The fact that it has taken me over a year to do what I used to do in three months could be a metaphor for my life now. Yes, things have gotten a lot more hectic in the last year. But, I’m still committed to the print version of Katastrophic Thoughts. New issues (along with a few old issues) will be available at Bluestockings Bookstore in NYC in the coming weeks or you can email me directly at kathleenerindavis at gmail dot com. If you were a past subscriber I will send you an issue in the next week or so.
Here is a preview of what’s in the issue:
- Retrospective: A Moment in Feminist History
12 basic rights that women just gained in the last 100 years.
- Special Edition of World Changing Ways
Nine causes that need your help now more than ever.
- Your New Feminist BFF
The first women doctor in the U.S. and her lasting legacy
- Pregnant Body, Public Domain
When you are a woman your body is never truly just yours, especially when you’re knocked up.
- There Are No Good Mothers
Everyone is a parenting critic.
- Stop Trying To “Empower” Women With Cutesy Titles
Why titles like “SHE-EO” and momtrepreneur aren’t helping.
- Required Reading
A few great books
- Women’s March…25
A small sample of the best signs from the largest single-day march in U.S. history.
Watching your country elect a misogynistic, racist, illiterate hateful man who has said and done deplorable things is devastating. Especially when his opponent was a smart, compassionate, and hard-working public servant who would have served as a powerful role model as the first woman president and would have led America forward towards a progressive future. Today millions of people feel like I do: numb, sad, worried, afraid, and really disappointed.
But I’m a mom now and I realized today that means I don’t have the luxury of wallowing. I have to be hopeful for my son, I have to help show him what it means to work for a kind and inclusive world. I have to show him that when you get dealt a blow you let yourself feel sad and angry and then you channel that into action. When they go low, we go high. You keep working. You keep believing that there are more good people than bad. Progress is slow. History is long. Nothing is certain. Nothing is forever.
Women, people of color, LGBT people and woke straight white men can make change happen. We feel hated right now. As a woman, I feel hated. So many in the country hate women so much that they are willing to elect a completely incompetent idiot in large part because they found a woman “unlikeable.” I need to believe better of those white, blue collar Midwesterners that reportedly undid this country in the election. Because that’s where I’m from, that’s who I am and I know that we can be kind people who want to help each other. I know they voted from irrational fear.
While Donald Trump may have won the presidency, it is no small thing that a woman won the popular vote. The majority of people in America do not agree with his hateful views (even some who voted for him). It’s been said that he won in part as a “white-lash” against the first black president and the feeling of (some) white people that their privilege was being taken away. If a Trump presidency is a backlash for an Obama presidency, than what will the backlash to a Trump presidency be? Hopefully a much more progressive future.
I have to believe in a better future, I have to believe that we are better than this and that my son will know a world in which a smart, compassionate, and hard-working public servant who also happens to be a woman can be president. I’m going to show him. I’m going to work harder. Here is a great place to start:
My infant son owns several feminist onesies, many of which I made for him. But I’d like to believe that he stands behind the messages. One says “ask me about my feminist agenda.” No one has asked yet, but here’s my feminist agenda for him:
I want you to play with and wear and like whatever your heart desires: trucks or dolls or toy kitchens and Legos. Hell, you can have a tea party with dinosaurs and robots and read comic books in a princess dress for all I care. I want your favorite color to be whatever you choose. And when some snot nosed kid on the playground or some loudmouth adult in Target tells that something is “for girls” or “for boys” I want you to have the self-assuredness to raise your little voice and tell them that there is no such thing; it’s all just made up anyways. I hope that when that snot-nosed brat calls you a sissy or calls you gay for liking something that has been arbitrarily assigned to be “girly” you will still stand up and say “so what if it’s gay, so what if it’s girly, there is nothing wrong with being either.”
But I know that you won’t always be so self-assured and it will hurt when people say these things and you’ll cry hot embarrassed tears and wonder if you should try to fit in because it will be easier. But I hope you won’t try to fit yourself into some made up mold or hide those tears because “boys don’t cry.” I hope you’ll understand that boy and girls are both just people and people cry and get mad and need to talk and need to be alone.
