In this Sunday’s New York Times (2/25/18), Sasha Cohen, the 2006 Figure Skating Olympic Silver medalist, shared the story of her retirement from skating. She spent her childhood and adolescence training for competition. Like all Internationally ranked athletes, her entire life was her sport. But after she stepped off Olympic ice, she was unprepared for her future as an ordinary civilian. She felt lost and uncertain. Michael Phelps, the most decorated swimmer of all time,... Read More
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When I was in my early 40’s, my mother came for a visit. She let me know that she didn’t feel that I acknowledged her birthday. She told me that every year her feelings were hurt. And, she added, she had been feeling this way for many years, but finally decided to tell me. I realized, after some reflection, that she was right. I also realized that my lack of recognition of her had to do with some of my deep feelings that I hadn’t entirely owned.
That day, I went out and bought her a birthday cake (it was months after her birthday) and promised her that I would spend every birthday... Read More
On December 18th, Diane and I will have been married for 40 years! Wow! Where did all that time go? It seems like a lifetime ago that we got married in her parent’s living room, surrounded by family and friends. It was a small, inexpensive wedding by today’s standards. But everyone was as happy and as celebratory as they are at today’s bigger ceremonies.
As I reflect back on these forty years, I have learned a few important lessons that I’d like to share with you. As my wife would agree, I am a slow learner and I can be very stubborn! So anything I do figure out takes me a long time... Read More
Everything changes. Every day our kids grow older. Companies enlarge, shrink, and become something else. Relationships develop or die. Our bodies age. New technology replaces old gadgets. Intellectually we know—Don’t get too comfortable with the status quo. But when something changes that we value, we’re angry. Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this? We react. And unless it’s something that we wanted---not too well.
Our bodies change too. In my case, it’s not for the better. When I look in the mirror I think—“That guy looks just like me, but older!”. Despite... Read More
Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend an Al-anon meeting with a family member. Alcoholism and substance abuse are equal opportunity diseases—they can impact families from all backgrounds. While I’ve recommended Al-anon to scores of my patients over the years, I had never actually attended a meeting myself.
Al-anon is a 12-step program, fashioned after Alcoholics Anonymous, that supports family members of alcoholics. Its goal--help participants find “peace and serenity” in the face of alcoholism and addiction. Family members can easily fall into co-dependency, where they... Read More
Last week, my daughter arrived in Seattle with her husband and her 6-month-old daughter in tow! She is spending two weeks with us, camped out in our bedroom with a “pack and play” crib. Of course, the easiest and most enjoyable part of her visit is holding our granddaughter and watching her put all manner of things in her mouth. Needless to say, she has completely charmed us. We are putty in her hands.
Despite raising two daughter’s ourselves, who turned out perfectly well, we are learning that we didn’t know anything, and by modern standards, were complete idiots. It’s a good thing... Read More
This spring I sat at a coffee shop in Lisbon enjoying a sunny morning in Portugal, towards the end of a lovely trip with my wife. It was a beautiful, warm day. I felt content and peaceful. As I watched the world go by, I was struck by an interesting thought that touched down in my mind, like a plane coming in for a landing—How could I be a better person? I decided to investigate this thought a little more—after all, I had nothing I had to do at that moment.
It wasn’t that I thought I was a bad person. In general, I feel pretty good about myself. But I realized that good could always... Read More
Not long ago, a colleague, Bill, shared with me his sense of loneliness in his marriage. He and his wife, Sarah, have been married for many years, raised a family, and enjoy spending time with their two grandchildren. Bill worked long hours on his career. It was important for him to provide for his family and save money for his kid’s college education. Through hard work, he accomplished those goals. Now, on the doorstep of retirement and looking ahead, he’s worried about the state of his union.
Their interests have grown apart. He’s an avid bike rider and enjoys taking long rides... Read More
It’s been a beautiful summer in the Pacific Northwest! The days are long, warm, and almost every afternoon has been sun kissed. Indeed, we are the land of the late day sun. After work, while the sun is still high, I enjoy walking around Green Lake in Seattle with the parade of after-dinner walkers. Kids are still splashing around in the water and there are battalions of standup boards paddling across the lake.
On those walks, I enjoy the diversity of our community. But I also notice how similar we all are to each other too. We all have most of the same equipment—heads, legs, and... Read More
While most parents want their children to be successful adults, Moms and Dads are also concerned about their kids becoming kind, compassionate and helpful. Indeed, most social surveys across the world show that parents want their kids to be caring and kind over material achievement.
Like most parents, I was very concerned with my children’s ethical development. I wanted them to be kindhearted towards others, honest, and have a strong sense of social responsibility. But how do we accomplish this “hard to measure” goal? When my youngest daughter was in middle school, both my wife and... Read More