How I Learned To Be Productive While Doing Nothing At All

“And one more thing: Don’t expect to do anything in the first few weeks after surgery.” “Okay.” It was a Friday morning in late July, and I was staring at a monochromatic image on a computer screen. An orthopedic surgeon was sitting next to me explaining the image. My heart was racing; my mind was numb. That morning, I had woken up at 5, done some exercises to strengthen my injured leg, gone for a swim, made coffee and breakfast, and edited the final draft of an article. It was only 9:30 in the morning, but…

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 Social Media Tells Our Life Story — Whether We Like It Or Not

Last weekend, I attended a wedding. A number of guests were people to whom I haven’t spoken in months or even years, for no reason other than the fact that our daily lives don’t intersect. As I anticipated the reunion, I imagined a Romy and Michele-style experience in which conversations would begin with, “What have you been up to since 2010?” And I was nervously excited about that. But these conversations took an unexpected path. I was greeted with opening lines like, “You were all over the place this week!” and “What was that dinner you made?” or “I love…

What Product Design Can Teach Us About Designing Ourselves

When Rihanna released an award-winning song whose catchiest word was “umbrella,” I was perplexed. Not only is the word ugly, but it also refers to a boring utilitarian item that is associated with bad weather. Living in Philadelphia at the time, I had a miserable relationship with umbrellas. They literally turned on me when I needed them most. During the wet seasons, I resolved myself to a monthly cycle of disposing and purchasing umbrellas. I never spent more than twenty dollars on an umbrella and never expected it to last longer than a few windy rainstorms.…

What Quitting Running Taught Me About Living Life

This year, I ran from San Francisco to Salt Lake City. Well, kind of. I ran the distance between the two cities over the course of ten months. This certainly isn’t a lot for a professional runner, but it is a lot for a person who somewhat recently started running for running’s sake. Not on a treadmill, but outdoors. Not as “exercise,” but just because. After graduating college five years ago, I found myself in need of a new form of physical activity. Up until then, I hadn’t ever sought out exercise. It was…