Saturday, March 30, 2019

Notations On Our World (Special Q-End Edition): On #Iran, @EarthHour & Other Thoughts....


Iran has continued to deal with floods of biblical proportions.    As we have been assessing the Government and Civil Society response, we ran across an excerpt from the Supreme Guide of the country, Ayatollah Khameini, whereby he talked about how he stopped a major flooding by virtue of spreading some dirt from the tomb of Imam Hussein--a depiction memorialized in the headline image we captured from the Social Grid.   We joined others in asking why the same could not be done--and this was memorialized in the image above--as the realities, though as reflected below, underscores the continued story of utter  incompetence , lack of regard for the public good and corruption at all levels in spite of the reporting by the Regime's Media Outlets:

In spite of the horrific stories, we saw stories of the human spirit that was heartening--from ordinary folks opening up their homes, repairing cars to rushing supplies to the areas.    Our team was proud to profile this young child worker who donated part of his salary to help the victims of the flooding--he shines shoes in the Capital City, Tehran--the inscription we captured is courtesy of Tavana, the Iranian Civic & Cultural Organization in Farsi:

We were also quite shocked by reporting that the Supreme Guide had a recent meeting with the families of the Fallen of the War in Syria.   In our Research, we realized that Iran had dispatched a battalion of 15,000 Afghan Refugees to the Wary in Syria--and 2,000 of them had died as a result of the War.   This is another reporting we captured courtesy of Radio Farda, Part of the Voice of America Farsi Service:

As we assessed the latest out of Iran, our team ran across this clip from the imprisoned Human Rights Lawyer and Campaigner, Nasrin Soutodeh:

She has received a sentence of 38 years and 148 Lashes for charges that in our view are  not even worth mentioning.    Our Editor is in the midst of working to translate her most recent letter from Prison along with a tribute from the famed director, Jafar Panahi, which we will feature in our properties soon.   This Viral Video is from a recent visit she had in prison with her Son and Daughter--she's joking around with her Son as her daughter cries in the background.    One prominent Iranian-American referred to her as Iran's Nelson Mandela.   We could not agree more as we also pay homage to all the other political prisoners.

As we close out this final edition of Notations for The 1st Quarter of 2019, Earth Hour is before us as we will join the World in going dark for Earth Hour 2019 in tribute to all the fighters for justice and freedom around the World and for a better tomorrow:

Friday, March 29, 2019

Notations On Our World (Special Friday Edition): Out & About in our World

We begin with this from Congressman Adam Schiff on his rebuttal to House GOP calls for his resignation--some compared this to what Joseph E. Welch did as he stood up to Senator Joe McCarthy as the battle continues over the Mueller Report--which we understand to be over 300 pages.   The President claimed vindication--even though the Barr Summary of the Mueller Report did not specify it in spite of claims by the President and his allies to the contrary.   This is as the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is now again under attack by President Trump with potentially 20 million people losing access to healthcare.     

Beyond the shores of the United States, our team was assessing the latest out of Iran in light of the floods.   One telling image that made the Social Media rounds underscored the challenges:

The top image was of a "meeting"--as the bottom one showed ordinary folks doing what they needed to do to make life a little better--in spite of a Government that allocates more budgets to so-called Cultural and religious organizations vs. the National Disaster--the budget for one cultural organization is 300 percent more than the entire National Disaster Budget as Iran had to deal with the nationwide disasters as it has.

This is as Venezuela continues to be in a state of crisis.   There were reports of blackouts again and Nicholas Maduro asked the people to pray.     Venezuela banned Juan Guaido from holding office for 15 years  and this was released by the White House to showcase efforts by the Trump Administration as we also salute the US Army Sergeant who was awarded the Medal of Honor:    


First Lady of Venezuela visits the White House

Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaido is a tremendous leader working hard to free his country from the grips of a socialist dictatorship. Today, President Donald J. Trump welcomed his wife, Interim First Lady Fabiana Rosales, to the White House.

Venezuela’s story is unfathomable. Once the wealthiest country in South America, years of massive wealth confiscation, suppressed free speech, and rigged elections have brought the country to the brink of ruin. Today, nearly 90 percent of Venezuelans live in poverty. In 2018, hyperinflation in Venezuela exceeded a staggering 1 million percent.

“Everything's broken,” President Trump said today of the Maduro regime’s destruction. “They have no water . . . The lights are out.”