Speaking of girls, I really hope you’ll be friends with girls from as soon as you start making friends. It’s the best way to understand that they are complex, interesting, smart, and funny people just like boys. And I hope that when you do like a girl the adults in your life are smart enough to not start hetronormatively hyper sexulizating you. I want you to be a little kid for as long as you need to be (OK technically I want you to be my little boy forever). It’s already started. No, you are not “flirting” with women in the checkout line. You are a baby. That’s gross. There’s little you can do about this, but I’ll try to correct it when I can.
By the way when it comes to your interactions with girls, you will treat them the same as you treat boys. They aren’t princesses, they aren’t breakable, and it isn’t your job to save them or explain things to them. But it is your job to respect them, it is your job to realize that the odds are still stacked against them, and even as you treat them fairly the rest of the world may not. You are a white male in America born to middle class white parents, you have a mountain of privilege and with it comes responsibility.
If when you grow up and are attracted to girls you won’t treat them like objects, you will have watched your mother take catcallers to task, and you’ll stand up and do the same. You won’t be complicit in rape culture, and you won’t perpetuate it. When you hear other men say lewd things you’ll tell them it’s not cool. At work someday, you won’t ask the women to take notes. You’ll bring in the cookies. You’ll take paternity leave. You won’t critique women’s voices “abrasiveness” in a different light then your male coworkers or judge their skills on how “likeable” they are.
Because you’ll have watched your father take on an equal share of household tasks and you’ll do the same. Yes, my son, you will do your own laundry and cook meals and do the dishes. You’ll know that there is no such thing as “men’s work and women’s work” there is just work. Work for all of us to join in.
This is my infant son’s feminist agenda whether he knows it or not. This is what I want for him. I wish it didn’t matter if I had a son or a daughter, but to the world it does. No matter how many glittery leggings I buy from the “girls” department for him, he’s going to have to go out in a world that still very much divides humans based on their biological sex. But he’s my kid so he’ll know better.
In many ways a woman’s body is never her own. From the time she’s a little girl it’s open season for public commentary, mostly under the guise of compliments like “oh she’s so pretty/cute/precious.” And sure, little boy’s bodies are a commented on also to the tune of “strong” and “handsome” or they are creepily sexualized as being “flirts” when they are still in diapers. But for the most part boys escape the unsolicited commentary on their bodies for much of their lives. But for girls it’s just beginning.
Put aside the unavoidable messages about what our bodies should look like and what products we should buy to manufacture that look. Even if you opt out of conventional beauty tropes, as a woman your body will still be open season for catcalls from strangers and unsolicited advice and assumptions from nearly everyone. It is something that I like many young women experienced for many years from early adolescence through my teens, 20s and 30s. But after nearly a decade in a committed relationship and as I settled into my 30s I slowly started getting street harassed slightly less.
Some women feel bad when this inevitability happens, because fading into the invisibility of being a middle aged woman can make you feel like you have less worth when you’ve lived your whole life within a world that defines you by your desirability. But for many (like me) it comes as a relief. It’s not like I have “given up” on wanting to look and feel beautiful but I feel secure enough that I don’t need that outside validation. Plus, it’s a relief to walk down the street without strangers shouting things about my physical attributes or what I am or should do with them.
Then I got pregnant. More so than most others, it’s a life event that you wear very publicly. Many parts of being pregnant are incredibly joyous for me. I have wanted this for a long time and had a hard road to get here. And because of that and how painful it was for me in the years before I got here I am very reluctant to complain about almost any element of it. But being pregnant has reminded me again that when you are a woman your body is never truly just yours. As soon as I started showing my body and I were open season for public commentary. Some if it is lovely (being offered a seat on the subway, the happiness from other moms), some of it less so (the gender stereotypes thrust on my fetus, the unsolicited advice and judgement).
But almost always there is some comment about my body often in very intimate or critical ways. The street harassment is back in an almost aggressively cheerful way: Men (and only men) now shout at me as I walk by, usually something along the lines of “congratulations mommy!” which on the surface is nice and I will certainly take over being commanded to smile or some or having something sexually explicit yelled at me. But still it’s generally jarring to be walking down the street and have things shouted at you. It’s like these men feel contractually obligated to shout a running commentary on the bodies of all women that pass by.
The most glaring way that my body has become public property is the way in which (mostly women) feel the need to critique it. Perhaps this is something that some women do silently to themselves all the time anyways, but a visibly pregnant body makes it fair game for them to share their inner commentary with me. Here is a short list of the questions and comments that I receive several times a week:
- You’ve gained how much weight? It looks like a lot more.
