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My therapist does all the talking.

Several years ago (2004-5ish) I learned of the term "podcast." At the time it didn't make much sense and I failed to see the relevance. To me, it seemed like a new age term for something already invented and available... listening to a radio or tv program. Admittedly, I was one of those "resistant to change, if it ain't broke don't fix it" skeptics. You may have fooled me once with that whole Y2K apocalypse, but I'm woke now. I just didn't recognize a void in my life that could be remedied by listening to an audio file.

Fast forward to 2018 when I'm approaching 50 and can openly acknowledge my own shortcomings, failures, and challenges without fear of being judged or chastised. (To be clear, I'm still judged and chastised at this age, that didn't change, I just don't fear it anymore. To use a new age term...I have no more fucks to give about being judged.) Since first learning of the existence of podcasts, life has drastically changed... I've released my young into the wild, lost100 pounds, got divorced, remarried, welcomed 6 grandchildren, became a world-renowned Uber driver and learned a lot about myself, good and bad.

In my ongoing quest for an improved self, mentally and physically, it was recommended that I listen to a podcast featuring the benefits of a specific diet. (It was the carnivore diet as presented by Dr. Shawn Baker on the Joe Rogan Experience... but this isn't a post to promote controversial diets or self-help methods so don't get hung up on the mention of it.) At the time I was working a "chauffer" gig 2 or 3 days a week that involved a 4-hour roundtrip. Two hours of that time was spent traveling alone on the commute to retrieve my passenger. That solitude provided the perfect opportunity for podcasts, I listened to the Dr. Baker episode and many others.

Joe Rogan hosts a very diverse variety of guests-politicians, celebrities, scientists, entertainers, athletes, inventors, etc. Every single one is passionate and knowledgeable about something and Joe engages them to reveal their purpose and mission. My only exposure to Joe Rogan prior to this was as a comedian and MMA enthusiast. Based on his demeanor and voice he struck me as a meathead, a musclehead, a big dumb jock... but his podcast has repeatedly proven me wrong and caused a makeover of my perception. He is smart, like truly intelligent, smart. He leads conversations with scholarly-academic types that I struggle to comprehend. He strives to be unbiased but is also a skilled "devil's advocate" that can challenge the convictions of his guests. I'm not sure which I value more... the information and education received by his interviews or my new appreciation for humanity and transformation into open-mindedness.

It may seem silly to say, but I've gained a new peace by listening to podcasts. (Not just the Joe Rogan experience but many others that I will highlight soon) Some of them are raw and real and remind me to expand my world by welcoming others into it. The viewpoints expressed inspire me to do better and yet also give me permission to accept who I am, it's a weird dynamic. In the simplest of terms, these audio files have enlightened me and I will never discount their relevance again.