Does 9 times 1 equal 1?

If you know the answer… well, I’m sure you will have a wonderful day, savoring each and every moment. But, I also believe you have a curious side and will be hanging around to see where this might be going. If on the other hand, you don’t know the answer, you have a couple of choices to ponder. You can continue to read along and figure out how we solve this problem to get to the correct answer, or you can jump right to the end, read the answer, and then be on your merry way.

How many times have we read or heard the old words; “Life is a journey, not a blah, blah, blah…” There is a lot of truth in that. The people who miss that point might be the ones sitting in the drive-thru five minutes after they decided they were hungry, got in their car, placed an online order, and almost hit someone because they were on their phones. You know the story. But the ones that maybe get it are at home, gathering all the ingredients together, following the recipe for the hundredth time with all the measuring and cooking stuff laid out and all the ingredients ready to go. Their senses are ablaze in anticipation of what they are about to embark on. Will it become the mouthwatering treat they hope for or just an average meal? They know what they’d prefer, but they also know that they will enjoy it even if it isn’t; simply because of the journey.

Or that person, growing up in their early teenage years, knowing just enough to make them dangerous, who “wants the world and they want it now!” And from that, they are anxious, confused, and all so frustrated. Everything is seen as a priority, and they become overwhelmed. At least, until they can settle down and start encountering the forest one tree at a time as they make their way along life’s journey. They will learn that everything cannot, and should not be a priority, especially all at once. They seem to fear the notion they are a failure because they cannot grasp their incorrect version of multi-tasking. My 14-year-old son fits right into that situation, and it shows.


Multi-tasking is not doing everything at once; it is doing the most important pieces of each thing, based on a priority of the tasks laid before you at the time when you need to identify those priorities. The key is to calmly interrogate the tasks to determine their priority in time and perform the tasks of the highest priority first. Humans are living, breathing, computers. Your smartphone or computer doesn’t even do everything all at once. It takes on bits and pieces at a time, working on them based on a priority schedule.

Imagine the surgeon, who has two operations scheduled for the day. One patient has worked with the surgeon and the other doctors for years. They have learned, laughed, and cried with their medical team. Today is their day; they are ready, they are prepared, and they are at peace. Granted, with a pinch of happy anxiety, per the recipe. The other patient, who just the day before walked into the surgeon’s office and said they wanted the surgery right away, as in “Are we done yet?” Both are lying in their beds, surgical gowns in place, ready to enter the operating room. The first one is at peace and in joyous anticipation. The other is fearful, scared, and a bundle of nerves not knowing what to do, how it will go, or what to expect afterward.

Why such a different outlook by these two patients? There shouldn’t be; right? Actually, there should be. You see, the first one realized that life is, in fact, a journey, and not a sprint to some finish line. They learned along the way. They experienced what needed to be done as they learned more and more. They probably even learned some things along the way that they will never need to use. But there is peace and joy in that as well. The other patient is scared because they just realized they don’t know what they don’t know! And that is going to be a bigger pill to swallow once they awaken from surgery. A surgery that they could very well regret. But not the first patient; who will be beaming from ear to ear, with tears of joy in their sleepy eyes, who will be thankful and not regretful.

A while back, I encountered someone who could have wound up as our second patient. She was a jumbled mess. So much so with, so little time, I need it now kind of thing. But, drawing from the project engineer part of my brain we chatted and slowly started to pull apart all the things that she had to do, how long they took, and which ones needed to be done before the others. It seemed to put her at ease once she discovered that not everything had to be done all at once, right now, at this moment. Being able to have small goals along a path to an end goal can be quite comforting. Walking up to that first tree in the forest, introducing yourself, and getting to know all about that Acer saccharum before you go talk to the Picea abies is part of that journey. Each of them plays their part in helping you along with whatever part of life you are in now. Be it school, a career, or within your family.

Stopping to smell the roses in the garden of your life will be an activity you love and cherish as you wake each day to their fresh scent. To do otherwise, might see you fretful, anxious, frustrated, and regretful of your past. Tonight at midnight today shall end, and all the opportunities and challenges that had been laid out before you today that you chose to ignore because you wished to rush through today, for that quick fix, instant gratification, will haunt you tomorrow, and the rest of your life. Sadly, that has been the downfall of many a person that has come before us. Please don’t add to that statistic. Besides, the Perfume Delight will soon be coming into bloom…

Well, as promised, the answer is a resounding no; 9 times 1 does not equal 1, it equals 9. If that isn’t the answer you were counting on, then you may want to start back at the beginning and read all of this, instead of jumping right to the end……


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Michelle Lawson

Well as for the physical 'me'; I had an orchiectomey in October of 2019 and my BA in Oct of 2021. Along with that, will be a change to all of my identification; name changes and gender markers. As for the rest of the 'what makes Michelle tick', come visit the Chat Rooms, and the Forums. As a Manager on TGH, I help to make sure your experiences here are safe, happy, supportive, and educational. You are here to grow and thrive, and we are here to nurture that growth. I look forward each day to helping to keep TGH the de facto standard for support in the transgender community. I look forward to chatting with you all, and reading through what you all post. And if you come across a transgender friendly or supportive place, drop me a line so we can figure out how to add it to our Local Places.

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Gisela Claudine
Gisela Claudine(@firefly)
3 months ago

I didn’t jump to the end. Thank you, Michelle, for this wisdom-filled article. The path of life must be taken step by step to enjoy the small details that pave it. The one who runs, stumbles and falls face down on the ground. The important thing is to get up, with the lesson learned, and continue doing it properly. A very well written article that provokes deep reflections and practical conclusions.

Charlene K
Active Member
Charlene K(@charlenev)
3 months ago

Hi Michelle, Thank you for the thoughts and how you chose to present them. I have learned much along my trans journey over the last 63 years. I do wish I could have lived those years as myself, yet upon reflection I am thankful I didn’t transition when I was younger.  At one time I would declared very confidently, I would never transition. But because of what I have learned in my journey I can’t declare that with near the confidence I once had. And that’s good, because should I finally make the transition decision, I will definitely need all… Read more »

Toni Floria
Active Member
Toni Floria(@mustangtoni)
3 months ago

Dear Michelle. Thank you for the insightful article (I didn’t jump to the the end for the answer) my biggest. Challenge is slowing down enough to smell the beautiful flowers in my garden of life thanks again for your insights

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