- Are you sure you’re not having twins?
- How much longer do you have? I can’t image that you can get any bigger/you look ready to pop!
- I only gained (some arbitrary number) pounds when I was pregnant
For the record these are not the only comments I get, I’ve also had a fair share of compliments:
- that I’m “glowing” (I still have no clue what that means)
- that I’m carrying the weight well (I’m also unclear how you can make a value judgement on the way in which their body stores extra weight)
- that I don’t look as far along as I am or earlier in my pregnancy that I didn’t even look pregnant (which again I know were intended as compliments but for someone who desperately wanted to be pregnant these compliments felt either like my pregnancy didn’t yet “count” or that it was a laudable goal to try to look “thin” while growing an entire human being inside your body).
Just to get it out of the way, I started my pregnancy healthy and have taken good care of myself and have gained the amount of weight that is exactly within the medical guidelines for a healthy pregnancy. But I shouldn’t have to say that. Because just like non-pregnant people my body, what I do with it, and how it looks is only my business. And yet because I am obviously pregnant, the size, shape, progress of change and what I consume is now free game for everyone from those closest to me to complete strangers.
For the most part I’ve been able to let the constant stream on commentary roll off my back by reminding myself that even though it may feel like it someone else’s views on what my body looks like doesn’t define what my body actually is or how well I’m taking care of myself or my baby.
But having these few months in this different body have reminded me all the ways when you are the owner of a woman shaped body in public it’s never really just yours.
The Spring issue (#7) is out now! Here’s a preview of what to expect.
Retrospective: A Moment in Feminist History
The summer a grandmother set out wearing Keds and hiked the Appalachian Trail. World Changing Ways
The group that’s using humor to stop people without a vagina from legislating ours.
Your New Feminist BFF
Three badass lady spies of WWII
Open Letter to Gloria Steinem
Voting may be my feminist duty but telling me who to vote for is not yours.
How the U.S. Almost Had Universal Child Care (twice)
The cost of daycare is forcing many women out of their jobs, it’s time we fix it.
(and watching and listening)
Issues go out to subscribers on Monday. If you’re not on the list and would like a copy, email me at kathleenerindavis at gmail dot com
You have done so much for women, for the past three generations, and many women my age and younger probably don’t even realize how much we have to thank you for. And of course you are unaccustomed to backlash for speaking your mind of defending your convictions. But the backlash you are facing now is different, and it’s deserved.
Gloria, you have remained an outspoken activist for six decades, starting when you were in your 20s. So it’s perplexing that you don’t have faith in young activists and feminists now. You are famous for saying “Women may be the one group that grows more radical with age,” but how can you honestly believe that’s true? Your ideals about a woman’s right to choose, to forgo marriage and pursue a career and to not face sexual harassment and discrimination at work were extremely radical in the 1970s. On the other hand, your current belief that millennial women are supporting Bernie Sanders instead of Hillary Clinton because they want to meet boys isn’t only insulting and wrong, it’s old-school sexist. And while you may not have chided Bill Maher if he had said the same thing, I would have, and so would any other modern feminist.
As Los Angeles Times reporter Robin Abcarian pointed out in her recent column,what you said this weekend was just a 2016 version of something you’ve been saying for decades. It’s a relic of a wave of feminism that has long past, a wave that you helped make irrelevant. You have often said that young women refuse to call themselves feminists because they don’t want to compromise their ability to get a date, but you know that’s no longer true. Beyoncé is one of the most desirable women in the world and she’s dancing in front of a 10-foot neon “feminist” sign. Further, because so many women in your generation paved the way for women at work, Millennial men are more likely than older generations to express pride in their mother’s career choices and credit her work-outside-the-home status with their expectations of equality in their relationships.
But I’m most surprised in your pessimism about young activists because I know you’ve seen and spoken to them yourself. When I went to see your conversation with Roberta Kaplan this summer at the New York Public Library, the crowd spanned three generations – a testament to your relevance. But the majority of the people who asked questions were young men and women: some in college and several in high school. These were 17-25 year olds who were just as (or more so) politically conscious and active than generations before. Not only were they unafraid to call themselves feminists (and to pay $25 to listen to a lawyer and 81 year old activist talk), they were thinking critically about changing the world. Because as far as we’ve come, thanks in large part to your work, as you know we still have a long way to go reach gender equality.