First Lady Rosales thanked the United States today for its leadership on the world stage. In January, Venezuela’s National Assembly invoked its constitutional right to declare Guaido, President of the Assembly, as the country’s legitimate leader. Within 30 minutes, America was the first nation in the world to officially recognize President Guaido.

“To see [President Guaido] and his courageous wife stand before the crowds and take that oath of office under the constitution of Venezuela was inspiring not just to people across our hemisphere and across this country, but all over the world,” Vice President Mike Pence said before today’s bilateral meeting between U.S. and Venezuelan officials. In the days that followed that oath, the Maduro regime unleashed untold horror—blocking humanitarian aid, killing innocent civilians, and burning medical supplies.

“Eighty percent of the population in Venezuela has no power. They are trying to break our morale,” Ms. Rosales said today. “They want to submerge us in eternal darkness. But let me tell you that there is light, and the light is here.”

America and the rest of the world are watching closely. The Venezuelan people do not stand alone.

See President Trump host Venezuela’s First Lady at the White House.

More: Vice President Pence kicks off today’s bilateral meeting

President Trump presents the Medal of Honor

Travis W. Atkins first enlisted in the United States Army in 2000. Following a tour of duty in Iraq, he was honorably discharged from service as a Sergeant. But after attending the University of Montana, Atkins felt called to serve once again—and reenlisted in 2005. He was deployed to Iraq the following summer.

On June 1, 2007, Staff Sergeant Atkins engaged in hand-to-hand combat with a suspected insurgent. During the exchange, Atkins quickly realized the man had a suicide vest strapped to his body. Without hesitation, Atkins tackled the insurgent, using his own body to shield his fellow soldiers from the imminent explosion.

Staff Sergeant Atkins’ heroic actions, at the cost of his own life, saved the lives of three American service members. Today, President Trump commemorated the selfless sacrifice of Staff Sergeant Atkins by awarding him a posthumous Medal of Honor.

“Today the name of Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins will be etched alongside of the names of America’s bravest warriors and written forever into America’s heart,” the President said.

Watch President Trump present the Medal of Honor.

As we look to the new Quarter, we leave all with the following as we look forwards to our continued journey of service: 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): Out & About With an Eye Towards the Future w/closing Thought Featuring @AOC

Yesterday our team chose a thought that underscores our Mission which we have made a commitment to helping to build--now pinned to our profile on our Twitter Channel, Ordinary Faces.   What was outlined below is a true vision of the possible which we will continue to assess as we pay tribute to Peter Diamandis for being the trailblazer that he is--as the cities are the future and the sooner we realize it and the sooner we reconcile with nature, the better--as the horrific scenes in Iran reflect as we also embrace Seth Godin with what he reminded us all of: 

Tomorrow’s cities are reshaping almost every industry imaginable, and birthing those we’ve never heard of.
Riding an explosion of sensors, megacity AI ‘brains,’ high-speed networks, new materials and breakthrough green solutions, cities are quickly becoming versatile organisms, sustaining and responding to the livelihood patterns of millions.
Over the next decade, cities will revolutionize everything about the way we live, travel, eat, work, learn, stay healthy, and even hydrate.
And countless urban centers, companies, and visionaries are already building out decades-long visions of the future.
Setting its sights on self-sustaining green cities, the UAE has invested record sums in its Vision 2021 plan, while sub-initiatives like Smart Dubai 2021 charge ahead with AI-geared government services, driverless car networks and desalination plants.
A trailblazer of smart governance, Estonia has leveraged blockchain, AI and ultra-high connection speeds to build a new generation of technological statecraft. 
And city states like Singapore have used complex computational models to optimize everything from rainwater capture networks to urban planning, down to the routing of its ocean breeze.
Last week, I explored responsive urban networks, self-charging infrastructure and new materials for construction.
Today, I’d like to take a creative tour through some of the most whimsical visions of how we might live in 2050. We’ll discuss smart city services and responsive urban governance, as well as the implications of driverless vehicles for sprawling megacities.
Let’s dive in!

