm, or maybe he’ll drown under his debt. We’ll see if there’s a second season of A Year from Now…