My Therapist Says

As the pandemic recedes, I’ve got to decide what kind of life I actually want to live

Illustration: Xinmei Liu for Elemental

When school let out for winter break of 2020, I finally started to lose my shit. It wasn’t the holidays, a possible election coup, my kids off Zoom school for a couple weeks, writing deadlines, managing my newsletter, or having to ready my online classes for a January 4 start date that had me at a breaking point. It was the upcoming vaccine rollout.

Everyone was starting to plan their vacations; schools were talking about bringing the kids back to campus; my partner was talking about going to a fall 2021 concert. Yet, I felt anxious. At the culmination of…


Kai woke up terrified. He’d had another dream that he was drowning in plastic after his teacher had shown another climate documentary that provided no solutions.

This was around the start of the pandemic, when our anxiety was revving out of control. I could barely get out of my sweats let alone help him process. But as his mom, I knew I had to at least try, right?

Here are some of the things we tried:


After a particularly disappointing meeting about the virtues of toilet paper, advertising executive Richard Vevers quit his gig to become an ocean photographer. When he arrived in Australia, he saw a similar story as I had — our reefs were in trouble.

“That’s when I thought I should use my advertising skills to tackle issues,” he said by phone from his home. He never imagined he’d spearhead a project that might have the power to protect all life on this planet.

Photo courtesy of the 50 Reefs project

He created the Ocean Agency, partnered with Google to use street-view to…

Michele Bigley

Award-winning writer specializing in regenerative travel, environmental solutions and parenting. Michele’s writing a book about mothering in the Anthropocene.

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