Automated Megacities and Networked Vehicles 

While not given nearly enough credit, the personal vehicle and urban transportation stand at the core of shaping our future cities.
Yet today, your car remains an unused asset about 95 percent of the time.
In highly dense cities like Los Angeles, parking gobbles up almost 15 percent of all urban land area. 
And with a whopping economic footprint, today’s global auto insurance market stands at over $200 billion. 
But the personal vehicle model is on the verge of sweeping disruptions, and tomorrow’s cities will transform right along with it.
Already, driverless cars pose game-changing second-order implications for the next decade. 
Take land use, for instance. By 2035, parking spaces are expected to decline by 5.7 million square meters, a boon for densely packed cities where real estate is worth its area in gold.
Beyond sheer land, a 90 percent driverless car penetration rate could result in $447 billion of projected savings and productivity gains.
But what do autonomous vehicles mean for city planning?
As I often like to do in brainstorming workshops, we can usually identify second-order implications of a technology by extrapolating from its immediate effects.
Autonomous Vehicles - Second-Order Implications
Source: PHD Ventures
Let’s imagine a 100 percent autonomous vehicle (AV) penetration rate. Cars have reached Level-5 automation, are 100 percent self-driving and can now communicate seamlessly with each other.
With a packing density 8X what it is today in most cities, commutes now take a fraction of the time. Some have even predicted aggregate time savings of over 2.7 billion unproductive hours.
But time savings aside, cars can now be entirely reimagined, serving a dual purpose for sleep, office work, morning calls, time with your kids, you name it.
With plummeting commute times and functional vehicles (think: a mobile office, bed, or social space), cities need no longer be geographically concentrated, allowing you to live well outside the bounds of a business district.
And as AVs give rise to an on-demand, Cars-as-a-Service (CaaS) business model, urban sprawl will enable the flourishing of megacities on an unprecedented scale.
While architects and civil engineers leap to the scene, others are already building out smart network precursors for a future of decentralized vehicles.
Using Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) for low power consumption, Huawei has recently launched a smart parking network in Shanghai that finds nearby parking spots for users on the go, allowing passengers to book and pay via smartphone in record time.
In the near future, however, vehicles — not drivers — will book vertically stacked parking spots and charge CaaS suppliers on their own (for storage).
This is where 5G networks come in, driving down latencies between driverless cars, as well as between AVs and their CaaS providers. Using sensor suites and advanced AI, vehicles will make smart transactions in real-time, charging consumers by the minute or mile, notifying manufacturers of wear-and-tear or suboptimal conditions, and even billing for insurance dollars in the now highly unlikely case of a fender-bender.
Next-Gen Parking Garages
Source: Arrowstreet
With an eye to the future, Huawei is building out critical infrastructure for these and similar capabilities, embedding chip-sets under parking spaces across Shanghai, each collating and transmitting real-time data on occupancy rates, as the company ramps up its 5G networks. 
And Huawei is not alone.
Building out a similar solution is China Unicom, whose smart city projects span the gamut from smart rivers that communicate details of environmental pollution, to IoT and AI-geared drones in agriculture.
Already, China Unicom has established critical communications infrastructure with an NB-IoT network that spans over 300 Chinese cities, additionally deploying eMTC, a lower power wide area technology that leverages existing LTE base stations for IoT support.
Beyond its mobile carriers, however, China has brought together four key private sector players to drive the world’s largest coordinated smart city initiative yet. Announced just last August at China’s Smart City International Expo, the official partnership knights a true power team, composed of Ping An, Alibaba, Tencent, and Huawei (PATH).
With 500 cities under their purview, these tech giants are each tackling a piece of the puzzle.
On the heels of over ten years of research and 50 billion RMB (over US$7.4 billion), Chinese insurance giant Ping An released a white paper addressing smart city strategies across blockchain, biometrics, AI and cloud computing.
Meanwhile, Alibaba plans to embed seamless mobile payments (through AliPay) into the fabric of daily life, as Tencent takes charge of communications and Huawei works on hardware and 5G buildout (not to mention its signature smartphones). 
But it isn’t just driverless vehicles that are changing the game for smart cities.
One of the most advanced city states on the planet, Singapore joins Dubai in envisioning a future of flying vehicles and optimized airway traffic flow. 
As imagined by award-winning architect of Singapore’s first zero-carbon house, Jason Pomeroy, Singapore could in the not-too-distant future explore everything from air rights to flying car structures built above motorways and skyscrapers. 
“Fast-forward 50 years from now. You already see drone technology getting so advanced, [so] why are we not sticking people into those drones. All of a sudden, your sky courts, your sky gardens, even your private terraces to your condo [become] landing platform[s] for your own personalized drone.”
Goodyear 2
Source: Goodyear’s Concept Urban Aerial Mobility Ecosystem
Already, Singapore’s government is bolstering advanced programs to test drone capacity limits, with automated routing and private sector innovation. Most notably, Airbus’ ‘Skyways’ venture has begun building out its vision for urban air mobility in Singapore, where much of the company’s testing has taken place.
Yet, as megacities attract millions of new residents from across the planet, building out smart networks for autonomous and flying vehicles, one of our greatest priorities becomes smart city governance.

