Three conversations that have nothing to do with the pandemic

Photo by Bewakoof.com Official on Unsplash

In a way, the pandemic has made small talk easy, even for those of us who struggle with conversations about pets or the weather. These days there’s always an ice breaker close at hand, whether that’s new travel rules, predictions about the next phase of pandemic life, or where you are in terms of being vaccinated. (“Oh, you’re a Pfizer?)

We need these conversations. They help us manage our anxiety, and stitch together reality from our still fairly isolated realms. But at this point? Pandemic talk is just. So. Boring. And reminds us that we’re still in a pandemic, even…


But seriously, they should just empty the dishwasher every now and then

Photo by Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash

I think things are fairly equal in my marriage. I make most of the money. My husband does almost all of the cooking and more of the daily child care than I do. I run admin. He deals with lawn and car things. The rest we tag-team in a haphazard way that mostly works out. Still, we argue over division of labor, and we both spend some time feeling put upon.

But lately, I’ve come to believe that feeling resentful about the work I do at home is distracting me from my real source of stress: capitalism.

Our culture of…


We’re all rethinking work these days

Photo: Surface/Unsplash

Chances are, your job has changed in the past year. And it’s not just that we’ve swapped cubicles for kitchen tables, donned protective gear, and adopted Zoom for everything from board meetings to birthday parties. How we think about work — and how we feel about it — has changed, too.

In her newsletter Culture Study, Anne Helen Petersen, whose book Out of Office comes out later this year, writes: “This has been the hardest thing for people who didn’t work from home before the pandemic to visualize: your current WFH scenario is not your future WFH scenario.” She predicts…


As your life starts to slowly fill up again, find a few ways to keep cutting yourself some slack

Photo: tolgart/Getty Images

Years ago, in a prenatal yoga class, I heard a question that fundamentally changed the way I think about everything, from hosting Thanksgiving to handling my inbox: “What can you not do?”

The instructor didn’t mean it as an assessment of our limits (“What are you not able to do?”) but rather as an invitation for us to take stock of what we could drop from our crowded lives (“What can you stop doing?”).

That invitation was life-altering, and I want to pass it on. Even if you’re a hyper-organized planner who zooms through to-do lists and self-soothes by researching…


If you haven’t done these things in a year, now is the time

Woman cleaning her kitchen with a smile.
Woman cleaning her kitchen with a smile.
Photo: Halfpoint Images / Getty Images

Many of us have spent the past few weeks acknowledging the anniversaries: of the last time we went to an office, or that our children went to school, or that we ate inside a restaurant.

It’s a sad time, and a strange one, but it’s a hopeful one, too. After a long year-plus, every one of those anniversaries is for something we may be able to do again somewhat soon. Which means that right now, about a year since the World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic, is a good moment to start readying your life to expand again.

What…


Your local Facebook group is more than a way to score half a bag of cat litter

Photo: Halfpoint Images / Getty Images

Recently I nipped my online shopping habit in the bud, and here’s my secret: Instead of buying new stuff, I post the stuff I no longer need on my local Buy Nothing Facebook page. Somehow, it scratches the same itch for small-scale change — and watching the tote bags full of old duvet covers and too-small sweaters get picked up off my porch is far more satisfying than waiting for something new to arrive in the mail.

There are currently thousands of Buy Nothing groups around the world, some on Facebook, others in person or on different email lists, and…


Anticipating joy is good for your mental health

Photo: Maskot / Getty Images

Quick, don’t overthink it: What are you most looking forward to doing when things get a little easier? Is it eating at your favorite restaurant? Drinking too many cocktails and then taking a cab home? Booking a day at a spa? Dropping your kids off at their fully vaccinated grandparents’ home for the night? What’s one thing you’ve been longing to do — just one! — that would help restore your sanity?

My number one post-pandemic fantasy is entertaining at my house again. I can’t stop thinking about what that will look like when it finally happens — and even…


It’s time to stop insisting everything’s fine when you’re actually drowning

Photo: Gary Yeowell / Getty Images

For many of us, a significant percentage of pandemic life has been dedicated to processing how difficult it is to live through pandemic life. We’ve encouraged one another to acknowledge that we’re not okay, made all the intellectual arguments for why social isolation is so crippling, delved into the ways in which being stuck in our homes is breaking our bodies and our minds. We’ve shouted from the rooftops that this is hard.

So why does it still feel so unnatural — maybe even a little embarrassing — to be fully transparent about how not-okay we are? …


Three ways to survive your next season

Photo: FilippoBacci/Getty Images

Politically and culturally, we’re in a curious liminal moment: Many of us have more reasons to feel hopeful than we have in a long time, between the vaccines for Covid-19 and a new administration — but at the same time, personally and professionally we’re all running on emotional fumes. We’re about to hit the one-year anniversary of the pandemic’s arrival in the United States, but it’s still hard to see the finish line, or believe that there ever will be a definitive moment when we know it’s all over.

We’ve entered the in-between time — and being here is its…


If you’re focusing on your audience, you’re not focusing on your work

Person writing on post it.
Person writing on post it.
Photo: fizkes/Getty Images

By 1501, a 25,000-pound slab of marble had been sitting in a Florentine courtyard for 35 years, a monument to an artist who was unable to turn a commission into a piece of sculpture. Nicknamed “The Giant,” the marble slab became a gossipy piece of local interest when a new artist — a buzzy 27-year-old upstart named Michelangelo — was hired to try to salvage the boondoggle.

Cognizant that his work would draw the 16th-century equivalent of paparazzi, “Michelangelo decided that he needed to carve [his sculpture] in private, so workers came and built a roofless shed around the Giant,”…

Annaliese Griffin

Annaliese Griffin is a writer and editor who most recently led the Quartz Daily Obsession, an award-winning newsletter. She lives in Vermont with her family.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store