The Stories We Tell Say Something About What We Value
It was puzzling how my relatively stern Oma could listen to absurdly costumed polka music. It was usually a small band with an accordion or electric piano awkwardly perched in front of a Bavarian chateau or a herd of brown cows. The singers and musicians were always happy and smiling a touch too wide.
It was a little "Stepford Wives" with ...Read more
Millennial Life: Hope for Facing an Unknown Future
Every millennial has a story about the disconnect between their lives and the suggestions from their parents. The one that we like to titter about -- but that has decreased in actual use because some older generations had to reenter the workforce -- is how we should print our resumes on nice card stock, dress up and walk in to speak to the owner...Read more
Millennial Life: Developing Ourselves and Our Communities Takes Time
It was a graduation for a community class that had been running once a week for the last few months. The instructor looked around the room and lauded how the new graduates might go on to plant seeds of knowledge wider than he might ever see. While the class had been split between a Zoom and in-person group, it was nice, he said, to see younger ...Read more
Millenniel Life: Keep Playing the Game with the Cards You Have
As we poured the bingo balls from our hands into the small cage, some would immediately find the hole and jump out ahead of the game. A phone's camera was set up to capture the process for Zoom and it filmed our hectic recapture of the stray balls. This wasn't an average bingo game; it was a lottery for open spots at a school.
The spaces ...Read more
Traveling Through Time to Leave Hauntings in Broad Daylight
It was something about the curve of her cheek to her chin in the side-view mirrors. I mentally spoke to her: she could make the left turn through the light; she could trust herself. But I knew that hesitancy. It was hesitance that came from inexperience, but also knowing that the car she commanded wasn't very commanding. I've been her.
Living ...Read more
Millennial Life: Culture is What You Make It
At dinner, he blurted out that he'd be going to karate. After finishing a bite, I told him it was taekwondo. He asked what the difference was. The dinner took a pause.
"It's a different school of thought," said my husband.
"It's a different martial art, from a different culture," I said.
"What's culture?" said our son, and, not to be deterred...Read more
Millennial Life: Bully for You - When Insecurity Grows Into Its Power
She didn't have on the right swimsuit. She wasn't wearing a swim cap. It was her first swim team session, and I was waiting for a thumbs-down sign we agreed on in the car, which would have me come over and tap her out. Endurance, the coaches agreed before she got in, would have to come in time.
As I headed over to the wet metal bleachers, ...Read more
A Working State of Mind
When I met my husband, he was amused that I would tell him, "Take off your shoes; stay a while."
I'm not as fervent as those in other cultures who immediately switch to house shoes, but I am a proponent of bare feet. I like feeling the ground where I stand and would horrify hikers in my 20s by tromping through the desert in Converse because I...Read more
Millennial Life: The Frayed Ends of Family
I paced the outdoor pathway around my apartment complex. My husband was fixing something on our old car outside, and I wanted him in sight for emotional support. I placed my hand on my third-trimester belly, trying to calm my nerves as I dialed the number I had received from the private investigator. I would be speaking to my uncle for the first...Read more
Millennial Life: Honoring the Time that is Given to You
I wanted to dye my hair when I was about 13. I was admiring the rave scene that was all around me in Europe, where we lived at the time. I begged for blue hair, negotiating down to perhaps just a strand, then down to temporary colors, then hitting the floor with an offer of just watercolors. One night I got a green light, so I took watercolors ...Read more
Millennial Life: Pausing to Reclaim our Time and Minds
The movie theater is a particular type of magic. It's ritualistic, with ticket stubs handed over to gatekeepers and the aroma of buttered popcorn announcing a time when food rules might be relaxed. Dinner might be a perfunctory hot dog, a side for too many Red Vines and Milk Duds.
The online reservation for seats was made for all four of us, ...Read more
Millennial Life: Reflection on the Awkward Times That Lead to Spring
This is my favorite time of the year. I don't mean the turkey on Thanksgiving or the tree for Christmas. I mean these strange days between Christmas and the end of the year. It's an awkward time. Ask anyone in an office between Monday, Dec. 26, and Friday, Dec. 30. It's a time-bending malaise that would work well as a pause, a natural recharge ...Read more