Blueprint: Redefining My Birthright

Blueprint: Redefining My Birthright

I left them quite intentionally, my blue-collar family, but now I can look back with great appreciation. They scraped together the money that my private-college scholarship didn’t cover, probably not understanding that it meant I would leave their world for one they would never enter—the reward and punishment of a good education. Decades later, I’ve learned to fake it, to…

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Learning While You Sleep

Learning While You Sleep

Ever go to bed with the name of someone or something on the tip of your tongue? You just can’t quite remember it. Then you wake up the next morning, and bang! Mystery solved. This often happens to me after I watch an old movie on TCM, the Turner Classic Movies cable station. I’ll recognize an actor from the 1930s,…

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Second Acts: Living at Large in the World

Second Acts: Living at Large in the World

Second Acts is a series of interviews with interesting people who discovered new pathways midway through their lives. I discovered Rita Golden Gelman when a friend sent me a copy of her book Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World (Broadway Books, 2002). It is her account of how, on the verge of a divorce, she shunned convention, sold…

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How to Be Happier at Work

How to Be Happier at Work

The Russians have a saying: Work is not a wolf; it will not go back into the forest. In other words, don’t work so hard, because work will always be there. Yet we are often at odds with our work lives and out of balance from the stresses and complexities of earning a living. Office politics can be exhausting, and…

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Dinosaur Eludes Extinction

Dinosaur Eludes Extinction

My independence from in-house imprisonment quickly ended when my freelance writing business dried up in 2008 while the bills continued to pour in. I landed a job as a copywriter at a pharmaceutical ad agency and girded myself for the adjustment to a 9-to-5-and-then-some world. But I was caught off guard by the age gap, made apparent during my first…

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What We Talk About When We Talk About Conversational Salons: The Art and Insights of Zen’tinis (Part l)

What We Talk About When We Talk About Conversational Salons: The Art and Insights of Zen’tinis (Part l)

A few years ago, something struck me: our culture simply doesn’t offer many situations that are designed to support us in authentic dialogue. Most of the time, adults interact in ways that are either accidental or transactional. Cocktail parties are about transaction according to attractiveness; business-networking events are all about the elevator pitch. We rarely walk into those kinds of…

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