When my older son told me he was moving off Long Island, where we live, to a city in upstate New York, about 225 miles away, I felt a pang in my heart. He was going to a better job, and a place where money bought a lot more than it does here at home. But he was my dining-out and beach-walk buddy. I was … Continue reading Parenthood: A Loop of Hellos and Goodbyes
I recently went on a 4 day trip alone to beautiful Quebec City. One afternoon, after wandering through the quaint Basse Ville (lower town) of Old Quebec, I sat down at an outdoor cafe nestled into the steep cliff steps and ordered a green salad with cranberries, goat cheese, and toasted walnuts, finished off with an icy latte. I had chosen to sit beside an older couple, maybe in their early 70’s. The man … Continue reading Plot Reversals in Your Life Story
Sometimes I look at people around me and marvel that every one of us alive right now is descended from an unbroken line of modern human beings who first walked the earth around 200,000 years ago. If you’re not amazed, and rather impressed with yourself, think about this: In the 4 billion years since life emerged on our planet, over 99% of all species that have ever lived, have gone … Continue reading Designed for Anxiety
I recently heard a scientist describe time as 1 dimensional, as opposed to 3 dimensional space. Time moves in one direction – forward into the future, not backwards. But don’t you ever want to travel backwards in time? I hear women say, “My husband has changed. He’s always out. When he’s home, he’s drinking, and when he’s not drinking, he’s angry. I want to get back … Continue reading What if Time Were 2 Dimensional?
I once knew a woman, I’ll call her Michelle, whose daughter died at the tender age of 25. That was 8 years ago, and Michelle still blames herself for the death. “Ellie was an alcoholic,” Michelle says. “But she was so much more. She was kind and funny. She entertained kids at the local hospital with her impersonations of cartoon characters and her homemade puppets. She was a girl … Continue reading Self Blame is Magical Thinking
I’m wondering what it means to walk through a city, park or museum looking at the world through your phone screen and searching for little cartoon monsters. Does it mean that people will now get out of their houses to explore the world around them? Or will they walk through life blinded to the fascinating game being played right before their eyes? When I walk down a … Continue reading Does Pokemon Go Blind you or Open your Eyes?
I used to teach a night class at the local college about the history of social welfare in America. One of the evenings was devoted to Social Justice and Discrimination. We discussed prejudice and stereotypes. Students seemed to think that while negative stereotypes were evil, positive stereotypes were a good thing. Jews are smart. Black people are great musicians and athletes. Asians are math geniuses (even though they are abysmal … Continue reading Positive Stereotypes are Negative
I once had a co-worker who got married 3 times – to the same man. I’d met Leanne just as she was divorcing her husband for the 2nd time. “I should have known better,” she said with a sheepish grin. When I ran into Leanne a couple of years later, I asked how she was doing. “I married him again,” she said, rolling her eyes. “The … Continue reading If it Doesn’t Work the First Time
I spent my entire education, including high school, university, and graduate school, as the quietest student in history. In 4th grade I stopped ever raising my hand, and did not once answer a question for the next 20 years in any classroom. But I longed to speak in public. Years ago, I was introduced to the non-profit organization, Toastmasters International, where I met the kindest group … Continue reading Are You a Natural?
This is a story of how I changed the lives of 8 people for 10 days in a trifling way. But mostly, it’s about how I changed myself. Many years ago I was a shy social worker at a small, non-profit agency helping runaway kids by giving them shelter, advocacy, and counseling. We were housed in an old building undergoing renovation during the hottest July I can … Continue reading Doing the Impossible