On not settling

Note: I wrote this three years ago, but after rereading I wouldn’t edit much, though I think I probably value simple companionship a bit more these days. (Originally published on Medium.)

When I was in college, I attended a Take Back the Night Rally where an adult survivor of child sexual abuse spoke about writing a list of everything she wanted in a partner, down to his height and eye color, and then finding that person. It was a story about healing from trauma and the recognition that she was deserving of the things she desired, so I hate that it sticks with me most as an example of a successful visualization exercise. But a few years later, I sat down and wrote my own list of what I was looking for, and a month later I found him. Continue reading “On not settling”

I don’t know what kind of year this is

I don’t know what kind of year this is.

On February 1, I lost my job after four months of knowing I’d made a mistake in taking it.

I crushed my job search and ended up with three offers. I chose one, then turned a surprise equity check from my previous job into a trip to Copenhagen.

Last week my 95-year-old grandpa fell, sustaining a serious injury. He’s in good spirits; he’s lived through worse. I don’t know how worried to be. Continue reading “I don’t know what kind of year this is”

How to look vaguely normal when you have the driest winter skin on the planet

To cope with dry winter skin, stare pensively into the mountains. Or, check out the list below.

As I’ve mentioned, I have what my mom calls “lousy Irish skin like [my] father’s.” During warmer months, this works out OK, but I live in the Northeast, where we have this thing called winter (the occasional warm spell notwithstanding). No matter what I do, my winter skin is bright red, extremely dry, and susceptible to becoming more of the prior two descriptors at the slightest provocation. Sound familiar? Below, a few pieces of advice  on how to look vaguely normal (the best I can hope for) in even the harshest weather: Continue reading “How to look vaguely normal when you have the driest winter skin on the planet”

5 ways to fake a vacation (when you can’t take one)

Sometimes, as Rose tells Sue Ellen in Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, “I really need to get away.” Unfortunately, that need doesn’t always coincide with periods of my life in which I can actually skip town — or the country. Work, volunteering, and social obligations may keep me tied to NYC, or my bank account may not be in the ideal condition for an impromptu jaunt around Eastern Europe.

What I love most about traveling is the feeling of being taken out of my daily routine. The good news is that even when I can’t get away, this feeling is something I can replicate — often without even leaving my neighborhood. Below, a few ideas for how you can do the same: Continue reading “5 ways to fake a vacation (when you can’t take one)”

The limit approaches zero

One of the few concepts I (barely) remember from the calculus class I took junior year of high school, while recovering from what felt at the time like a terrible breakup (you sweet summer child), was that the limit approaches — but never reaches — zero. Until a few minutes ago, when my friend Google led me to the Wikipedia page for Asymptote, I had no recollection as to the circumstances under which said limit approaches zero. (Dated calc; married algebra.) Continue reading “The limit approaches zero”

3 Annoying Ways I’ve Changed Since My Late Twenties


The New Year is a standard if cliched time for reflection, and I found myself thinking yesterday about how much I’ve changed over the past few years. Some of the changes I’ve made have been unquestionably positive — I get more sleep, I drink considerably less, and I’m more discerning about who’s allowed in my life — and some are both generally positive and really annoying. Here are three from the latter list: Continue reading “3 Annoying Ways I’ve Changed Since My Late Twenties”

How to Keep a New Year’s Resolution (and Why it’s OK to Fail)

My 2016 New Year’s Resolution was to do one new thing every day. Now that we’re at the end of the year, I can say with reasonable certainty that I’m going to succeed. Admittedly, many of these new things have been relatively low-stakes — listening to a new podcast, trying a new restaurant, cooking a new recipe — but I also did a few cool, bigger things like participating in the Coney Island Polar Bear Dip, sleeping outside to raise money for homeless youth, going to Kenya, and running a half marathon.

People love to talk about how New Year’s Resolutions don’t work, as if this is a reason to forgo them entirely. Having spent the past 366 days discovering that, sometimes, New Year’s Resolutions actually do work, I wanted to share a few tips that have helped me stick to my plans: Continue reading “How to Keep a New Year’s Resolution (and Why it’s OK to Fail)”