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Shortening attention spans, cable news, and goldfish

A fantail goldfish, a double tailed with dorsal fin, swimming among the underwater plant life in an aquarium (Credit: Yasa via Flickr)In 2000, the average person's attention span was 12 seconds. By 2015, that number has dropped to 8.25 seconds. In comparison, a goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds. So if you are still reading this article, thank you for defying the odds and being a statistical outlier.

Conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the U.S. National Library of Medicine, attention span is defined as "the amount of concentrated time on a task without becoming distracted." In a world literally constantly revolving and a culture often changing, the human experience is bombarded with a multitude of messages that vie for your attention.

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The mind of the millennial written by a millennial

Students take their seats for the diploma ceremony at the John F. Kennedy School of Government during the 361st Commencement Exercises at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 24, 2012 (Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder)I am an Uber-riding, selfie-taking, commitment-forsaking, student debt-accumulating, city-dwelling, norm-bucking individual. Don't group me, because 'nobody puts baby in a corner.'  I defy your labels but admire your fascination.

I am a millennial. 

I am someone born between 1980-1997, and I have the participation trophies to prove it. I have chosen to write in the first person knowing it is looked down upon, but norms don't apply to me because that is your truth, not my truth. Some call me narcissistic, or as Time Magazine put it, I am a part of the 'Me Me Me Generation,' but I am not the one writing consistently about me. As you will begin to notice, I am fluent not only in English, but conversant in 'snark,''sarcasm,' and 'cyncism.'

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Bruce Jenner: transgenderism wanted, transformation needed

Bruce Jenner shares an exclusive and wide-ranging conversation with Diane Sawyer on ABC's news program 20/20, April 24, 2015 (Credit: ABC News)Bruce Jenner was the world's greatest athlete in the 1970s, literally on the box of Wheaties. His fame coupled with his wealth fueled the speculation that he was the next person to play Superman. Today, Jenner is a co-star in the world's most talked about reality TV show, figuratively trying to keep up with the Kardashians. Now, Jenner is transitioning to a new role.

In a recent 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer, Jenner came out as a woman. "I'm not stuck in anybody's body. It's just who I am as a human being," Jenner said. "My brain is much more female than it is male." Tired of living a lie, Jenner candidly observed to a sympathetic Diane, "I look at it this way—Bruce always telling a lie. He's lived a lie his whole life about who he is. And I can't do that any longer."

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Millennials: money

A picture illustration shows a $100 banknote laying on $1 banknotes (Credit: Reuters/Kacper Pempel)If you have a child in college or living outside the house then you have had this conversation… "Are you coming home from college this weekend?  Yes, can I have gas money?"  Is it just me or does that sound like extortion?  "How bad do you want to see me this weekend?  It's going to cost you.  I am holding you seeing me as ransom for $20 in gas."  I realize our national security policy is that we do not negotiate with terrorists but a $20 gas ransom is a good investment.  Oh, but it never ends there, does it?  My personal favorite was being asked for $20 so they can go buy me a $20 gift card from Home Depot for Father's Day.  But I smile, and make the investment.  And that's really what it feels like.  But I also realize that things are different.  

Children have always relied on their parents for help in getting started but it's harder to get started today.  Student loans, depressed job market, unpaid internships, and crushing debt all add up to many young adults having to rely more on their parents than their parents had to rely on their parents. "A lot of today's Millennials are dealing with a lot of financial factors that their parents, and certainly adults in America, did not have to contend with a generation or two ago," says Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, an author and personal finance expert who runs the site AskTheMoneyCoach.com.

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BraveLove: thank you mom

Mother’s Day can be a bittersweet day for birth moms who chose adoption. This year we’re sending a Mother’s Day card to birth mothers everywhere to show we care. The card will appear on billboards around the country, signed by thousands who love and support birth mothers for their brave choice to place for adoption. Will you take a second to sign it? (Credit: Bravelove)Irish author Oscar Wilde once said, "All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his." A mother knows things before they happen, loves you despite the fact that they happen, and reminds you continually after they happen. She is a woman whose grace is only exceeded by her love, whose warmth makes the sun feel like a freezer. It has been said that mothers hold their children's hand for a short while, but their hearts forever – which can make Mother's Day either a day of great joy or silent sorrow.

This Mother's Day, many families will come together to celebrate the one who has loved them deeply. But for others, Mother's Day is a stinging reminder of what might have been. For these moms, the sting draws its power from their earlier decision to place their child. In the process of adoption, one person's greatest joy comes from another's greatest loss.

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