Why Reading Harry Potter As An Adult Is More Magical Than You’d Think

As with most people in their late twenties who effectively “grew up” with Harry Potter (Happy kinda 27th, Harry!), I remember my first encounter with the famous wizard. I was in the fifth grade, and my teacher Mrs. Congdon read the first book to our class in one-hour increments each day after lunch. Each day during for that one hour, I escaped the struggles of my world (among which were math, friendship, and piano) and entered the universe of galleons and Grims. For the next several years, I would eagerly await each new book’s release, pre-ordering…

How I Learned That It’s Okay To Ask For Help

In my childhood home, my dad’s office den was the most exciting forbidden room of the house. While it wasn’t hard for us to keep away from the expensive machines and important papers that filled a majority of that room, my brother and I found it impossible not to sneak in and play with his (yes, my dad’s) toy collection (he called them “desk props” and “paper weights”). Among them included a small plastic crate with a small hole and square button. Through then hole shown an eye, representative of a creature…

How Asking Questions Can Make You Rich

Last week, someone tried to steal my money. Before she could run off, I caught her in the act and fought her off. My weapon? A simple question. Now before you imagine any grand scenes of my fighting crime on the streets of San Francisco, let me explain. I was on the phone with an agent, signing up for renter’s insurance. I had already completed an online interview and received a quote of $10.83 per month. The next and final step was for me to talk with an insurance representative who would “help me get…

What’s In A Friend? The Search For A Definition Of Close Friendship

The summer after third grade, I got a two-pendant necklace set. Each pendant was half-heart-shaped, one engraved with the word “Friends” and the other with “Forever.” I spent months strategically determining who would receive my half-heart. I decided on a girl at school who I liked better than anyone else I knew. I wanted to be her best friend. The problem? The role of her best friend was taken. “But it says ‘Friends Forever,’ not ‘Best Friends,’” I told myself every time I got cold feet. I still remember the moment I presented…

Just Say No — To No

“No means no” is a phrase I heard frequently as a child. Though I realize now that it was always for the best (“no” to playing outside after dusk, “no” to leaving the table without eating everything on my plate, “no” to going to a friend’s house before I practiced piano), back then I despised the phrase. It filled me with fear and powerlessness. Two “no’s” in a single sentence left no room to argue, and over time, I accepted the control and authority that came with the word. My relationship with “no” is no different…