If you’re 30% through your life, you’re likely 90% through your best relationships. Some really great visuals in this one – how many books you might read, how many times you might go swimming – and then it comes to this:

I’ve been thinking about my parents, who are in their mid-60s. During my first 18 years, I spent some time with my parents during at least 90% of my days. But since heading off to college and then later moving out of Boston, I’ve probably seen them an average of only five times a year each, for an average of maybe two days each time. 10 days a year. About 3% of the days I spent with them each year of my childhood. Being in their mid-60s, let’s continue to be super optimistic and say I’m one of the incredibly lucky people to have both parents alive into my 60s. That would give us about 30 more years of coexistence. If the 10 days a year thing holds, that’s 300 days left to hang with mom and dad. Less time than I spent with them in any one of my 18 childhood years.

Damn.

Carolyn Hax: A friend with seemingly everything still has time for fine whine

Classic Hax. You have to be pretty open-minded and self-aware to be able to sympathize with those who appear to be (and may objectively be) more fortunate than you are.

Or she’s genuinely unhappy. It can, of course, happen amid gaudy equity, lovely kids, an attentive spouse, a flexible career, stable finances and ambitious travel; just because these have societal value doesn’t mean they’re valuable to her.

And just because the decisions were “very-thought-out” doesn’t mean they were the right ones for her. If a person’s baseline understanding of herself is a degree or two off, then her choices can lead her, over the years, hundreds of miles off-course.

Carolyn Hax: A friend with seemingly everything still has time for fine whine

The Cold Stoicism of Advice Columns for Men

Advice columns for men, however, seem not to have made the leap from proscriptive notions of rectitude to the smart-older-sister vibe of advice for women. In GQ and Esquire and even Maxim, which are full of Q&A-format advice for readers, situations are often posed in a joking tone and answered as if the writer were the dude from the Dos Equis commercials and the ultimate ethical standard is masculinity rather than humanity. “How to be a man” literature is the new conduct literature: it’s not that men haven’t cared about ideals of masculinity before now, but the idea verges on obsession these days, cf. everything from Shia LaBoeuf’s resignation note to the fact that someone greenlit How to Be a Gentleman. It’s a whole genre and evidently a popular one—but, while advice columns are the delicious and healthy snack of things to devour on the Internet, it matters for men and women alike that advice columns for men evolve, not by abandoning their gentlemanly tone but by choosing the right questions to answer.

That’s one reason why I read waaaaay more of Carolyn Hax than anything in men’s magazines.

The Cold Stoicism of Advice Columns for Men

Recently I’ve been thinking that when you’re younger, you need to say yes to everything; then, when you’re older, you need to learn how to say no to everything. I don’t mean younger in age, but as a step in your profession.

I particularly hate that phrase about women “wanting to have it all.” Because that’s not about women, it’s about humans. The humans want to have it all! Blame the fucking humans who situated themselves halfway between the beasts and the gods and then discovered it was an uneasy place to be.

Frank Chimero – This One’€™s for Me

Frank Chimero – This One’€™s for Me

Alright, gotta get this out of my system. I took this photo a few weeks ago when I went back up to Dahlonega, the small town in north Georgia where I was born and spent the first half of my life. This is the first house we lived in. And, take my word for it, this is a flattering photo. The place has… seen better days. I keep pulling up this picture so I can hate-look at it. I hope that one day, if I ever buy a house, I will remember that it might have been where someone else grew up. My memories are still in pristine condition, so no harm there. And I have no idea of the circumstances of the people who live there now. But part of me is like… come on. Ah well. Gotta let it go.

Each of us is born with a series of built-in confusions that are probably somehow Darwinian. These are: (1) we’re central to the universe (that is, our personal story is the main and most interesting story, the only story, really); (2) we’re separate from the universe (there’s US and then, out there, all that other junk – dogs and swing-sets, and the State of Nebraska and low-hanging clouds and, you know, other people), and (3) we’re permanent (death is real, o.k., sure – for you, but not for me).