Amidst an ongoing struggle to protect myself from poisonous news in a world gone insane, I accidentally stumbled on the calming effects of learning Japanese. I had no desire to learn Japanese. Although it could come in handy since my son and daughter-in-law are fluent in it, when I had tried to learn it in the past I’d found it tedious, frustrating and too hard. So I … Continue reading The Unexpected Stress Relief of Japanese
Raising children is the most harrowing, as well as life-affirming, experience there is. We live our lives under the illusion of control because to do otherwise would make us feel helpless and crazy. When we’re faced with things we can’t control, we can feel overwhelmed by worry. When I was pregnant with my first baby, I tried to eat right. But all day, every day, … Continue reading The Myth of Control in Parenting
A friend wanted to talk to me about the dire state of American politics, specifically the terrible foreboding he had about the man who will be our next president. “Oh, that’s right,” my friend, Joe (not his real name), said. “You’re not following the news.” “If you want to talk to me,” I said, “I don’t mind hearing the important stuff second-hand. But for now, … Continue reading How Much Should we Give for our Country?
If our personalities are always changing throughout life, then how can we ever make decisions for our future? How can we possibly choose a career that’s right for us many years from now? How can we promise to love someone always? How long should we wait around for someone to change, when they promise us they will? When I was divorced many years ago I … Continue reading Promises
We all like to think we’re immune to it, but advertising and market research says we’re not. In the Hidden Brain radio podcast, We’re More alike than Different, Thanks to Peer Pressure’s Relentless Influence, I was reminded of how clueless we are to our own susceptibilities. We’re all familiar with famous athletes being paid to wear certain brands. The basketball player LeBron James made $54 … Continue reading Adult Peer Pressure
Tricia, an old friend of mine, said something that started me thinking. Her parents had been married for 40 years when her mother died. When her father fell in love again and remarried a couple of years later, Tricia was happy for him, but felt uneasy. “I’ve always believed in heaven,” she said. “It meant that my father and mother would be united there for … Continue reading Who is the Real You?
A character in the novel Today Will be Different, by Maria Semple, said about psychotherapy: Change is the goal. Insight is the booby prize. It reminded me of what I tell people when they ask, “Why isn’t my wife romantic?” or “Why is my sister always mean to me?” or “Why can’t my husband stop demanding that the house be spotless?” Will answering these questions make … Continue reading Insight is the Booby Prize
After two wonderful back-to-back vacations, I returned home with a severe chest cold. I stopped writing for over a month. Although I began to recover from my cold, I became wracked with doubt over restarting my writing habit again. Questions tortured me. Why am I writing in the first place? Who cares about what I have to say? How can I possibly contribute anything important … Continue reading Comfort in Unexpected Places
It may have been all the fairy tales I’d read as a kid, or maybe it’s just the nature of being a child, but everything new seemed magical to me when I was growing up. I was raised in a suburban development on Long Island that was built on former potato fields. There were still farms on Hempstead Turnpike, the main road a couple of blocks away, and … Continue reading The Magic of Childhood
While parking my car at a busy shopping center, I witnessed an unfolding drama. A woman in a red car was heading for a spot when a blue car came from the opposite direction and slipped right in. I settled in to watch the battle, but then a new spot opened up right next to the red car. Disaster was averted. Well, not quite. Instead of … Continue reading Small Slights, Big Emotions