This is a milestone blog for me. According to my numbering system, this is my 500th blog. That’s a lot of weekly blogs.

I hit another milestone last week. On June 8, I hit three years of walking at least 5,000 steps a day. Every single day. Rain or shine. Even in rain that soaked me so thoroughly that I had water pool inside my waterproof shoes after running down my legs. Even through a herniated disc and the side effects of Covid shots. As a lifelong couch potato, I’m very proud of that achievement. Probably more so than anything else I’ve ever done, to be honest. Because it required a complete change of lifestyle, really.

I now focus on my health (the whole brain tumor helped, of course). I prioritize exercise. That is something I never did before the brain tumor. And something I can’t imagine NOT doing now.

Everyone in my life knows I need to walk. I need to get my steps. And they’re all very supportive of it. I guess they like having me around <grin>.

Streaks are good motivators for me. But this is more than that. It’s a way of life now.

If you’ve been thinking of moving more, I recommend setting a goal you can achieve every day, even on the tough days. That’s why my goal is still 5,000 steps. I actually average about 7,500 steps a day, but I keep that goal at 5,000 because I know that even on my toughest days, I can still eke that out.

Now if only I can convince my 12-year-old to join me in the must-walk-every-day mindset, I’ll be golden.

What my 12-year-old does have a good handle on already, however, is the concept of gender equality. Which, to her generation, means do your gender shouldn’t dictate what you can do at all ever.

She got into an argument last week, for example, with a sixth-grade teacher who insisted that only the girls could have flowers in their hair for the luau-themed luncheon they were having (that “promotion” ceremony I mentioned last week). Nola kept asking why the boys couldn’t if they wanted to. The teacher kept insisting it was because of tradition. Instead of actually hearing the question, the teacher just tried to shut Nola down. (Anyone who has met Nola knows that didn’t work.) In the end, Nola had to give up the fight because the teacher outranked Nola. But that didn’t stop her from giving a boy in her class—who did indeed want a flower—the flower from her own hair.

If you can’t change the rule, change the result.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has been known to touch on the theme of gender bias in her writing. Sometimes subtly, sometimes directly. I let you decide which tactic she uses in her Free Fiction story this week on her website, “Playing with Reality.”

Click here to read the story for free now or here to buy it to read later.

Reality. What an interesting concept.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.