The Blog

Stanford

I waited a year to write much about taking Katie to college. I knew I needed some time to process what I was feeling.

I did that on our return trip to New York recently.

What strikes me, looking back, is how much we’ve healed. Saying goodbye this time “wasn’t only awful,” as Katie put it. Awful, yes. But she has a lot of work to do -- and so do we.

We’re still a pack, the three of us. Darrell didn’t think it was possible for three people to be closer than we were when Katie was at home. “But we are,” he said. “We’re closer than ever.”

The only thing geography changed was…geography!

You know, for now.

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photo courtesy of Katie Anderson

One thing my guests consistently tell me is how much they enjoy the chemistry between Darrell and me. One of them went on at such length she inspired this essay.

It’s one of my favorites -- and the editors at the Huff Post liked it a lot.

I hope you will!

When I was an aspiring writer, looking forward to the day I’d be a published author, I quickly realized I couldn’t control how many people liked my work.

I had more control over how many saw my work -- so that’s what I focused on. If I got a rejection in the mail, for example, my policy was to prepare another pitch and walk it right back out to the mailbox that night.

I was a maniac about that. This was business, and I was serious.

My policy paid off in short order. And what dip into the blog archives would be complete without the laundry soap story? We love that story!

One of my blog editors is taking a break from editing this week in favor of work that pays more and is more fun. As part of the welcoming committee for freshmen at the Stern School of Business at NYU, Katie’s accompanying them to the US Open -- and to Central Park for more fun and games. For starters.

I know, tough life.

So I’ll be digging into the archives over the next few days in case you’ve missed anything over at the Huffington Post.

Of anything I’ve written, an essay about Katie’s first day of kindergarten -- which doesn’t seem all that long ago -- will probably always be my favorite.

I hope you like it, too.

You won’t necessarily know why someone has stopped availing himself of your services. Maybe he’s low on cash. Maybe he’s consumed with a personal problem. Maybe he’s taking a step back from everything to give himself a fresh perspective.

Maybe it’s all of the above. Maybe none.

What happens next is up to you. You can let him know you wish him well and will be happy to be of service if something changes back. Or you can start rooting against him, dissing him to others, start pulling things behind the scenes.

I’ve always been fascinated by people who choose the latter. And it always reminds me what the friend of a friend once said: “Oh, well. They get the life that goes with it.”

When Darrell got laid off from his job a few months before Katie was born the timing struck us as less than ideal. But he went back to work again right away, from home.

Because of that seemingly unfortunate event, Katie grew up with not one but two parents working from home and doting on her constantly. We’ve been a pack, the three of us, since before she was born.

“It’ll be interesting to see what kind of person she becomes,” our friends told us, “for having grown up like that.”

The results are in, and they’re amazing.

Is it any wonder when Darrell looks back on twenty years of being in business, he counts Katie as his greatest achievement?

Not to me!

Giving up junk food was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Much of what I love about my life can be traced to the decision to take in only good.

The origin of that decision was not exclusively, shall we say, only good. I think you’ll find it interesting, and I have Darrell’s blessing to share.

So here goes.

We were on a date many years ago -- as close as we usually got to one, anyway. A long, leisurely walk on the beach with Katie. It was a hot summer day -- blistering would be more accurate -- and off in the distance, I saw it. A lemonade stand featuring icy cups of the fresh-squeezed variety. It called to me in a way few things had before, or since.

Darrell and I had been married long enough for me to know better than to suggest spending three dollars on something this indulgent, just for me, very often -- but not long enough to have been prepared for what followed my suggestion.

Let’s just say he made quite the case for how much more lemonade we could buy if we spent the same three dollars at the grocery store. By the time he finished I was more wilted from the shame than the heat.

I didn’t realize it then, but my brain set to work on this problem. I knew those little splurges would call once in a while, and I doubted Darrell’s feelings about them would change. The way to solve this, I guessed, was to stop wanting what I wanted.

But how?

It took several years, but I did it. I became a new person, food and drinkwise, and it started with this blistering summer day.

That’s when I learned to make my own lemonade, metaphorically speaking.

Eventually!

Darrell and I used to run for an hour at a time at a steady pace. Then I suggested we try what I’d been reading about -- run hard for thirty seconds followed by a light jog for ninety seconds, over and over. We cut twenty minutes off our total time and get a better workout.

This is a better way to run for a lot of reasons. It’s easier on our knees, for one thing.

I’m not one to coast, though. I’m always on the lookout for a way to work -- and work out -- more efficiently, and recently I came across a suggestion for making a run even easier on your knees. Land flat, as opposed to landing on your toes or your heels…and take shorter strides.

It’s unbelievable what a difference that’s made. I used to have this nagging feeling my knees were on (forgive me) their last legs. Not anymore.

But I’m no doctor, so I feel compelled to offer one more thing. Your mileage may vary!