I learned…about traveling, and the city.
- That it’s always better if I wear a dress when I fly.
- That parallel parking should be done in a spirit of boldness.
- The magic words for when some airport guy tells me I can’t get on the plane I need to get on, or I’m not sure which way the next train is headed, or which way it is to 7th and K: “I need help.”
I learned…about being a woman.
- The power of breasts.
- That my Aunt Suzanne is right. There are many reasons to wear lipstick – all of them sufficient.
- And how to love my body, which looks like it does because I’m a woman and I’m alive.
I learned…about the heart.
- That you’d be surprised, who you will love,
- That chemistry choreographs itself,
- And sometimes you just need to drive to Lubbock, in the name of love.
I learned…about being well.
- That the greatest gift is sleep,
- Fat is my friend and sugar and flour are cliquey frienemies.
- A walk can ease anything.
- And how to be alone on a mountain.
I learned…about my calling.
- How to write a hundred nature essays that four people will read.
- That discovering all the things I’m not – scientist, academic, lawyer, editor, reporter – is not failure, but freedom to invest in who I am.
- That no one else has it any more figured out than I do, not really.
- And that I need to stop waiting for someone else’s permission (REALLY: I need to stop waiting for someone else’s permission).
I learned…about other people.
- That there’s nothing more human than inconsistency: I know this personally from loving a team in the NFL even though the NFL completely sucks.
- And my own unreasonableness is a better guide than logic if I’m actually trying to understand someone.
I learned…tough stuff.
- How to make a mean matzo ball soup, and that a mean matzo ball soup will never compare to a mom’s matzo ball soup.
- Because matzo ball soup is thicker than water and
- Religion doesn’t care what I think about it, and religion matters.
- Love might be the answer, but it’s not always enough.
- Some things end. They end.
- That sometimes the key to letting go is thinking, “Well, that person can go fuck himself.”
- And yet there are people to love – everywhere .
- That there is no final point of arrival, not really—
- And that’s why life calls for faith, though not necessarily the religious kind. Because
- What doesn’t kill us gives us stories. We stand on our stories.