Smart Public Services & Optimized Urban Planning 

With the rise of urbanization, I’m led to the conclusion that megacities will become the primary nodes of data acquisition, data integration and thereby the primary mechanism of governance.
In just over 10 years, the UN forecasts that around 43 cities will house over 10 million residents each. Autonomous and flying cars, delocalized work and education, and growing urban populations are all beginning to transform cities into interconnected, automated ecosystems, sprawled over vast swaths of geography. 
Now more than ever, smart public services and automated security will be needed to serve as the glue that holds these megacities together. Public sector infrastructure and services will soon be hosted on servers, detached from land and physical form. And municipal governments will face the scale of city states, propelled by an upwards trend in sovereign urban hubs that run almost entirely on their own.
Take e-Estonia.
Perhaps the least expected on a list of innovative nations, this former Soviet Republic-turned digital society is ushering in an age of technological statecraft.
Hosting every digitizable government function on the cloud, Estonia could run its government almost entirely on a server.
Starting in the 1990s, Estonia’s government has covered the nation with ultra-high-speed data connectivity, laying down tremendous amounts of fiber-optic cable. By 2007, citizens could vote from their living rooms.
With digitized law, Estonia signs policies into effect using cryptographically secure digital signatures, and every stage of the legislative process is available to citizens online, including plans for civil engineering projects. 
But it doesn’t stop there.
Citizens’ healthcare registry is run on the blockchain, allowing patients to own and access their own health data from anywhere in the world — X-rays, digital prescriptions, medical case notes — all the while tracking who has access.
And i-Voting, civil courts, land registries, banking, taxes, and countless e-facilities allow citizens to access almost any government service with an electronic ID and personal PIN online. 
But perhaps Estonia’s most revolutionary breakthrough is its recently introduced e-citizenship. 
With over 50,000 e-residents from across 157 countries, Estonia issues electronic IDs to remote ‘inhabitants’ anywhere in the world, changing the nature of city borders themselves. While e-residency doesn’t grant territorial rights, over 6,000 e-residents have already established companies within Estonia’s jurisdiction.
From start to finish, the process takes roughly three hours, and 98 percent of businesses are all established online, offering data security, offshore benefits, and some of the most efficient taxes on the planet. 
After companies are registered online, taxes are near-entirely automated — calculated in minutes and transmitted to the Estonian government with unprecedented ease.
The implications of e-residency and digital governance are huge. As with any software, open-source code for digital governance could be copied perfectly at almost zero cost, lowering the barrier to entry for any megacity or village alike seeking its own urban e-services.
As my good friend David Li often advocates, we’ve seen thriving village startup ecosystems and e-commerce hotbeds take off throughout China’s countryside, resulting in the mass movement and meteoric rise of ‘Taobao Villages.’
As smart city governance becomes democratized, what’s to stop these or any other town from building out or even duplicating e-services?
But Estonia is not the only one pioneering rapid-fire government uses of blockchain technology. 
Within the next year, Dubai aims to become the first city powered entirely by the Blockchain, a long-standing goal of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Posing massive savings, government adoption of blockchain not only stands to save Dubai over 5.5 billion dirham (or nearly US$1.5 billion), but is intended to roll out everything from a citywide cryptocurrency emCash, to an RTA-announced blockchain-based vehicle monitoring system.
Possibly a major future smart city staple, systems similar to this latter blockchain-based network could one day underpin AVs, flying taxis and on-demand Fly-as-a-Service personal drones.
With a similar mind to Dubai, multiple Chinese smart city pilots are quickly following suit.
Almost two years ago, China’s central government and President Xi Jinping designated a new megalopolis spanning three counties and rivaling almost every other Chinese special economic zone: Xiong’an New Area.
Deemed a “crucial [strategy] for the millennium to come,” Xiong’an is slated to bring in over 2.4 trillion RMB (a little over US$357 billion) in investment over the next decade, redirecting up to 6.7 million people and concentrating supercharged private sector innovation.
And forging a new partnership, Xiong’an plans to work in direct consultation with ConsenSys on ethereum-based platforms for infrastructure and any number of smart city use cases. Beyond blockchain, Xiong’an will rely heavily on AI and has even posited plans for citywide cognitive computing.
But any discussion of smart government services would be remiss without mention of Singapore.
One of the most resourceful, visionary megacities on the planet, Singapore has embedded advanced computational models and high-tech solutions in everything from urban planning to construction of its housing units.
Responsible for creating living spaces for nearly 80 percent of its residents (through government-provided housing), the nation’s Housing and Development Board (HBD) stands as an exemplar of disruptive government.
Singapore uses sophisticated computer models, enabling architects across the board to build environmentally optimized living and city spaces. Take Singapore’s simulated ocean breeze for optimized urban construction patterns. 
As explained by HBD’s CEO Dr. Cheong Koon Hean, “Singapore is in the tropics, so we want to encourage the breezes to come through. Through computer simulation, you can actually position the blocks[,] public spaces [and] parks in such a way that help[s] you achieve this.”
Singapore Breeze Flow Optimization 2
Singapore Breeze Flow Optimization
Source: National Geographic
And beyond its buildings, Singapore uses intricate, precision-layered infrastructure for essential services, down to water and electrical tunnels, commercial spaces underground, and complex transportation networks all beneath the city surface. 
Even in the realm of feeding its citizens, Singapore is fast becoming a champion of vertical farming. It opened the world’s first commercial vertical farm over 6 years ago, aiming to feed the entire island nation with a fraction of the land use. 
Whether giving citizens a vote on urban planning with the click of a button, or optimizing environmental conditions through public housing and commercial skyscrapers, smart city governance is a key pillar of the future.

