When you’re in your 20s, you think they’ll last forever. As a 38-year-old, I can tell you they won’t. Your 20s will turn into your 30s as summer giving way to fall and Justin Bieber blossoming from a boy into a man-boy.
It’s only when you pause to take stock of your 30-something life that you notice the differences. I’m rounding the corner to 40 and appreciating more about what the last decade has offered me. With extra poundage, my first strands of silver hair, and more deeply creased eyebrow furrows have come perspective and shifting priorities.
In honor of…
My FUPA hangs inelegantly over the waistband of my too-tight yoga pants. My stomach protrudes from underneath my too-short t-shirts. My thighs strain against the seams of my go-to, pre-pregnancy stretchy pants.
I’ve long retired my itty-bitty, pre-pregnancy thongs. For almost three years, I’ve been wearing my pregnancy underwear — the underwear I wore when I was 40 pounds heavier, the underwear that’s still stained from all the strange pregnancy secretions.
My sagging breasts feel as though they are betraying me for gravity, and I still live in my stretched-out nursing tank tops.
You see, I haven’t bought clothes for…
Dear fellow writers and readers,
Aimée Gramblin, Bingz Huang, and I are honored by all your prompt responses. You’ve encouraged us to reflect, reassess, and reimagine what optimism means, both through your personal stories and also in how the lessons you share apply to all of our lives.
Thank you to all the wonderful writers who submitted their work for this prompt response, including Kevin Jahleel Ishimwe, Sheryll James, David Sales, Kate Lynch, Julien Katzenmaier, and Kasun Ranasinghe. You shared hard-won and heartfelt insights and I invite all our of our followers to read your beautiful words.
Here are my…
Parenting can feel like a thankless job. With toddlers, there are the unpredictable tantrums erupting from the strangest of grievances (“No wanna climb stairs!”), the endless trips to the potty (and countless loads of laundry for the inevitable misses), and the CIA-level deciphering of a nonstop stream of gibberish (“Eee meow wit Dada!” translates to “I want to eat a banana with Dad!”). I do enjoy a spontaneous hug or sloppy kiss from my two-year-old now and then, but parents seem on par with teachers, social workers, and garbage collectors in the realm of underappreciated occupations.
Unfortunately (or maybe, fortunately)…
In my early 20s, I almost met and married Matt Damon. I’ll tell you the rest of this story at the end of this article. (Yes, this is a gimmick, but there’s a lesson in it — I promise!)
But before we get into that, let me switch gears.
As a socially awkward introvert looking forward to returning to “normal” after the pandemic, I’m both excited and nervous about the promise of public gatherings. In typical nerd fashion, I decided to read up on how to improve my social skills and checked out “Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People”…
Slumped over like a question mark, my sister shuffles across the first floor of her house. Her feet drag and her legs collapse beneath her from time to time, leaving her in a crumpled pile. Once in a while, her boyfriend or her 15-year-old daughter finds her, and she can’t recall how long she’s been lying there.
She can no longer lace her fingers around a glass of water and bring it to her lips. Her right hand flutters like a bird with a broken wing, unable to lift itself and sustain its own weight.
Yesterday, my sister sent me…
Some details of this story have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.
When you’re starting out as a freelance writer, the world seems full of possibilities. Unfortunately, inexperienced freelancers can become vulnerable to exploitation or fall victim to miscommunication and end up burning bridges with clients. Here’s my cautionary tale and pitfalls to avoid.
A few months ago, a marketing executive found me on Medium and asked if I would be interested in writing content for his company. …
Today, I read an article that hit me in the gut and left me gasping for breath. In Anti-Racism Is Becoming Troublingly Racist, Steve QJ calls out so-called woke allies as causing more harm than good. For example, he cites people who write articles suggesting the “The Smurfs” was racist or asking why so many robots are white. They detract from more pressing issues like criminal justice reform. He portrays them as navigating the antiracism landscape like “a toddler trying to perform open-heart surgery.” By the end of the article, I realized — I am one of these toddlers.
“Did you know my Shanna is making straight A’s again this year? And that she made captain of the cross-country team and the speech team? She’s my pride and joy.”
Growing up, my mother never missed an opportunity to brag about my accomplishments to relatives, coworkers, and grocery store clerks. My accomplishments were her accomplishments. She would preen herself on my achievements while I stood by feeling like a show pony.
Sometimes, I let her boasting feed my ego. Other times, I felt awkward and ashamed. “Is this all I am to her?” I’d wonder to myself.
I thought my…
While searching out potential prompt topics, I discovered March is National Optimism Month in the US.
After more digging around on the Internet than I’d like to admit, I’m still not sure how or why Optimism Month came to be. Some guess it’s preparing us for Spring — the season of growth and renewal. Others suggest it’s due to lobbying by the Optimist International Club. No matter the case, this month gives us an opportunity to consider how optimism has influenced our understanding of the meaningful events in our lives.
In honor of Optimism Month, we’d love to hear your…