Most pop-psychology looks at failure as simply the precursor to success. Failure teaches humility, relieves the anxiety of perfectionism, programs the mind to think of alternatives. But sometimes there are no alternatives.
The original fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons hits middle age this year. In 1974, D&D first appeared on the market. It was — and is — a revolutionary game that went on to cause shock waves in the worlds of pop culture, gaming and play, and influenced how we spend our leisure time and socialize in profound ways.
Write Fast. Forget stories of Flaubert agonizing for days over his mot juste: You should strive to write quickly and easily. Just get the words down, knowing that they are bound to be highly imperfect. Then, go back and revise them (again, quickly), and keep revising, until they say what you want them to say.
The term “out of order death” can be applied to the loss of a younger sibling or a child. Older people die before younger people; that’s how these things are ‘supposed’ to go. But there are no rules for when or how someone dies, just as there are no rules for how to acknowledge the milestones in life that they miss and their survivors can’t help but see, year after year.
When you run out of things to talk about after Christmas, and pile your family into the horse-drawn wagon and head out of the Shire on your journey to Mordor --- aka your local cineplex --- to see this Hobbit Episode #2, there are weighty issues to consider.
When I got depressed, I toppled into a chasm between the rosy expectations I’d cultivated of motherhood and the reality of life with a child who came to us with memories and attachments to his foster family built in, and who had to learn to trust us. I was also developing a new kind of trust: that my nascent maternal instincts were correct.
Sports let us civilized folk release dangerous and spontaneous emotional urges, from, “Yankees Suck” to “I’m gonna kill A-Rod.” By becoming emotionally attached to an abstracted conflict, we peasants don’t need to wage real war. We’re happy to watch instead. Or to play in beer-fueled softball leagues.
Our human brains are a complex cauldron of fears, illustrated by the nearly endless list of physical, social, and philosophical phobias such as alliumphobia (fear of garlic), apeirophobia (fear of infinity), and, yes, anthrophobia (fear of flowers). So maybe we should delineate unreasonable phobias from survival-related fears.
Terror strikes. Our inclination might be to circle the wagons and become more suspicious than ever. There is another way to combat this proclivity towards wariness. But how? With more openness, not less.
This urge to participate and to tell one’s individual story humanizes pain and makes big, sweeping events human-scaled. The tradition is as old as Homer and the Icelandic Sagas. We cope with trauma by injecting ourselves into the wider story.
In the wake of Boston and Newtown, do we engage in well-meaning but useless gestures like sending hundreds of stuffed animals to the site of a tragedy? Or could we use those same dollars and the heartfelt impulse behind them to teach non-violence, to feed the hungry, to shelter an animal?
This year, you swear, is going to be different: you're finally going to lose that weight, finish that degree, get that new job, or clean out the garage. And yet, the ghosts of Unmet Resolutions Past haunt you.
I have learned two important secrets about nagging: The first is that it takes two: neither the nagger nor the nagged is fully to blame. The second is that the best solution lies with only one of the two. Hint: It's not the nagger.
As a writer of bicultural heritage, something about multicultural had always made me a bit wary. I would envision a long fence of multicolored wooden posts, strung together by thin wire, stretching out in a straight line. But with the word intercultural, I saw that fence circling, coming together at a common point.
Middleborns develop great empathy; in order to get their own way as children, they have to learn to "read" the room, negotiate and compromise. These skills are paramount in the modern workplace of diverse cultures.