Which brings me to Hilary Clinton. I understand why you want her to be elected, and I don’t diminish what a historic and symbolic moment it would be to swear in the nation’s first woman president. It would be a huge symbol to have a woman in the most powerful leadership role in the country (and arguably the world), but we know that just as having a black man as president didn’t eliminate racism (it may have in fact emboldened more racists), a woman in the White House won’t fix institutional bias.
And we know that more equal representation means a healthier economy a happier world. But you of all people should be against telling women what that have to do. There are many valid reasons to vote for or against Hilary Clinton, and none of them have to do with her gender. Implying that someone should vote for Clinton just because she’s a woman (or that if they don’t vote for her they are a trader to their gender as Madeleine Albright implied) does the decades of political work she’s done a disservice.
Further, criticizing a woman for not voting for Clinton because she’s a woman contradicts the feminism that you have spent your life working for. Feminism is about trusting that women are fully formed human beings capable of making their own choices: about their work, their money, their bodies, and their vote. Even when they make decisions that you don’t agree with.
A new year, a whole new issue! Here’s what to expect from the Winter 2016 (Issue #6):
- Retrospective: A Moment in Feminist History
The day that nearly every woman in Iceland went on strike and changed history.
- World Changing Ways
When getting your period means dropping out of school and the people working to change that.
- Your New Feminist BFF
The sisters who gave up everything to fight for people who had nothing.
On Feminism’s problem with Intersectionality (and a solution).
- Welcome Home
A short story about loss.
- Required Reading
(and watching and listening)
Issues will go out to subscribers early next week. If you are not on the list but want to get on it email me for details: kathleenerindavis at gmail dot com
I happened upon this amazing anti-street harassment mural a few weeks ago in Bed Stuy. It takes up almost an entire block and was created by a group of young women artists from Groundswell Public Art. The official title is “Respect is the Strongest Compliment.”
“We want to be seen less as objects, and more as humans who deserve at the very least, basic dignity to walk the streets safely,” explained the lead artist Danielle McDonald
According to their website, the artists researched and referenced concepts from feminist activist graphic art and political posters and referenced Ms. Marvel comics to help build a graphic narrative.
This mural isn’t only important because it give a large visual representation to a struggle that likely all women in the city have dealt with, but that representation is large and unavoidable for men as much as it is for women. While women are the ones most directly affected by street harassment, we can’t stop it on our own. Maybe walking by this giant reminder everyday will help men pause and reconsider.
If you are in New York and want to check it out, it’s at 1102 Myrtle Avenue in Bed Stuy Brooklyn.
The world doesn’t need this blog post. The world doesn’t need another liberal white 30-something New Yorker navel gazing about her time in the city. So I’ll spare you the introspection about how when I moved here in November 2005 I planned to only stay for one year and how life has taken so many unexpected turns since then. I’ll keep the analyzing the choices I’ve made and what fate has dealt me for the pages of my journal.
Plenty of people have lived in New York City for more than a decade, but I’m never one to let an anniversary or milestone pass without recognition.
There are a lot of lists and articles about the best or worst things about New York (one of my favorites is the Onion’s “8.4 Million New Yorkers Suddenly Realize New York City A Horrible Place To Live“). But in honor of the last decade of my life in this city, here are ten truisms about New York that I’ve picked up.
- Everything that sounds fun will be crowded. On most days in the city there are probably at least five unique/interesting/entertaining events that you’d like to attend (likely more) but anything that sounds really great will be crowded, sometimes unbearably so. Free screening of Ghostbusters in Bryant Park? Better arrive four hours early and be willing to run, push and jump over people to get a spot sandwiched in with strangers (see video below).
A short list of other things New Yorker’s have waited in line for several hours for:
a donut/croissant hybrid
the opportunity to go down a big slide
or to cuddle cats.
Bottom line: there are a lot of amazing things to see and do in the city that you can’t do many other places, but there are also over 8 million people and it’s not a very big place. The seasoned New Yorker knows how to find the still fun but not as crowded option, when it’s worth standing in line or pushing through a crowd, and when it’s better to just order Thai food and watch Gilmore Girls.
