Let’s face it. We’re all part of a tribe these days. We no longer live in the world that existed ten years ago. That was a time when neighbors gathered for a block party, clanking mugs of beer, gabbing about local sports, and fantasizing about summer vacations. Nobody wondered or cared about your political affiliation.
Even in relatively affluent suburbs like mine, that world crumbles bit by bit each day. I thought we were immune, but we’re not. …
In the summer of 1988, my high school girlfriend, Cara, snagged me away from a twilight game of mini-golf, ushering me across the street to the edge of the beach. She had a surprise for me, she claimed.
I don’t recall what went through my head, but I probably figured she wanted to make out. What else would a 17-year-old boy assume?
But Cara had something else in mind when she etched her way into my forever memory.
She became my first girlfriend to make me a romantic mixed tape.
Rock ballads by Bon Jovi, pop tunes by Klymaxx, and…
When I talk to younger folks about dating in the 90s, they always express fascination, horror, and shock at our willingness to go on blind dates.
Looking back, it does seem almost medieval, going out with someone without ever having seen a picture of them, relying on the judgment of a friend, sibling, or colleague who, in many cases, also had no idea what the other person looked like.
Still, the initial meetup filled us with the hopeful anticipation of a storybook ending, combined with the realist’s perspective of an impending disaster, culminating in the terror-filled experience of initial eye…
For much of 2020 and all of 2021, crises have upended our everyday life: covid, climate change, Afghanistan, forest fires, water shortages, and ransomware attacks, to name a few.
If these events prove anything, it’s that ordinarily competent folks can look like incompetent buffoons when thrown into a crisis. The pressure to get results, the speed at which you have to produce them, and the forces conspiring against you (critics, lack of resources) can overpower anyone unprepared to deal with the tumult.
You can manage an organization, business, or government institution with competence, even excellence, for years, but if you…
In 1995, my career in hotel management took a hit when an executive complained that my smile was inappropriate. My manager thought the complaint was garbage, but she counseled that a smile can communicate you don’t appreciate the seriousness of a situation.
Know when to smile and when to frown, she said. In most situations, you should smile. You want people to feel good about being around you. But when you’re in the midst or aftermath of a crisis, a frown communicates you understand the gravity of the moment.
Her favorite piece of advice proved even more unconventional. She implored…
Nobody reaches the age of 50 and reflects on their love life without embarrassment over their youthful romantic adventures.
My flubs probably outdid most of my contemporaries.
I surrendered my agency when infatuated, begged when they refused me, and generally made an ass out of myself. Let’s start with that time in college when I told a girl I loved her on the second date. Wanna know what happened next? Something came up fifteen minutes later.
The pinnacle of humiliation was the desperate messages left on old-school answering machines and then sweating out the impending blowback for hours.
The mayor of my town recently announced that 89% of eligible residents were fully vaccinated, and there hadn’t been a single case reported during the entire month of July.
Likes, loves, and celebratory comments flooded the social media post. We had done it, exceeded vaccination goals, and beaten the crap out of Covid.
Seven days have passed since that announcement. The upbeat mood has since vanished, replaced by anger, incredulity, and frustration as the delta variant infiltrated our formerly bulletproof sanctuary. True, it was never really bulletproof, but with only 4 cases in 50 days, it was damn close.
How do you compare to the person you were ten, twenty, or thirty years ago? Are you kinder, braver, more principled? I’m fifty now, and those metrics matter to me. But that wasn’t always the case.
In my twenties, I lusted after money, job titles, and sex as trophies of a successful life. Those success criteria now seem laughable and childish. Yet, many of my peers still chase after the same cravings that drove them in their twenties. They’re frustrated with life. They feel left behind even though they’re rich. They’re aggrieved despite being blessed and privileged.
That’s what happens…
A few days ago, I received an invitation to join AARP, as if I needed a reminder about the impending confrontation with my 50th birthday.
Everyone keeps asking: how do you want to celebrate? It’s a big one — you need to do something special.
I get it. Fifty-years old. A milestone. The prime of middle-age. Still, I don’t want to make a big deal of it. A nice dinner with the family will suffice. The glitz and glamor of parties never appealed to me, not even in my youth.
That’s one of the greatest pleasures of turning fifty. You…