Visions of the Future

Bringing together mega-economies, green city infrastructure and e-services that decimate inefficiency, future transportation and web-based urban services will shape how and wherewe live, on unthinkable dimensions.
Networked drones, whether personal or parcel deliveries, will circle layered airways, all operated using AI city brains and blockchain-based data infrastructures. Far below, driverless vehicles will give rise to on-demand Cars-as-a-Service, sprawling cities and newly unlocked real estate.
And as growing megacities across the world begin grappling with next-gen technologies, who knows how many whimsical city visions and architectural plans will populate the Earth — and one day, even space.

We close with this from @AOC:

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Our Mission

Colbert: All The Other Reasons Trump Is A Bad President

On the #IranFloods

We here at the Daily Outsider extend our heartfelt sympathies to the people of Iran as they continue to deal with the storm of Biblical proportions.    

Notations On Our World (Special Edition): On the Latest In the United States re @POTUS, #Obamacare & #TheWall

As we went to press, the US House failed in its' attempt to override the President's Veto of the Border Wall funding:

House Democrats on Tuesday failed to garner the votes needed to override President Trump’s veto of a bill blocking his emergency border wall funding.
Only a handful of Republicans crossed the aisle to vote with Democrats on the 248-181 vote. That deprived the measure of the two-thirds majority needed to revoke Trump’s February emergency declaration that authorized him to move $3.6 billion in military funds to a southern border wall project.

This is as the White House, the Trump Campaign and Social Media has been abuzz in the aftermath of the Attorney General's Summary Findings our team released earlier.    The US Senate Majority Leader blocked a Democratic Attempt to publicly release the report.   The Justice Department made another major move under the Attorney General in noting that the Affordable Care Act must be held unconstitutional.  
The Bulwark's RACHAEL LARIMORE  released an updated primer on President Trump:

