‘Wisdom comes with age’ is not just an aphorism. Life experience is one of our greatest teachers. As we move through life, we accumulate wisdom about who we are, what’s really important, and how we can live productively and happily.
With this in mind, I recently polled about 100 people, all over the age of 50, for advice on making the most of life. I studied their comments, looking for the particular mental attitude or belief underlying each one. …
I don’t remember the first time I said “I love you” to a partner. I know it was my first boyfriend, but I have no memory of saying it to him. I also have no memory of him saying it to me, though I’m sure he did.
I’m not sure I actually loved him. He pursued me and I surrendered. No one had ever taught me that it was okay to say no to something I didn’t want — not to dating and not to sex. So we dated and somehow, over time, I came to… what? Did I love…
“Never be afraid of the conversations you’re having. Be afraid of the conversations you’re not having.” — Susan Scott, Fierce Conversations
Have you ever struggled with saying what’s really on your mind? We all do. When we’re not being fully honest with others, it’s often because we:
However, problems occur when you don’t speak honestly:
After one horrific Megabus experience in 2012, I began taking the Amtrak everywhere instead. What’s better than staring longingly out of a train window, Sufjan in your earbuds, a vast landscape stretched before you? It never mattered where I was going, Lollapalooza 2015 or a wholesome coastal town — I was A Mysterious Traveler with Grand Intentions. I was on a journey to Find Myself and Get Into Mischief along the way! (Of course, this was the BC, Before Covid, times.)
Back then, there was always that specific vibe of taking the train. Perhaps it has something to do with…
I stared out the window as we passed the train station: Commuters, all men, with their overcoats, suits, and briefcases, like a herd of clones, stood on the platform, waiting for the train to New York. I thought, “Not for me. There’s got to be more to life than this. I’ll be blazing my own trail.” It was the 1960s, and my dad was driving teenage me to high school.
That was my first moment of spiritual awakening. …
“Need a vibrator?” I received this text from a neighbor after moving into my new apartment in downtown Manhattan last summer. Attached was a screenshot of a Facebook post advertising a free, unopened vibrator for pickup on my block.
“Omg, what FB group is this?!” I texted back.
“Only the most important thing ever,” she said. “Added you.”
The feed was completely baffling to me; people gave away everything from a single roll of toilet paper to flat-screen TVs. “Two of my avocados are ripe early,” someone wrote. “Any takers?” Nothing went unclaimed. This was our neighborhood’s Buy Nothing group…
When you were 15, your father tore your baby pictures like old receipts. The ones in frames he set beside the dumpster. He put on his favorite record, made your brother a tuna sandwich. Whistled.
Ten years later, a man called you a canary in a cage.
Said, No one knows the bird is starving if it doesn’t sing.
Funny, isn’t it?
If you must scream, scream beautifully.
There is an alligator in the bedroom.
You found it there like a rug when you changed the sheets this morning, while he crawled from the bed to…
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—over and over announcing your place in the family of things.
— Mary Oliver
I love when it rains in L.A.
It washes away the smog, and the air smells fresh and clean again.
Everyone stays inside, so there’s a calm that settles over the city, like time has stopped for a moment and you can finally breathe.
I went on a hike just as the rain had dissipated. Bundling up in a hoodie, jacket, scarf, and…
There are no stars or skyscrapers in the suburbs. Even as a child, it felt like an in-between place to me. Suburbs were built for commuters — they leave them to work and come back to them to sleep. Maybe that’s why garages are the focal point of most suburban homes: They’re the portal for a morning exit and evening reentry. In the movies, suburban streets are always full of children playing. That might be true in other places. I lived on six suburban streets in California and kids never played on the streets. The sidewalks were always empty.