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Bet you've never heard it. Well, maybe. Let's talk.

The word in question is "Latibulate."

That's a beaut, ain't it?

Apparently it was used only once in 1623. Here is what's said about it:

The verb 'latibulate' is defined in an early dictionary from 1623 as 'privily to hide ones selfe in a corner'. Long since obsolete, it is surely forgivable to broaden its scope to the intense urge to retreat. (author bolded)

I like this even better:

The Latin word latibulum means a “refuge or hiding place of animals.” It derives from the same root that gives us the English word latent, meaning “hidden.” (author bolded)

My buddy JC was at the Portland airport at 4:30 yesterday morning, enjoying a breakfast on his boss' dime as he gets ready to begin a 17-day trip around Florida to create videos for his active elder communities. In between bites, he dropped that word, knowing I'd love it.

JC is brilliant that way; every conversation is full of inspiration, and I'm a fool not to have pen and paper nearby. He's often the source of my better headlines.

About that word. And what it brings up

Early yesterday I cancelled my stair hike. Two reasons, it's snowing hard, and the steep hill to my drive is impossible to navigate when icy. So I might get down but not back up. Second, my knees have been barking a bit, probably from a bit too many enthusiastic workouts using the weighted vest.

I really want to crawl into my hidey-hole right now. Oh, that is so tempting. I won't, but the fact that it's tempting at times to cancel every damned thing and let the world go mess itself up is interesting.

A great many of us would like to latibulate as opposed to get out, to keep going. We must, you know. Big things are at stake; as George Carlin used to say the folks who are really motivated, among others he listed, were conservative Christians. He was prescient, far more than he could possibly know.

It isn't a bad thing to be as long as you aren't hell bent on returning the world to the Dark Ages. And that element called Christian Nationalism, which is just a fancy word, to my mind, for "white supremacy."

A rose by any other name.

But that's not the only reason. The world needs us, sure. But we need us, we need to show up for ourselves. Crawling into a warm, comfy hidey-hole with all the necessary supplies isn't any kind of life, not really. For some, perhaps.

But when we get to the end of our life, do we want folks to say well, she sure was comfortable?

Deposit photos

Good friends- people who are at the C-suite level in corporate America- have told me that the last year when they rejoined the larger community at big meetings or balls or formal gatherings, people honestly didn't know how to interact. They were fearful of trying to be funny, the cost of a mistake or misstep, or "voting for the wrong guy."

We've been cocooning for years now. Under Covid we cocooned to the point where many of our skills, the natural ability to socialize and connect deeply, were crippled. With so many of us uncomfortable with networking to begin with, about three-quarters of the population, Covid stripped us further.

Many of us hung out inside and tended to feed ourselves preferred news and information which validated our points of view.

When we batten down the hatches, we lose a lot of light.

That of course includes the light that needs to shine on our own ignorance, or resistance, or fears, whatever it is that locks us in place and out of the river of life.

For my part, while I might have been a bit more proactive, my surgeries, recoveries and the like limited my social activity to the gym, my neighbor, my medical caregivers. I had my online world, which kept me sane during some damned difficult months.

I developed some habits which I am now shedding.

One habit, which was hard to see at the time, was to stay home a lot more than I had in decades. It was so comfortable, so comforting, so safe-feeling, that I hardly recognized the cost.

While I did still get out on Hump Days, I didn't notice how often I was choosing to sit instead of git.

It was so much easier to curl on the couch and watch a movie, or a documentary, or open the magic of another new book than to head out. Hell, it wasn't easy to head out, given the braces and scooters and all the medical devices, to say nothing of the pain.

Pain's a great teacher. Since I'm not willing to drown it with drugs, it's been a constant companion. Still is, but nowhere near as much. Now there's little to no excuse to not get out.

This was a fine way to understand how the elderly, fearful of a fall, end up part of their furniture, unable to even stand up.

It's been a fine way to understand how people who have huge divots in their athletic careers can't get back up. Give up.

Or simply due to internalized ageism, decide that it's all over because they can't do what they used to be able to do at that same level.

Habits have a habit of creeping up on us. Even as disciplined as I have been, it's been far too easy to choose the easier road. I fall off, get too comfortable, then have to climb back on the harder road.

This house, which has been emptied, then set up for sale, cleared of nearly all its furniture but for a couch (which has been my bed since June 2022 but for a few precious months last year) was, then wasn't, then became again a place to latibulate.

The mind is the best place to hide. All the protections, assumptions, prejudices, beliefs, self-talk and the brambles we use to hide, excuse, negotiate terms are part of the stuff I have to machete through if I want a better life.

I don't get to curve into a corner in my brain and hide, not if I want to live out loud, I don't.

Better life, defined by this writer, is one where inconvenient weather (not counting hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or tsunamis, at least) isn't the reason to stay inside.

Last fall I said no to a chance to do a press junket to Arizona. I changed my mind when I realized that I was, indeed, latibulating.

When I said yes, I had no idea the doors that would swing open.

Now it's March, I have multiple paid gigs, have launched into a new book, am heading out for several big rafting adventures this year, and am working on a list of multiple clients. All because I chose to say yes.

I also am rebooting my speaking career, which is even more exciting, which I will share more about later. All this is just to say that one simple decision, just one, led to a huge wave of exciting changes.

The choice to get out instead of stay in. Nice, warm, comfy, cozy.


It's so very tempting to settle in on this snowy spring morning in Eugene, and latibulate. Watch another Netflix doco, read a book.


In fifteen minutes I interview someone for a story for a client. In an hour I do another interview. Midday I have a meeting with my client about the speech. Later I will head back to the gym.

Life is outside the confines of my brain and my ill-fitting boundaries. Of course it's uncomfortable. I risk failure (yep) faceplants (guaranteed) f*ckups (yeah boy howdy) and worse.

Hideyhole corners are crowded. The harder road isn't.

I'm heading out again.

woman in red white and blue floral shirt on beach during daytime
Photo by Black Linear Studios / Unsplash