- Everything costs more than it should. You know your city has some issues on cost of living when a candidate repeatedly runs on the sole platform that “rent is too damn high”And our current mayor was elected in large part for pointing out how unequal the income levels in the city are. Truly there are some people in the city that are the 1% of the 1% and the excess of their wealth is astonishing and honestly disgusting. And on the other side of the coin there are millions of people in the city who can’t scrape by — homeless yes, but also families and friends sharing one room and going hungry. The extremes of poverty and wealth in New York City are a concentrated example of what’s going on in the rest of the country. But there in the middle are a lot of people paying way too much for way too little. There is a lot that a person has to give up in order to live here.
And many of those people are willing to pay way too much for their apartments: $2,500 a month in rent for a one bedroom isn’t “a good deal,” but here we believe it is. Space is at a premium here, and there is a lot of competition for everything, but I refuse to believe that spending close to (or over) a million dollars (likely up front in cash) for 600 square feet of living space is an acceptable way to live. I was lucky when I answered a Craigslist roommate ad ten years ago and ended up in a rent stabilized apartment that I like with a good landlord, but most of New York City is built for only the very wealthy. And a surprising amount of people put up with it.
- People are the worst. One morning several years ago I was riding the subway to work when I started to feel very ill, my vision was starting to darken and I was seconds away from fainting. There were no open seats, so I told the person closest to me that I didn’t feel well and asked if I could have her seat.
She glanced up at my pale, stricken face, said “no” and went back to reading. I sat on the floor until the next stop. In a city so big it’s easy to slip into feeling anonymous and to categorize the millions of individual human beings as one annoying anonymous mass of “other people.” A certain amount of disassociation is necessary in order to squeeze into packed subway cars and walk past people sleeping on sidewalks everyday. It’s a stereotype that New Yorkers are rude, but it’s not completely untrue.
I am by no means outside of this. There is a certain degree of self-centeredness that you need to survive. The result of a city of people looking out for number one is of course a lot of obnoxious behaviors that can make you hate humanity. Here is a very abbreviated list:
-walking while texting
-carrying one of those giant golf umbrellas on crowded sidewalks,
– talking during a concert or play
– lots of street and subway harassment from creepy ass dudes
- People are astoundingly kind.The amount of assholes in New York is the law of averages. If there is a large enough group of people then there will undoubtedly be at least 15-20% jerks. But that also means that you are guaranteed to encounter the other side of humanity. I’ve witnessed the kindness of strangers helping each other, from giving directions to lost tourists, to giving food and money to the homeless to offering empathy to someone crying in public.
But the largest way that I’ve seen kindness manifest is in the myriad of ways the New Yorkers (who are stereotypically overscheduled and self-centered) have given generously of their time and resources: volunteering after hurricane Sandy, and in my work with New York Cares and Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, I’ve tried to give my time and money, but there are people far more generous than me giving so much of themselves to those around them.
- It’s a big city that ends up feeling like a small town. A person could live in New York City for a lifetime and still only experience a fraction of the city. New York City is geographically insignificant, but the astonishing density of people means that there are more bars, restaurants, theatres, parks, beaches, neighborhoods, and events then one person could ever visit. Actually that’s not true, you probably could visit the entire city if you really wanted to but you won’t. In a city of infinite choices you’ll spend 95% of your time going to the same seven to ten places. You’ll always order the same thing from the “good” Thai place in your neighborhood and go to brunch within walking distance. You’ll branch out occasionally for a show or concert to try a new restaurant, but by and large most people (myself very much included) will find their comfort zone and stick to it.
This is unfortunate since it limits your experience and can lead to the annoying sweeping generalizations that people make about places like Brooklyn (no it’s not all hipsters and yuppies) but mostly it’s not unique to life in New York, humans are creatures of habit regardless of where they live. But this kind of self selection of lifestyle does lend itself to something that can seem like a cosmic coincidence: there are over 8 million people in the city but in my ten years here I have randomly run into every single person from my small town high school that has moved to the city, I’ve worked with the same people at multiple jobs and have several friends who know or have meant other friends. In short: it’s a big city but with very little effort you end up building it into your own personal small town, even if you don’t mean to.
- Walking 25 blocks is nothing, but you will never visit someone who lives five miles away Mark jokes that if I had lived in the Bronx when were single that we would have never started dating. It’s sad, but true. We meant online and we both selected the shortest distance that a potential partner could live, I believe it was four miles. I lived in South Park Slope Brooklyn and he lived in East Williamsburg, we were just at the cut off. If either one of us had ended up in an apartment even a few blocks further away we wouldn’t have meant, fallen in love and gotten married.
