What’s your 1 thing 2 do?
My brother is getting his master’s degree in Belgium. His bank account was overdrawn, and here’s how my Dad hilariously responded.
Sadie Stein looks back at how laundry figured into her childhood, and how her family, especially her mother, lived with and around it
In the Times’s “Booming” section (about baby boomers) Jim Sollisch has a really sweet essay about his son Max, a 25-year-old singer/songwriter signed to an indie label, who although doesn’t make a ton of money, is living a life he seems to love. Sollisch says that we often measure success by how much money we make but, of course, there’s much more to it than that:
What my friends don’t know is how to measure any of this on the only scale most of us have. You know, the one the I.R.S. uses. And to be honest, I’m not sure how to answer the question either. How successful is Max’s music career? What is a tattoo on the forearm of a 20-something in a medium-size Midwestern state worth? The Eskimos have all those words for snow, and it seems the only language we have for expressing success is numeric. It may be a universal language, but it’s an impoverished one. Maybe we need a word for “never having to sit in a meeting where someone reads long power point slides out loud.” Maybe we should have an expression that captures the level of success you’ve achieved when you do exactly what you love every day.
Max gets up when he likes and does what he loves. He avoids most of the things that most of us numerically successful people complain about all the time: racing from one unreasonable deadline to the next, sitting in unproductive meetings and watching simple things made complicated by committees. And he doesn’t want for much, largely because he’s smart enough to know that the only way to be rich is to want little. He takes no money from his parents. If he doesn’t make enough from a particular tour to cover the next few months, he gets jobs substitute teaching. Somehow he manages to save a little money.
Sollisch still worries what his son will do if his music career doesn’t work out (because dads worry about their children), but when he looks at his son, he believes that Max’s success is “off the charts.”
An influential science blogger named Bora Zivkovic recently resigned from Scientific American after three women came forward with sexual harrassment claims against Zivokovic. In light of this news, Jennifer Ouellette, one of Zivokovic’s former colleagues, put up a post yesterday about sexual harassment in the workplace, providing some examples from her own experience. It’s a great piece. [Thanks to Meagan for sharing the story with us.]
A shocking number of young people in Japan aren’t having sex, and have no desire to get married:
“Marriage has become a minefield of unattractive choices. Japanese men have become less career-driven, and less solvent, as lifetime job security has waned. Japanese women have become more independent and ambitious. Yet conservative attitudes in the home and workplace persist. Japan’s punishing corporate world makes it almost impossible for women to combine a career and family, while children are unaffordable unless both parents work. Cohabiting or unmarried parenthood is still unusual, dogged by bureaucratic disapproval.”
We’re doing fine. I keep meaning to write an update, but I never seem to have the time. Things have been pretty crazy and overwhelming and exhilarating and scary and fun.
In Salon, an essay by a self-described stay at home boyfriend: “Say what you will about modern times and gender roles in the 21st century, but there are still certain behaviors associated with manhood. Providing. Protecting. Being a stay-at-home boyfriend may look easy. But let’s say I’ve forsaken a certain amount of pride.”
I think it is totally fine to want to pay and to feel like you want to pay and say, I want to pay. But it’s not because you are a duuuuuuudddeeee, dude. And that’s what I have to say about gender roles.
Yesterday, USA Today posted this graph showing that 44 percent of surveyed adults believe that children should contribute to their parents retirement if the parents don’t have enough money to live on in their old age. That’s a good amount, though more than half of respondents either don’t know or don’t think their kids should have that kind of financial responsibility. I personally would not want my kids (the ones I do not have yet) to worry about supporting me in my old age, but I also feel obligated to help my parents in theirs—I don’t want them to just be getting by; I want them to have a reasonable standard of living. Obviously, this is the type of financial discussions that adult children should have with their parents (along with things like living wills and end-of-life care). It’s something I talk about with my parents whenever I visit them for the holidays: “What do your retirement accounts look like?” It’s better to know now than to be caught off guard later.