Restaurant work is smelly business. Not, however, as smelly as the most iconic of coastal Maine occupations, “lobsturin.”
For my birthday last year, I was in Vilnius, Lithuania, studying both Fiction and Non-Fiction, and recovering from the shock of quitting my job to take a year off to write full-time. Turning 31 kind of got lost in the shuffle.
Turning 30 was a bigger deal, I guess, but my brother got married across the country right around then and also I was third-trimester pregnant and distracted by the octopus inside of me thrashing around looking for the door. There was some kind of party, maybe? I definitely remember writing “XXX” on the invitation, because that’s too good an opportunity to pass up. Don’t remember much else.
What I’m saying is, I haven’t had time to think about birthdays in a while, to really reflect about what being in my 30s means. I’m here without a plan! What should I have done by now? What should I do next? Help!
This month “making it” in Los Angeles looks like this: David lost his gig and Ceda’s doing a lot of stand-up. They’re navigating life changes together and separately and also discuss expenses for their cats (not in this column, in real life). Here are the highlights.
My grandma is 101-and-a-half. (With centenarians, like toddlers, you have to be exact.) Most likely, she is NYU’s oldest living alumnus. She graduated with a degree in Journalism during the Depression, back when Journalism was an actual career people had. Born in what’s now Bed Stuy, she has lived in the same cushy DC two-bedroom high-rise condo for several decades, with a view out onto the pool. From the time my grandpa died in the early aughts until this past October, she had only MSNBC for company. Now she has a live-in nurse. Still, she reads, and knits, and does her exercises, and she could teach me lots of lessons about life and finances, if only she remembered things anymore.
My grandpa handled the money over their 55+ years of marriage. Once he was gone, my mother had to teach my grandma how to use an ATM. Money in the abstract makes her nervous: she has very little sense of what things cost anymore, prefers to spend as little as possible, frets about whether she has enough. She does. Though my grandpa was born in a tenement building on the Lower East Side, in a family so large and poor he didn’t have a bed to sleep in let alone a bedroom, he too went to college — CCNY, baby! — and then to war and to work, hoisting his own family into the middle class, and then further up, because why stop there?
What he made, he invested, and the stock market treated him well. Though there was that one time he had the opportunity to buy a plot of land next to what was going to be Disney World and he was like, “A movie-themed amusement park? Why would anyone think that crazy idea is going to take off?” But the same gene that kept him from making the occasional good risky investment kept him from making lots of bad ones, too.
The anonymous thought-sharing app Secret, which is strong enough for a man but PH-balanced for anyone with a smartphone and opposable thumbs, raised a huge amount of money for expansion purposes by branching out beyond the tech world.
the company also announced on Monday that it raised an additional $25 million in venture financing from a number of esteemed firms and angel investors, including Index Ventures, SV Angel and Fuel Capital. Previously, it raised $10 million. The new funding puts the valuation of Secret, a six-month-old company, at higher than $100 million.
The news reminded me of, and made me nostalgic for, Postsecret, the wistfully adorable mechanism through which people made art out of short, intimate confessions sent through the mail. Scrolling through the site, I was struck by how many admissions relate to money, one way or another: