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In Spite of Everything, I’m Ending 2020 Feeling Very Lucky

30 Dec
Sunset over Chestnut Hill Reservoir

By nearly every measure, 2020 was not a good year. The reasons — many of them stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, the contentious election (and politics just in general), and the multiple cases of racial injustice — have been well documented, so I don’t need to spend a lot of time rehashing them here. We’ve all lived through this year, and we know how bad it was.

But, while the pandemic may have taken a lot from us, including plans, people, and the passage of time, it did not take away perspective. In fact, the darkness of this year only made the light shine brighter.

To that end, there were also plenty of good or fun things that happened, and things that were worth smiling about. These things should be remembered, too. We should be grateful for all the doctors and healthcare workers, the public health officials, the teachers, the supermarket employees, and many other “essential workers” who went above and beyond to keep us safe, healthy, well fed, educated, stocked, and supplied this year. And of course, we should applaud the millions of people around the world who rightfully took to the streets to affirm that Black lives do, in fact, matter, and to demand that others said the same and acted accordingly.

To be clear, I’d never say I had a good year in 2020. I spent much of it alone in my small apartment, I was often confused or angry or frustrated (or all three), I lost my job over the summer, I couldn’t travel or go to the movies or experience concerts or do other in-person things I enjoy, and there’s been a nagging sense that life is passing me by while I social distance. As the Lone Bellow sang in their song “Dust Settles,” “I’ve been missing from the land of the living.” 

And yet, amazingly, in spite of everything, I actually found something to be happy about every single day this year. That’s just one reason why I’m ending 2020 feeling incredibly lucky.

Continue reading

I Really Wish I Could Social Distance from All These Thoughts

21 Jun

White Farms

The scene at White Farms in Ipswich, Mass., on Saturday, June 20, 2020.

Yesterday, I went up to the North Shore, to explore the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, which I heard was a nice and picturesque drive. Turns out, either I didn’t know the area well enough, or I should have parked my car at various points and walked to the water, or something else, but with very few exceptions, from Lynn to Gloucester, the drive was neither coastal nor scenic, and I was disappointed.

So, after what felt like a couple hours of aimless driving and wasted gas, I turned around and headed back to the city. (At least, I think I turned around. I really didn’t know where I was or in which direction I was heading for much of the time, but I do know the full route goes all the way to Salisbury and I’m pretty sure I only made it to Gloucester.)

I didn’t want the day to be a total loss, so before I left the area, I decided to stop and get some ice cream at White Farms, a small local stand in Ipswich that had been recommended to me. It was quiet when I got there, thankfully, which meant I could go right up to the counter and order a two-scoop waffle cone — Mint Oreo and Vanilla Fudge Brownie, yum — then go back to my car to enjoy it. Continue reading

My Niece Is Turning 10 Years Old Today. Why Can’t She Stay Young Forever?

4 May

On a recent visit to New York, it got to be that time, and my sister asked my niece, Abby, who she wanted to put her to sleep that night. With minimal hesitation, Abby responded, “Uncle.”

So up we went, and after a bit of her customary procrastination — she had to rearrange her stuff, she had to check out her fish, she had to put stuff away, she had to change from shorts into pants, then change back again, etc. etc. etc. — she got into bed. Continue reading

Do You Know These 70 People? You Should: They’re Making Social Media More Social!

4 Dec

Photo by Kimson Doan on Unsplash

It’s one of the easiest click-bait tricks in the book: Declare that something popular is dead or dying.

Twitter’s been the victim of this “hack” for years: For example, in 2014, The Atlantic published a eulogy for “the beloved social publishing platform.” A year later, Umair Haque, the director of the London-based Havas Media Lab, published a blog post on Medium declaring its impending doom. And three weeks ago, Gareth Daine, founder of Content Sleuth, wondered aloud (or on LinkedIn, anyway): Is Twitter dead?

The reasons for these pronouncements have varied, but in that most recent case, the cause of death was “a distinct lack of engagement on the vast majority of posts I see.” Daine was specifically referencing posts by so-called “influencers” with substantial follower counts, which, in my opinion, was totally missing the point. Continue reading

These 65 People Are Top Influencers Who Bring Real Value to Twitter

12 Dec

Photo credit: William White/

Photo credit: William White/

The New York Times recently published a rather naïve opinion piece by a guy named Cal Newport that said you should quit social media because there’s no value there and it can only hurt your career.

