THE BLOG
04/28/2014 11:39 am ET Updated Jun 28, 2014

Heartbleeds, Handshakes, and Foolproof Happiness

The "heartbleed bug" hysteria has come and passed. You may or may not have a general sense of what it was all about. Something about compromised passwords, hackers, SSL and encryption; security and privacy.

When it was the really in full force I decided that I had better understand the issue and take measures to defend myself, so I did some research. I was left with more questions than answers. Mostly because I read stuff like this in a Q&A forums about the bug:

"Q. Does TLS client certificate authentication mitigate [MITM]?
A. No, heartbeat request can be sent and is replied to during the handshake phase of the protocol. This occurs prior to client certificate authentication."

If you're anything like me, you have no idea what you just read, and you have a different idea of a handshake. A handshake seals a deal. It initiates a friendship. It can be firm, it can be limp. You learn a lot about a person just by shaking their hand. A handshake has nothing to do with "heartbleeds" and hackers. When we talk about handshakes, we generally know what the other words in the sentence mean.

That was one of the more straightforward questions and answers in the whole forum. Suffice it to say I still don't understand the "heartbleed bug."

So, if I know nothing about "heartbleed" -- why in heaven's name am I writing about it? Well, because the "heartbleed" ordeal serves as yet another reminder that we should collectively start investing a bit more of ourselves in a different type of life. A type of life that is immune to all of the stress and confusion and vapor that occurs online, buried within caged bunkers of cloud storage racks. I'm advocating a slice of Life 1.0.

Life offline. You know: paper, pencil, people, handshakes. Firm handshakes. Life outdoors, where bugs ruin picnics not bank accounts.

If you want to be rich in a meaningful way, start by investing a bit more of your life offline. Consider this: The average lifespan of an app in the App Store nowadays is 14 months; the average lifespan of a human being is over 80 years. Now go forth and invest in a human, and delete and app while you're at it. Go smile, go firmly shake a hand, and tip a waitress, and go for a run and listen carefully to the birds. They'll sing for you. And when you get back home, before you turn on your computer or check your phone, write a letter to someone you love. Send them something that won't be lost in the archives of email and cyberspace, something that will be stored permanently. Something that no hacker can dig up when the next "bug" surfaces.

Author Matt Richardson is the co-founder of Gramr Gratitude Co. Gramr provides a subscription service for original thank-you notes, and their goal is to foster habits of gratitude by encouraging people to write one thank-you note per week -- learn more about their vision of a more grateful world here.