When Neither A Life Of Balance Nor Imbalance Is Sufficient

Last year on my birthday, I declared that this would be my year of imbalance. After spending the prior year scrounging for balance as I recovered from injury, I was influenced by Brad Stulberg’s New York Times op-ed “Maybe We All Need A Little Less Balance,” to strive for, and value, imbalance. Almost six months in, I’m not only discovering the bounds of my resolution, but also questioning its virtue. Over the course of the year, I experimented with healthy imbalances like having a bias for walking to and from work over taking…

What This Year’s Fig Season Taught Me About Letting Go

What California doesn’t have in seasons, it makes up for in seasonal produce. For as long as I can remember, my seasons have been defined by the fruits or vegetables available to us at the time. Summer was for strawberries and Autumn was for apples. Now, living in San Francisco and buying my produce mostly from local markets, I am exposed to a broader variety of produce, and much more aware of seasonal availability. From springtime apricots to wintertime persimmons, I know what to expect when. By the middle of each season, its respective…

Our Search for Meaning Means Nothing and Everything At the Same Time

As a child, I loved Valentine’s Day. Or rather, I loved Valentine’s Day cards. For me, the day was not just a day, but an event centered around giving and receiving cards. On the days leading up to the big day, we decorated white paper bag “mailboxes” to place on our desks, purchased a themed Valentine card pack, and wrote names on each card. On the day of, we went around the room placing cards in each mailbox while eating heart-shaped cookies. Giving cards was not mandatory, but it was mandatory to give…

How to Give the Gift of Happiness

Handmade Gift, c. 1995 Before curling up in my parents’ bed and listening for the reindeer hooves they insisted they could hear, I spent the Christmas Eves of my childhood locked in my room making and wrapping presents for them. My parents were my only means of making purchases, so no store-bought present could surprise them. From the year of the handmade ornaments to the year of the coupon book (breakfast in bed, anyone?), I never stopped dreaming of the day I could finally get my parents a “real present.”…

When it comes to rejection, no word is as good as “No.”

When was the last time someone called you to invite you to an event? A dinner date, a birthday party, a trip? When was the last time you called someone on the phone and invited them to something? I can’t remember a time in recent history. My childhood was complete with telephone invitations — from asking my neighbor if he could come out to play or a friend if she could sleepover. I am most reminded of these phone calls in August. After thoughtfully creating a list of names and…