This article followed one by Andrew Sullivan in New York magazine, in which he lamented his constant need to publish and post, and have a presence on social media, and how that was making him feel disconnected and inhuman.

Casual observers might have looked at these two articles and had their assumptions confirmed: Social media is a waste of time. But it’s not true. Continue reading

100% Committed, 50% of the Time

19 Mar

Here’s a truth that people with children don’t like to admit: Things are different once the kids arrive.

Oh, sure. You say things won’t change, and you’ll do everything exactly the same as before … but you just can’t.

And all of a sudden, whether they want to or not, your single or childless friends have to work around that, your relationship with them changed forever.

The first 15 minutes of Friends with Kids, Jennifer Westfeldt’s smart, sophisticated, funny new film, dramatize this in cringe-worthy fashion. Continue reading

I’ve Got Five Years Left

1 Jul

This is going to make my parents sooooo happy.

According to a new study by the National Center for Health Statistics, for most Americans, the probability of being married by age 40 is more than 80 percent.

In fact, for men, the likelihood of a first marriage by age 40 is 81 percent (for women, it’s 86 percent).

And to show that not everyone gets married so early, the study also found that men have only a 50 percent chance of being married for the first time by age 27, and just a 61 percent chance of being married for the first time by age 30.

So, despite the common thought that most everyone I know is already married, the opposite may actually be true.

It’s nice to know I have a lot of company out there, and that like the saying goes, there are still plenty of fish in the sea. Continue reading

No One

1 Jul

Sometime in June 2005, I was asked at the Virgin Megastore on Newbury Street (before it was a lame Best Buy) if I wanted to buy a $1 wristband to support One, the organization founded by Bono to combat world hunger, poverty, and other global issues.

I’m on record as saying I don’t support hunger, so I said yes, and almost instantly, I put the wristband on my wrist.

Over the years, people would ask me what the white wristband meant, and I would often use the same line: it’s my way of identifying myself as a single person. That, or I’d say a census taker came by, saw I was single, and told me to wear the wristband.

I enjoyed extending the story to explain that if I ever saw someone on the street wearing one of these wristbands, I’d know she was available and a potential mate.

I guess it’s safe to say that I supported the cause of ending my single status more than that of ending world hunger. And to that end, I always wore the wristband.


Annoyingly and unattractively so, it never came off. (Except for my sister’s wedding, when she asked me to remove it. Hey, you don’t mess with a bride.)

Well, this past weekend I finally took the wristband off.

For good.

No, it’s not because I’ve started dating someone. And amazingly enough, its not because I realized the wristband was probably counter-productive to getting women to go out with me (though I suppose there may be something to that).

It’s just that, um, er, well, ah, I finally decided that the wristband’s kinda lame.

And I think everyone agrees because I never see anyone wearing any kind of wristband. Not white ones, not red ones — not even the yellow ones that were so ubiquitous a year or two ago.

In fact, I don’t think I ever saw another person wearing a white wristband in the entire three-year period I had one on.

But passing fad aside, what happened?

Those yellow Livestrong bracelets were everywhere. Now they’re nowhere.

I’ll admit, my wristband came off partly because it was just not cool anymore to wear it. But that’s me and I’m lame like that.

Where are all the other people who are less impressionable than me? What happened to their bracelets?

It’s the Circle of Life

30 Oct

I suppose it’s nature’s way that as one couple marries, another one should separate.

Poor Reese and Ryan.

Making Plans

17 Oct

Since it seems that Lindsay Lohan and I both seem to have the same life plan — we both want to be married by the time we’re 30 — I would like to publicly offer to marry Ms. Lohan and make an honest woman out of her.

LiLo, will you marry me? I’m not doing anything on Saturday. Can you meet me here in Boston? Consider this also your invitation, my lucky readers.

(Hopefully Lindsay won’t notice that I’m actually 32 and clearly missed my “deadline.” It’s alright, though. Some things are better late than never.)

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