Heading home after work one day, I overheard a conversation between two businessmen not much older than myself. They were wearing expensive suits and shoes that were shiny despite the gritty slush that had saturated and salted my overripe gym shoes.

They talked about ways to diversify their assets, and each had a very strong, clearly well-researched opinion that must have taken a good deal of time and thought.

The conversation lasted the whole ride down the escalator.

I wondered what it must be like to have assets that weren't in the form of unused gift cards.

Erin O'Neill


Ayear ago, I worried about white blood cell counts, baldness and nausea. If I survived, I swore I would change -- no more fretting about the small stuff. This year I'm in remission. Hair's grown back, prognosis good. But I'm back to measuring my kids against some mythical standard of perfection, begrudging every extra ounce on the scale and wrinkle on the face, and taking on too much work. So much for my epiphany. I guess this means I'm better.

Paula Whitacre


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