I went from living with my partner of more than a decade to sheltering in place alone. Everything I think about home has changed in two weeks.

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Photo by Philipp Berndt on Unsplash

As I wrote about in a previous piece, my partner and I split and went our separate ways in the weeks leading up to our state’s shelter in place order going into effect. I’ve now lived by myself in my apartment for a week. Friends ask how I’m “settling in” — I’m not so much settling in as carving out. Excavating a space for myself in a city that has turned circumspect during…


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Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

On Valentine’s Day, my partner of 11 years and I decided to call it quits. We cried, we laughed, we called our realtor. Thus began a month of painting and packing, contractors and comfort food. Now, we are stuck in the house we’re trying to sell.

Early on, we discussed one of us moving out. I was looking at apartments fairly often. As the frenzy of home tasks heightened, the idea of moving out only to return over and over again to work on the house started to weigh on me. My now-ex and I were getting along just fine…


The whole internet is telling me what’s wrong with me, and I’m giving it more ammo every day.

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Photo by Ulrich Pickert on Unsplash

While browsing Medium recently, I noticed that the algorithm is serving me a lot of writing tips, career advice, and self-improvement articles. Flipping over to my podcast app, it’s more of the same (plus the inimitable Tara Brach.) And let’s not get started on my browser history. I’ve made this trail for myself. The articles I’ve been drawn to recently are all about how to be better — at work, at love, at everything. Why? Because I should be better. …


I stopped pursuing my passion, so am I earning what I want?

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

My career, until recently, has been largely in non-profit and government work. I turned to the private sector about a year and a half ago to try a new field. (And, to be candid, to combat the burnout and fatigue of being a True Believer in my previous jobs, which is another essay for another day.) I joined the company too late in the calendar year to get the incentive plan bonus for 2017, but just last month, I received a check for the 2018 bonus. …


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Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

I have a podcast problem. It’s not interfering with my work — the type of job I have wouldn’t work well with headphones. It’s not interfering with my social life, either. I’d much rather spend my free time with friends instead of the delightful hosts of, say, Pop Culture Happy Hour or Baby Geniuses. It’s not a pathology or anything. (Not yet, anyway.)

My podcast habit is interfering with my alone time. This is happening in two main ways: 1. my zone out time is no longer zone out time, and 2. actual hobbies are being replaced with podcast-listening. …


Or: Why the first bird of the year matters (to me)

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Anna’s Hummingbird. Source: Ed Dunens, via Flickr and Creative Commons.

I’m a birdwatcher. In some parts of birding circles, the first bird of the year Means Something. It’s your theme for that year, a harbinger on wings. For others, (my father among them), it’s no big deal. Just write the first bird down first on your year list.¹

But I’m also a millennial. And we’re so into the interpretive arts right now. We’re all about astrology, tarot, and mysticism. (The Atlantic says so too. And check out what’s trending on Instagram, for that matter.) …


In week 2 of this 52 week challenge, I picked apart my pessimism and learned that having an internal locus of control (that is, a sense of control over oneself and one’s destiny) is correlated with optimism. This is so because those who feel like they can control their lives are assured they’ll make good choices for themselves. That’s a pretty soothing thought.

I, on the other hand, have an external locus of control. I believe that circumstances dictate a lot about how my life is going to go. Not that I’m an extremist in this belief — my test…

Erica R.

I write for myself, and I answer my own questions. Birds, work, navel-gazing, queerness.

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