Archive for the ‘Deep Thoughts’ Category

I stared at myself in the Macy’s dressing room mirror. Crisp black sheath dress. Sharp black suit jacket. Professional. Grownup. Just a jaunty neck scarf shy of stewardess.

I’m sorry. Flight attendant.

Oh, honey, my reflection said. You’re not fooling anyone. You’re just a kid in a suit.

But I’m not.

At 31, I’m inching past the age of young professional toward…what…professional? I’ve reached the point of no return—I’m in deep, this thing called adulthood.

But it doesn’t seem that way. Not really. It’s more like I got in the car and drove for hours, days, weeks, and now I’m standing at a gas station on the corner of the Past and the Future and wondering, how did I get here?

I have a full time job with a nice title and a computer with two monitors where I write Important Things for Important People. It’s not just a job. It’s a career. And even though some days I’m not sure I know what I’m doing, I’m pretty sure I’m good at what I do. So I’m told.

The other day I got excited about the arrival of my new vacuum.

I have a husband. We bought a house. We’re decorating a guest room—like a real guest room with art on the walls that didn’t come from Ikea. We talk about things like chimney repairs and floor tiles.

We rescued a dog. An entire being that we are responsible for naming, feeding, walking, trips to the vet.

I worked hard to get here, and I am so lucky.

And yet, it feels like only yesterday I was a lowly copywriter, asking my 30-something colleague when it was that he finally felt like a grownup.

“Still waiting,” he replied.

I am the same age now that he was then. An adult, but still waiting to feel like a grownup.

Even though I’m pretty sure I am one—I just don’t know it yet.


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Hello. My name is Susan. And I’m a commaholic.

I left college with an unflinching grasp on the high-holy rules of writing as dictated within the spiral-bound book known well by journalism school survivors: “The Associate Press Style Guide.” To this day, certain AP faux pas make me cringe.

As in:


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My three-year-old nephew stayed with us this past weekend. We managed to send him home no worse for the wear. He had all ten fingers and all ten toes. We successfully got him to sleep at night. We only had one moment of panic that involved a diaper, a wet bed, and a stuffed elephant left out to dry on the patio.

We took him to McDonald’s and the park. We ushered him to the library and asked him to pick out what books he wanted to read before bedtime. We showed him how to skip stones in the river. We wore him out at Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum (all the photos we took there are a blur — he didn’t stop moving for 3 hours). We took him to Target (he likes the red circles, kudos to Target’s branding). We were invited by a firefighter in our neighborhood to come into the station and look at the trucks. We laughed as he tipped over at the weight of the helmet on his head.

We rode the train, and as it pulled up his eyes grew wide. He looked out the window and exclaimed, “Look, there’s houses! Look, a bird! Look at the park!” We waved goodbye after we got off at the station. I soaked in his unfiltered joy.

On Monday, when I boarded the train for the 33-minute ride to work, I counted the cars like I always do. A four-car Monday is a bad sign, it makes me anxious and a little superstitious. A five-car Monday is a good sign, it means I’m more likely to get a window seat. An all-by-myself-seat Monday means an awesome week is ahead.

As I stepped on board (a five-car Monday!), I still had a little three-year-old’s voice in the back of my head. “Look, a conductor! Look at his hat! Look, a window seat!”

I watched the world pass by, the familiar stops and houses just waking for the day, “Look, a car!” I listened to music and rested my head against the back of the seat. We pulled up to the last station and nobody sat down next to me (look, an all-by-myself seat!). I didn’t worry about the workday ahead, or deadlines or school. I didn’t think about much of anything at all, except the unusually cool August morning, the blue skies, the fox into a bush as the train approached.

What I learned from a three-year-old: Happiness is Riding the Train.

(Until someone who bathed in cologne sits down next to you.)

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