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Choreographer Miguel Gutierrez on losing income during the pandemic, and how sobriety helped him get out of debt.
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Host Anna Sale and the logos for Death, Sex & Money and WNYC Studios, all on a beige background.
"With gratitude, optimism becomes sustainable."

I read that line in The New York Times over the weekend, in a piece about Michael J. Fox's new book, and have tried to make it a recurring mantra for myself this week. I like this idea a lot, about how trying to change the focus of our recurring thoughts gives some durability and staying power to having hope for the future.

So, let me tell you again how thankful I am that we get to make this show, that you listen and engage with us, and that you open this email when it pops into your inbox this week. For me, this Death, Sex & Money community is definitely another thing that makes optimism feel a little more sustainable. I'm particularly grateful for the health workers in our audience. Read below for some updates from some of them that we've introduced you to this year.

Another thing that I came across this week that made me feel really comforted is this video:
It's a celebration of both the crappiness and the temporariness of much of our current conditions, which producer Katie Bishop shared in team Slack channel. Watch here.
And one more thing I'm thankful for this week...I just finished WRITING A BOOK! And it has this beautiful cover. You can find more info, including how to preorder, right here. Something to look forward to in May 2021.
I hope you have a restful and satisfying holiday weekend, even if it is a little different this year. Happy Thanksgiving.

Anna and the Death, Sex & Money team
This Week on Death, Sex & Money

This past March, choreographer Miguel Gutierrez's work was drying up, as the performing arts institutions he was going to work with this year were shutting down because of the pandemic. "The first thing I noticed was all the cancellation emails and their complete, uh, lack of acknowledgement of a financial component," Miguel told me. "Like, you have the money in your budget, right? So pay me." 

While cobbling together work to make up for lost income, Miguel's also been reexamining his relationship to performing. "There's a whole other part of me that’s like, do I ever want to tour again, actually?" he told me. "I actually crave certain kinds of normalcy that are just part of other people's lives." We talked about how he learned to manage his finances while living gig-to-gig, and how getting sober helped him get out of years of debt. Listen in your feeds now. 

Your Updates: Healthcare Workers
This year, we've gotten to know several healthcare workers who have told us about the challenges of their jobs during the pandemic. As COVID cases rise, we've had them on our minds. So we reached out for updates from them—including from Sharron, a certified nursing assistant in Virginia, who transferred to a new position in an operating room since we last talked: 
"My new position is very safe and that’s what I like most. My kid just got her report card, it was awesome. Somehow she received two student of the month awards even though they are not really in school? She was happy, so I am too. The limited social interactions are getting to us both. The election had us (and the world) stressed beyond belief.

My dad is now on his last week of chemo, he was diagnosed with stage 1-2 esophageal cancer. He is fighting and is winning! I am very blessed that I still have a job and am able to support myself, my kid, and even support my mom emotionally and run errands for them."
"I am back with my oncology patients and thankfully we haven't had too many of them test positive or get seriously ill from COVID. There's definitely an undercurrent of anxiety among my coworkers, as if we're all holding a collective breath waiting for this next wave to really affect us. Oddly, work has become sort of a respite from everything else going on in the world. It probably sounds strange to be in pediatric oncology and have it be a reprieve but, selfishly, being back on my unit lets me escape (for 12 hours) from the devastating COVID numbers, the election chaos, and the racial injustices happening in my own city.

There are still ways COVID creeps into my day like our mask/goggles policy, the limited visitors for our kids including no therapy dogs/outside activities, and even the way my coworkers and I have to take turns eating lunch to limit our exposure. But it's a far cry from the stress and exhaustion I know the ICU nurses are feeling. 

I did want to thank you for putting me in touch with another listener, Dave. He donated an iPad to the adult ICU I worked on and it's been such a blessing through this surge."
"My family and I are healthy physically but the mental toll has been overwhelming, especially for my husband and my children. My husband is worried about losing our business. My children are worried about attending classes in person or via computer, and about how they are going to learn anything at all this year.

I keep taking long walks and sort of kind of started running. I have been working a lot at the hospitals and I have been working a lot on our farm. We have an organic chestnut tree farm here in Ohio. Majestic Canopy Chestnut Farm. The mighty chestnut tree forests were blighted in the early 1900s and were pretty much destroyed from a parasitic virus. How ironic!?! This is kind of a legacy project/retirement project/love story. We planted them 10 years ago. 

We are going to celebrate with an abundance of gratitude  together here on the farm for Thanksgiving and while I know that doesn’t bode well for some people, we feel as a family it’s mentally imperative...it’s a risk we are willing to take."

Listen to This: Audio We Love

Since we all need an escape from 2020 anyway, why not go back in time to 1989 and the height of new jack swing? In the new podcast Jacked, hosted by Taraji P. Henson, we dive deep into the birth of the hip hop/R&B fusion genre—getting the full backstory of the band Guy and its founder Teddy Riley, who later went on to work with Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown and Keith Sweat. And the SOUNDTRACK! It's a nostalgia trip. 

Maybe this is a week when you need a little extra support as you think about family, guilt, interdependence, and boundaries. In this episode of Dear Therapists, Lori Gottlieb and Guy Winch talk to one woman about a particularly painful wound in her immigrant family after a suicide.

"The DSM pandemic episodes reinforced that this podcast helps me process my life. It's in the small details Anna brings to the surface with her quiet hmm. DSM is a gift and I wanted to reciprocate."
—Tracie, Louisiana

Join Tracie in supporting our work at Death, Sex & Money!
Donate now at deathsexmoney.org/donate.
If you celebrate Thanksgiving and it's taking a new form this year... 

We hope it's a good one all the same.
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