Most anywhere else in the country where most people live at least 10 to 20 miles from their friends, refusing to date someone who lives more than four miles from you would seem extremely nitpicky. But in New York it’s incredibly common. Just look at that map – an hour and 36 minutes of travel time and three trains? It takes up about that long to drive to visit Mark’s family in Pennsylvania.Commuting via public transportation has a lot of pluses but the congestion and geography of the city can make some places that may only be a few miles apart feel prohibitively far. So we create our own little worlds (see number 3); most people will stay within their neighborhood (so realistically about a one miles radius or so) on the weekends.
This also means that if a friend moves to another part of the city, you will most likely see a lot less of them. I have a friend from Michigan who lives on the Upper West Side but we only see each other back in Michigan because the logistics of meeting up in the city never seemed to line up. Yes I realize how ridiculous this is but we all do it.
- You are a nobody. So many people come to New York with the fiction we are fed in pop culture: The idea of “making it.” And of course there are those Cinderella stories of a girl from a Detroit suburb moving here and ending up so famous she only needed her first name (Madonna). Sure, there are plenty of famous people here, but that precisely the problem: there are so many impressive people here that no matter how much success you achieve, A) there will always be someone who is more “famous/successful,” or more intelligent, or more talented, and B) no one will care, you will walk down the street and ride the subway and stand in line and deal with all of the same BS as everyone else. (I’m sure many celebrities receive a lot of preferential treatment, but I have seen several celebrities in my time here in public doing normal stuff with nobody has given a shit.)
You may move here and “make it” in whatever field “making it” is for you and you will still probably feel inferior because there are just so many people doing awesome things. I mean I assume, I certainly haven’t “made it.”
- You’ll need to escape. Most people feel like they need to a vacation from time to time. The walls of your life close in on you and you just want a change of scenery. But in New York many people talk about the real need to escape. The size and density of the city can wear on a person and I think a lot of people that live here can end up reaching a point of “I can’t take it anymore!” For most people it means a weekend trip or a weeklong vacation somewhere that you don’t have to lug your laundry and groceries 20 blocks. For others it can be a breaking point where they realize it’s not all worth it anymore and say “good bye to all that” and move to the suburbs or farther a field.
- Everyone doesn’t wish they were you. When I first moved to New York after a year living in London, the city was touting itself as “the world’s capital.” London is also a large city with thriving a culture scene and tons of history and beauty, but you would never hear Londoners talking about their city with that kind of egotism. That sort of arrogance is a uniquely New York trait.Many people love or have pride in where they are from or where they choose to live. New Yorkers however have a self-assuredness that not only is the place where they live the best of all possible places on the entire planet but that everyone who doesn’t live here wishes that they did. It probably has a lot to do with the desire to justify everything that we have to put up with to live here.
We want to congratulate ourselves that they couldn’t hack it here. We disparage the majority of the country where millions of smart valuable human beings live as “flyover states.” But the truth is you should have to endure the place where you live and doing so isn’t really a badge of honor. Those people in the “fly over” states are probably happy where they are. If they wanted to live in New York, they would.
- Your New York experience isn’t universal. A trap that almost everyone who writes about New York falls into (and that I’ve fallen into several times while writing this post) is that we assume that our NYC experience is universal. For the amount of times we’ve heard the story of a white Midwestern woman moving to New York to “make it” as a magazine editor, it’s a far cry from the experience of a black gay southern man moving to New York to live with less judgement. And all of the stories of transplants aren’t anything like the life of native New Yorkers. And the life experiences and viewpoints of a native New Yorker raised in Park Slope with a nanny is vastly different than a kid bouncing around in foster homes in Brownsville or the child of first generation immigrants in Queens.
That New York is an extremely diverse city is part of the appeal of living here, and yet the story of the city is usually narrated be people like me. My experiences may represent a portion of the New York experience but they far from represent the whole thing.
It might sound like I’ve grown disillusioned with the city. While I think that I’m getting a bit burned out on city life I am glad I moved here and glad I stayed so much longer than I had originally planned. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have thought that I’d be living in that same apartment from a Craigslist ad with my husband and three cats. I didn’t know that after lots of career ups and downs I would be in a job that I like. And I had no idea that I would grow a strong network of close friends. So maybe that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned in the last decade here: whatever my expectations are they will usually be wrong. I guess even after ten years New York might still have the capacity to surprise me.