  • Told Billy Bush that “I moved on her like a bitch” in reference to a married woman. And that his M.O. is to “grab ’em by the pussy.”
  • Insulted John McCain for being captured while serving in Vietnam.
  • Insulted a Gold Star family whose son died in Iraq.
  • Said Mexico was going to build America a wall.
  • Accused an American judge of dual loyalties.
  • Refused to divest from his businesses after he was elected president.
  • Does not appear to understand trade deficits.
  • Complained about immigrants from “shithole” countries.
  • Said terrible things about female journalists.
  • Said terrible things about male journalists.
  • Failed to swiftly and simply condemn violence by neo-Nazi and white nationalist protesters during the Charlottesville protest.
  • Said he had a “great relationship” with Rodrigo Duterte, the Phillipines president who has bragged about personally killing people during his war on drugs.
  • Retweeted an extremist British nationalist’s anti-Muslim videos.
  • Implemented tariffs that have caused U.S. companies significant hardships. And then criticized those companies, by name, for moving or closing down plants in response to the economic forces he set in motion.
  • Endorsed accused ephebophile Roy Moore in an Alabama Senate race.
  • Got his ethically compromised son-in-law security clearance over many, many objections of the American intelligence world.
  • Said Mexico was paying for the wall with all the money the U.S. would make under the new NAFTA. (It’s not.)
  • Dragged his feet on federal relief for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2018.
  • Insulted John McCain upon his death by ordering flags raised from half-staff after just one day.
  • Promoted conspiracy theories about shadow-banning on Twitter.
  • Needlessly separated thousands of children from their parents at the southern border and then lied about it being an Obama-era policy.
  • Endorsed the racist Steve King in Iowa.
  • Mocked Republicans who lost in the midterms who weren’t supportive enough of him.
  • Celebrated that the wall Mexico wasn’t paying for was being built. (It wasn’t).
  • Threatened North Korea with nuclear war, via Twitter.
  • Later said North Korea was “no longer a nuclear threat.”
  • When that proved not true, said he was in no hurry for the Norks to denuclearize.
  • Called Kim Jong-un his friend.
  • Badgered his attorney general for months, fired him, and replaced him temporarily with a man who sat on the board of an “invention-marketing” company that scammed clients out of millions of dollars.
  • Called himself “Tariff Man.”
  • Defended Mohammad bin Salman in the wake of the Saudi regime’s murder of U.S. permanent resident and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi.
  • Said after the failed summit with North Korea that he believed Kim Jong-un when Kim said he had nothing to do with the death of Otto Warmbier (whose parents Trump had invited to the 2018 State of the Union back when he was in the threatening-nuclear-war phase of his North Korean relationship).
  • Drove away defense secretary James Mattis with a unilateral surprise announcement that he wanted America to withdraw from Syria.
  • Shut down the government for 35 days because Congress would not give him money for the wall, which Mexico wasn’t paying for, and that he had (falsely) claimed was already under construction.
  • Made an unprecedented executive power grab by declaring a national emergency so that he could appropriate money for the wall from the military to build the wall Mexico wasn’t paying for.
  • Insulted John McCain again and complained he didn’t get a thank you from McCain’s family for approving of the war hero’s funeral.
  • Has repeatedly threatened NBC and Saturday Night Live, sometimes with “retribution” for “hit jobs.”
  • Complained about sending extra food stamp money to the people in Puerto Rico who are still recovering from Hurricane Maria.
  • Created confusion by seemingly canceling, via Twitter, sanctions against North Korea less than a day after his own Treasury Department announced them.
Our team chose this from the Daily Stoic as some "Food 4 thought" as we assessed the on-going challenges at hand:
It was said that Socrates saw his difficult marriage as a sort of challenge that life threw at him—that the fact that his wife’s personality and interests were often at odds with his own was something he could be made better by for being patient with. Certainly, Marcus Aurelius was tested by his difficult son, and likely spent many sleepless nights worrying about what would become of this boy who just couldn’t quite get it together.
So, too, are each of us tested by the difficult relationships that life throws our way. For some of us, that’s an absent father, for others, it’s a sister with a drug problem. We have co-workers who are drama queens, bosses who are assholes, and neighbors who are meddlesome. Each of these situations is a trial, one that challenges us and forces us to apply the lessons that we’ve learned in our reading and through our studies.
Can you learn how to love someone who has trouble loving back? Can you learn how to forgive someone for their flaws? Can you develop the self-control necessary to not lose your temper when they provoke you? Can you put up appropriate boundaries? Can you say “No” when it’s appropriate and say, “Yes” when someone really needs you, even when it would be easier to focus on your own needs?
Relationships test us, but they also teach us. They bring with them both obstacles and opportunities. What matters, then, is how we respond and who we become in the process. No one ever said that family or friendships would be easy—they just said the trouble would be worth it in the end.