challenge

How Do You React When a Learning Experience Clarifies How Far You Still Have To Go

I spent the last four days in a fiction writing workshop. If I take a narrow perspective, I “failed” with my writing. (It was a fantasy caper workshop with two genres: second-world fantasy and caper.) My failure? I did not include nearly enough setting in my writing. That’s where the writer explains where we are—and …

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How Do You Manage to Notice When You Need Updates or Upgrades?

Today is a maintenance day at Chez Rothman. Our heating system has an error code, and we’re upgrading our wifi. So people are stomping around—and I’m very happy about that. What we’re doing today is “extra” maintenance—updating and upgrading. We do normal maintenance all the time. The cleaning people make our house sparkle once a …

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Do You Plan to Vote for the Short or the Long Term?

The US is voting next week, for what we call the “midterms.” We don’t change the entire government every four years—we stagger terms for each representative, senator, and governor. Much of the time, the voters want change. That means the President’s party tends to lose seats in the midterms. I also want change. But I’m …

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When Do You Realize It’s Time to Expand Your Horizons?

When the pandemic started, I was fine—better than fine—staying home. I felt safe and secure. Mark did the grocery shopping and cooking, and we spent a ton of time together. All good stuff. I was happy with limited horizons. However, after I received my first booster, I wanted to go out—and I was still concerned. …

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How Can We Reconcile a Difference of Philosophy with Respect for People?

The news in the US is all about Queen Elizabeth’s death last week. I have many feelings all at the same time: Glad that I know because I like to know about world events. Sympathy and empathy for her children and grandchildren. Very few deaths are easy or good for the remaining family. Empathy with …

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What Do You Gain or Lose with Shortcuts, Rules, and Laws?

I love shortcuts—especially if I’m not supposed to use them. Why can’t I avoid right-angle paths and use the hypotenuse instead? That saves me some time. Can I make my exercise easier? I can—and I too often lose the value of the exercise. So shortcuts aren’t always good or always bad. The context matters. Shortcuts …

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When Did You Last Outgrow a Friend—Which Allowed You to Create Your Better Life?

When we were kids, we outgrew our clothing, sometimes at an alarming rate. (I vividly remember one summer when my older daughter needed a new pair of sneakers every three weeks.) Later, as we changed from childhood to our teenage years, we outgrew our interests. Some of us have outgrown jobs and found new jobs. …

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