Whenever there’s a holiday approaching, television networks like to trot out a particular kind of film. Typically there’s a feisty women – either single or divorced – who falls in love with a widower, the most sympathetic of all the male character types. A divorced man or confirmed bachelor is imbued with potential problems, but a widower is a good man capable of great love. What could be simpler? Continue Reading
Whenever it’s around Valentine’s Day, I get asked a lot about divorce and dating. I never know what to say. Yes, I’m successfully repartnered with the boy next door, but unless you’re prepared to buy a lot of houses next to recently single guys… I’m not sure that’s a surefire strategy for meeting your soulmate.
My friends are all very interested in online dating. I totally get the appeal: It seems like an LL Bean catalogue filled with men you get to take home.
Last weekend I attended a yoga weekend at a holistic retreat house. They had lots of snow, and I decided to join the group for snowshoeing. I’ve not been snowshoeing before, but the others were novices too, and the woman leading us seemed to survive on nothing but kale. How strenuous could it be?
Pretty freaking strenuous, as it turned out.
As we clomped over bumpy terrain and pulled ourselves up the top of the ski hill, using trees as handgrips, I was quite proud of myself for keeping up. We’d been doing a lot of yoga and my glutes were barking, but the scenery made it all worthwhile.
When we came to a fork in the woods, she explained we could take the path to the left and start heading back, or do a longer loop with some beautiful views
I was not sure what to do, so I paused. Seeing my hesitation, she said, with a voice imbued with wisdom, “You should never hate your life.”
I looked at her for a moment, not fully understanding what she meant.
“If you take the trail back to the house, you won’t hate your life,” she clarified. “If you take the longer trail, you might.“
I decided to take the shorter trail back. I did not want to hate my life. I returned to the house to drink tea by the fire.
How often do we opt for the longer trail instead of the shorter one and end up hating the process?
I spent most of last year working on a novel about a woman trapped in suburbia, which highlights how awful people can be. The novel itself is not bad, but the writing process was draining. It dredged up too many things from my past, making me relive the most painful parts of my life whenever I wrote. I realized, as I came to the book’s conclusion, that I was writing more and more slowly. The truth was, I dreaded the idea of spending the next year being my book’s best cheerleader, driving the sales, marketing and publicity efforts needed to birth a book. God forbid it was a success: I’d never break free from the thing.
I hated the idea of all of it, but still felt compelled to press forward for the sake of pressing forward. I pride myself on never quitting anything. Throughout my life, I’ve finished academic programs I didn’t like, stayed in relationships that made me miserable and worked far too long in jobs that chipped away at my soul. I don’t give up, even when it does me harm. I always take the longer trail.
When our snowshoeing guide spoke those words – “you should never hate your life” – it felt like divine counsel. It felt like permission to get off the path that was no longer serving me well. In that moment, I made the decision to abandon my work and to move forward with another project: one that is more healing.
This year give yourself permission to take the shorter trail. You never want to hate your life.
This month we’re reading Caroline Leavitt’s Cruel Beautiful World, one of the best received books of 2016. This book, about two sisters in the turbulent late-1960s, is about how family ties are formed and broken. While it covers big topics such as loss, grief, and domestic abuse, it’s also very readable and a popular choice for book clubs this year. It recently won The Pulpwood Queens Book of the Year. I had a chance to interview the author, who also wanted to give us more of a book club experience, recorded a video explaining some of her own backstory and why she felt the need to write this book.
Q. Many of the themes in this book seem timeless. What drove your decision to set this book in the late 1960s? Continue Reading
I just returned from my honeymoon. We took a week on the Crystal Serenity and, boy oh boy… It was hard to leave that ship. Between our honeymoon and my birthday, I was drowned in celebratory champagne. When the drink of the day is champagne and St-Germain – one of my absolute favorites – you know you’ve found your tribe. Continue Reading
I’m excited about Plum Johnson’s They Left Us Everything, our next 1010 Park Place Book Club choice. I hope you loved it as much as I did.
In this award-winning book (that would make an amazing film à la The Family Stone), Johnson chronicles the process of caring for elderly parents, and emptying and selling the family home. As she sorts through her parents’ belongings, she explores the idea of family legacy, validity of memory and how much influence our family has on who we are as adults. She focuses particularly on her often contentious relationship with her mother, who was a larger-than-life Southern belle.
I asked Plum some questions about her book. If you have questions, she’ll be hanging out with us in the comments field and is happy to answer your questions. Continue Reading
Usually I like that I’m a solopreneur who works from home. The commute is great. I don’t need to put on eyeliner–unless I want to–and my co-workers are rarely annoying. But this time of year I miss being in an office. I miss the afternoon run for holiday coffees. I miss seeing what gifts my coworkers are ordering online. Mostly I miss the annual holiday lunch. Continue Reading
This is the first year my fiancé and I are in a shared home for the holidays. We were prepared for all the usual holiday issues blended families face: children not getting along, coordinating holiday dates with the ex, etc. What I didn’t anticipate was sharing the décor. Continue Reading
Welcome to the inaugural meeting of the 1010 Park Place book club. We will be discussing some fabulous books that remind us to Make Life Count. Our first pick is Holly Robinson’s Folly Cove, a novel about three very different sisters and their formidable mother as they each face a season of change.
I was able to catch up with the author and ask her some questions about this beautiful book. Continue Reading
I’m a person who values the idea of having a margin. I like to have money in the bank, free time in my calendar and energy to deal with life’s crises. As someone still in healing mode, after an abusive dating relationship left me with PTSD, it just takes a tiny thing to break me some days.
I don’t have the bandwidth to be late for an appointment or to run out of gas.
Right now we’re in a season of busy and although it’s a good busy, the margins are thinner than I’d like. On Halloween, this proved to be traumatic. Continue Reading