Month: November 2019

I Wanted to Say Thanks; I Ended Up Saying Sorry

When I decided to mark my 50th birthday year by writing thank-you letters to people who had helped, inspired, and shaped me in my life, the last thing on my mind was forgiveness. But writing those thank-you letters turned out to be harder, deeper, and more meaningful than I’d ever hoped, in large part because it drove home the ways in which gratitude and forgiveness are twinned in human nature. By challenging myself to acknowledge all the ways in which I had been helped over the years, I necessarily faced facts: there were situations in which I hadn’t always conducted myself in a way that made me deserving of the help. And in situations where I’d clung to historical slights by a family member or close friend, writing a letter documenting all the ways those people had supported me over the years made me blush with embarrassment over my hard work and determination to maintain ancient disappointments. Making amends as I went, whether in the text of the letters I wrote or simply by promising …

TueNight 10: Ada Calhoun

Age: 43 Basic bio: Ada is the author of the NYC history St. Marks Is Dead, the marriage memoir Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give, and the generation-defining book about the midlife crisis of Gen X women, Why We Can’t Sleep, out January 7, 2020 (pre-order now!). Beyond the Bio: “My favorite thing about being this age is that I have a small army of women friends who I would trust with my life. Being with them takes the edge off even the worst weeks.” 1. On the nightstand: A dangerously tall tower of books. A glass of water. So many hair ties. 2. Can’t stop/won’t stop: Watching Law & Order SVU if I come across it while channel-surfing. Playing Scrabble on my phone. 3. Jam of the minute: The Replacements, “Color Me Impressed.” 4. Thing I miss: Wearing high heels all day without having to carry backup sneakers in my bag. 5. 80s crush: River Phoenix, especially in Running on Empty. When he cries? Jesus. 6. Current crush: Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr. 7. Will whine about: Sleeping poorly. Running out of coffee. Forgetting what day it is. …

Am I Bullied by the Past? Or Just by My Memories?

In the very early days of Facebook, back when people “poked” each other, I received two friend requests, both from women I’d originally met in Grade 8. Both sent me chatty messages, congratulating me on the arrival of my new baby, commiserating about the trials of integrating newborns into the emotional lives of their toddler siblings, and updating me on their whereabouts, relationships and careers over the previous 20 years. The irony of their sweet messages wasn’t lost on me. In the eighth grade, I’d been the new kid, parachuted across the country from my tiny, all-girls, private-school class in Vancouver, British Columbia, to a public junior high in suburban Toronto. I was awkward, friendless, and scared, all of which was likely noted by the group of girls I half-fell in with. I spent that year in a state of watchfulness, arriving at school each morning wary about how my status in the group might have shifted overnight.  Toward the end of the year, an anonymous, handwritten note appeared in my art folder. The letter, …

TueNight 10: Evelyn Taylor Bonner

Evelyn Taylor Bonner with her wares at the West Elm in Red Bank, New Jersey (photo courtesy Evelyn Taylor Bonner) Age: 53 Quick bio: Evelyn is a full-time ceramic artist living in the super-hip Philly suburb of Collingswood, New Jersey. Her work is featured at the five West Elm stores in New Jersey, and she’s currently busy filling wholesale orders and prepping for her 7th annual Open Studio event happening December 7-8.  Beyond the bio: “I’ve worked my ass off to get here, and now, at 53, I’m kinda living the dream. So much therapy, so much hard work, and so many supportive friends helped me get here. I married an amazing man whom I had known for 30 years prior (friendship turned to romance), left behind a 20 year arts-marketing career to become a full-time artist, and reluctantly adopted my MIL’s cat who’s now a miracle of love in our home. It’s not always easy around here, but I’m incredibly grateful.” 1. On the nightstand: Weekly New York Times mag. Now if I could only …

TueNight 10: Kate Hanley

Age: 49. I actually enjoy saying the number because in my mind I’m already telling myself I’m 50 in preparation; but I’ve still got seven months of my 40s left, dammit! Quick Bio: Kate is the host of the podcast “How to Be a Better Person” and author of the book of the same name. She lives in Providence, RI with her husband, two kids, and a rescue dog named Cookie. Beyond the Bio: “The thing I love the most about full-on middle age is losing the compulsion to have people like me and speaking up; the thing that trips me out is all the things you thought would never happen to you, happening to you: crepey skin, thinning hair, a new sun spot every week, needing reading glasses, developing a wattle, feeling time speed up. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I’m like, “who is that?” But, hey, I’m younger than I’ll ever be, and I’m fairly healthy. I appreciate these things immensely and really try not to take them for granted.”  1. On the …