Friday, September 6, 2013

Welcome, visitors: new, old, and not-yet-old!

Atop l'Arc de Triomphe, June 2013.

[Obligatory aplogies for not posting in forever until, suddenly, an opportunity arises to plug one's own work.]

Welcome, anyone who's stopping by after seeing my essay, My Best Stupid Decision on the fabulous new literary site, Full Grown People. If you haven't yet seen it, I hope you'll take a look at my piece, as well as the brilliant other essays on the site. Founder and editor Jennifer Niessein (who co-founded and, for many years, co-edited the wonderful Brain, Child) had the genius idea of publishing essays about adulthood. That's right, not essays for and about some specific Gen—not X, Y, nor any of the other letters in the alphabet that have been assigned to a Gen—nor Boomers nor Seniors nor the Greatest Generation nor the Lost Generation nor any of the cohorts that date back before the time when they would slap a label or letter on tens of millions of people and treat it like it's more scientific than astrology.

Nope, Full Grown People is for grownups. Refreshing, huh? So please check it out, if you haven't already.

Meanwhile, here's a snippet of my essay, which is about my decision to recklessly take my almost-grown sons to Europe, even though any sane person could clearly see that I couldn't afford it.

My retirement savings are a fraction of what financial experts say you need —and that sum is more than twice what I will gross, at my current salary, over the next two decades. Retirement is a dot on the horizon, a distant posse in an old-fashioned Western, inexorably crossing Monument Valley as a silent cloud of dust kicked up by thundering hooves.

This was hardly the time to be jetting off around the globe.

Unless … unless it was exactly the time.

My older son would be leaving in the fall for a college across the country. The younger would be a senior in high school. They would soon move past the stage of their lives—so endless while it’s happening, so telescoped in retrospect—when taking a big trip with one’s mom is a culturally approved option.

... Already, I was too aware of the sound my footsteps made in an empty house.

Like the piece? I'd love to hear from you. Hate it? Think my decision was idiotic? Guess what—I’d love to hear from you, too! Like I always say, the internet is just way too nice.


  1. Hi Katy,
    I enjoyed reading your blog. I'm not sure we'll ever know if our decision was "worth" it. I have friends who work in hospice care and state that no one ever complains about not having spent enough time working on their death bed. I spent 10 years home with my kids and am now trying to start a business to go back to work. We'll see. All the best, Linda

  2. Thanks for reading, Linda! I've also heard that no one ever complains on their death bed about not having spent enough time working. Although part of me always thinks, well sure, if you're dying you don't have to worry about not having enough money saved for retirement. Also, I would guess at least a few people do wish late in life that they'd spent more time working -- not at the widget factory necessarily, but on something meaningful to them. But I'll stop being so argumentative now! Overall, I get your point, agree with it, and do try always to value having had the experience itself. Best of luck with the business, Linda!

  3. Lovely piece, Katy. However, this comment stood out as a discordant note: "I imagine my sons would have been fine in daycare."

    Why would you say that? It truly is horrifying that so many babies these days are institutionalized in day care at 7 weeks of age, watched over by a rotating cast of minimum-wage flunkies for 10 hours a day. What's even more disturbing is that many parents rationalize their decision by thinking it's an "education" for the kids. That's a delusion, pure and simple.

    Anyway, I'm glad you made the right choice in your life -- the same as I did. Consequences be damned -- it was worth it!

  4. Katy, I published a similar piece on the Huffington Post and on my site
    and was roundly criticized for being naive about the decisions I made. Perhaps, but at every stage I made rational decisions for my family that have left me in a less than ideal spot. Loved your recent piece. Lovely to meet you.