Who Am I Without a Job?

Farbstudie Quadrate by Wassily Kandinsky OSA472

I was 27 and I had just completed two years working as a law clerk when I accompanied my husband to the American School of Classical Studies (ACSC) in Athens, Greece for his graduate work. The program involved spending one full year participating in extensive on-site explorations of ancient sites, and I was lucky enough to join in the multi-week trips that the graduate students took studying places, buildings and ruins that most tourists don’t even know exist.  It was a terrific, unforgettable experience, one that I reminisce about to this day. I had a job at a large law firm waiting for me when we returned and so was not anxious about my own prospects. Yet much to my surprise, and despite the wonderful time I had living and studying in Greece, I did not like the feeling of depending on my husband for money even for a short time. It was also strange to constantly explain my presence in Greece relative to him. I had gotten used to having my own identity as a law clerk, where I thrived on my critical role in court processes and proceedings. (read more…)

Can People Change?

monkey-riding-a-four-headed-beast-1982

It’s a new year!

We hope you had a great winter holiday with your friends and family. In addition to excessive amounts of food and beverage intake, this is also a time of year for reflection. Which means we’ve all been giving lots of thought (too much thought?) to the ways we want and plan to change (or want and plan for others to).

I’ve been interested in the question of whether, how, and why people change for a long time. And let me admit right up front that I have a bias: I absolutely believe that people are capable of changing. This is something I’ve seen in my personal life and in my relationships. Still, the circumstances of lasting change remain a bit mysterious. I wanted to talk to someone with a unique perspective on this, so I turned to Craig dos Santos. Craig is an interesting case because he strongly believes people can and do change – but says willpower has nothing to do with it. (read more…)

“I’m Under the Weather” and Other White Lies

lake george - georgia o'keeffe

When I was younger, but especially in college and through my mid twenties, I would routinely tell white lies at work and in social situations. Activities I just didn’t want to participate in, spending time with people when I just needed a quiet night in, and many invitations to parties or events where I anticipated feeling awkward and uncomfortable – all were subject to lame, unnecessary excuses to justify my absence.

It might go like this: I’d get an email asking me to something like a dinner party or a performance. I wouldn’t want to go for whatever reason. Rather than just say, “Thanks for the invitation, but I’m not a fan of opera” or “I won’t be able to make it, but can we do something another time instead?” I might blame busy-ness, poor health, or fabricate other plans entirely. I didn’t do it constantly, but I did do it regularly. The stakes for my lies were rarely high – I never missed important family functions, life events of friends, or significant work gatherings – which made the whole thing even more absurd. (read more…)

Definitely Not Mainstream
My Life as an Astrologer

mystic-package-1967

“I never thought you would become someone who’d sell spiders and charms.” That was my dad’s reaction when I said I was going to be an astrologer.

He’s not the only person I’ve had a negative reaction from. Years later my unflappable and always-confident therapist told me, “I wish you’d have come to me sooner. I could have saved you from astrology.” When I meet new people and they ask what I do, they sometimes seem surprised when I tell them. I don’t look like what they think an astrologer should look like. No wild tattoos. No eye makeup. My Cher look: missing. (read more…)

What Went Wrong with Feminism?

Image of a women's liberation protest by Warren K. Leffler

Image of a women’s liberation protest by Warren K. Leffler

 

I was at the heart of the second wave feminist uprising when I moved to Manhattan in 1969 at the age of 22. The help wanted ads in the newspaper were still divided into men’s jobs and women’s jobs (hard to imagine now), but women who had made the coffee and bore the babies for the rabble-rousing men of the Free Speech and Civil Rights movements were beginning to get restive.  What about our issues?

The male revolutionaries didn’t care about our issues, but they HAD taught us to organize, so we pressed for equality ourselves.  It was a heady time. Gloria Steinem was constantly in the news and Betty Friedan’s “The Second Sex” was being read widely.  We held consciousness-raising sessions in living rooms in Greenwich Village and eventually in larger spaces like churches and synagogues.  We marched for equal pay for equal work, for the right to safe and legal abortions, for equal opportunities to advance in business and the professions, and for the Equal Rights Amendment which would enshrine our status as the equals of men before the law in the Constitution.   (read more…)