Why 2018 Will Be The Year I Stop Caring About What I Deserve

It was a December in the late 90’s, and my school was on break for the holidays. I was spending the afternoon with one of my best friends and we were passing time as only kids know how. We were upstairs in the “play room,” whose prime open space had recently been colonized by her dad’s treadmill. “How does this work?” I asked, already standing on the belt. My friend started to respond but I was too busy punching buttons. The belt was whirring, and I was jogging, then running,…

Why 29 Will Be My Most Unbalanced Year Yet

I’ve always used my birthday as a time to stop and think about where I’ve been and where I’m going. The annual tradition is one way I try to build self-awareness and achieve balance. This year in particular, however, I didn’t want to stop. In some ways, I had been stopped all year and I wanted to celebrate my renewed ability to go-go-go. Last year, I had knee surgery four days after my birthday. I spent the next six months rebuilding my strength, and the six months after that rebuilding my…

How a Japanese Chef Taught Me That I Am What I Don’t Eat

I grew up in a household where wasting food was unacceptable—not just in theory, but in practice. One of our (many) dining table rules was that you couldn’t get up out of your chair until all the food on your plate had vanished (and not because you had snuck it into our dog’s mouth). My mom, the gatekeeper to the kitchen sink, was the enforcer of this rule. The good news is that my mom is a fabulous cook. She takes into account dietary restrictions, preferences, and irrationals. There’s no…

I Was Almost Suspended, But Instead I Learned An Unforgettable Life Lesson

I was seated one seat diagonally behind Jonathan that day. I remember it as if it was yesterday. It was a Monday. Nineteen years ago. He reached into his backpack and then pulled his hand out, his fist clenched around something. Click. Now there was something silver protruding from the fist. He turned around and held it up. We made eye contact. “I forgot I had this in my backpack,” he said without prompting, “I went camping this weekend.” He turned back around and I went back to my in-class…

An Open Thank You Note To Cheryl Strayed

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Your tiny book taught me how to love and live Dear Cheryl, If there are only two more words you read in this letter, let them be: Thank you. I first learned of tiny beautiful things last summer. It came highly recommended by a mentor. Me in my late twenties and she in her early thirties, we often discussed how we teeter between dichotomous feelings of intimacy and isolation. I bought it and started reading that evening. Expecting something like Wild, I approached the book with an intellectual lens, in search…