Apparently I am too young for a midlife crisis

So my mom sent me this link and asked what I thought about it.

The post-tenure slump is a real thing that lots of academics experience, but I didn’t.  I felt great about tenure.  Then I moved to a location far less sucky and I feel super-great these days!  I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.  Perhaps I’m not old enough yet?

My friend had a quarter-life crisis but I was too busy working on my degree and having grad-school woes to have a crisis about my age and stage in life; I was having crises about the state of my research instead.  At quarter-life (25) I felt overall good about where my life was heading, despite the struggles.  That feeling did take a dip in my previous shitty city, but it’s back these days too.  Quitting a sucky institution in a sucky state and moving to paradise will do that for ya.

You should ask me again in 10 years!

#2 was too busy to have a post-tenure crisis.  She did have a bout of pre-tenure angst, though.

Have you had any fraction-life crises?  How did they go?

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Another note on privilege

Have you ever noticed that nobody ever says “those racists got what’s coming to them” or “if they didn’t want to get killed they shouldn’t have been racist.”

But they do say, “if they didn’t want to get killed/raped/etc.” they shouldn’t have provoked/been someplace where they could be noticed by/etc. a person in power?

You don’t get blamed if you get hurt when you’re punching down.  Nobody expects people to shoot back.  When they do, you can’t be blamed for not expecting it.  But punching up?  You should have known better.  Don’t carry a gun if you’re not white.  Do everything the police office says, no matter how illegally he is treating you.  Don’t speak out against rapists or internet harassers.  If you do, you deserve to become a target (except that you never deserve that).

If you are in a group with less privilege it is always automatically your fault (by popular opinion, though not in truth, never in truth).  You are not innocent specifically because you are not a Christian (or atheist– only the super-privileged are allowed to admit to atheism) white male.  It’s like your original sin– not being born with privilege.

Because you’re not privileged, then you should *know* that the world is a dangerous and scary place and you have to stay in your home, wearing a burqa, surrounded by robot body-guards.  If you’re privileged then you don’t have to do that because the world simply *isn’t* a dangerous and scary place for you.  You have to actively seek a career like drug-trafficking before people start going, “hey, you should have done something to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.”  It’s simply unthinkable that it could ever be a Christian white guy’s fault.

Wouldn’t it be nice if nobody ever thought to victim blame?  If everybody were extended the same grace that white guys in power are given?  That we could focus on the people causing the crimes rather than the people victimized by them?

But that’s patriarchy for you.  Culture is against you, therefore you’re in double-jeopardy.  You’re damned from the start.  And doubly so if you try to fight it, if you try to do what those white Christian (and atheist) guys take for granted every moment of every day.

Privileged people can give and take bad financial advice

Get Rich Slowly has been going downhill.  I had been excited when they rehired Robert Brokamp, but the vast bulk of his posts since starting have been pretty terrible.

The most recent that I read was discussing what to do when you absolutely must buy a house you cannot afford for which you haven’t saved a downpayment because you’ve gotten married and your wife is about to have a baby.

I will let you digest that.

Assumption:  You must buy a house when you are about to have a child.  Because… I’m not really sure why.  Perhaps Muffy and Chaz would shun you if you’re still living your penthouse.

Ok, so then he goes on to give his advice.

“#1 Get help from family. My dad pitched in $10,000 as an advance on my inheritance.”

Because… your dad has an extra 10K.  That he can just give you.  And isn’t going to need for say, unplanned end of life care.

Right there, that first line indicates that Brokamp is coming from wealth.  If he screws up, his parents can, and WILL, bail him out.  He can afford to do risky things like buy a house with no real money down.  Most people can’t!  And of those who can, many of them would not want to put their parents’ money on the line like that.  DH and I make a lot of decisions because we don’t want to have to ask family to bail us out, even though they probably could.  And we have far more security than people whose families couldn’t!

#4  Use your IRAs.”  Because tapping into your retirement savings to buy a house is a good idea for anybody who doesn’t have a large income flow that can make up the difference later.  (It isn’t.)

“#6. Get help from your boss. If you are a valued employee, you might be able to ask for a raise or an advance on your bonus or paycheck…Feel free to play the ‘we’re having a baby!’ card if you work for a family-friendly company.”  As one of the commenters pointed out, this only works when you are a WHITE GUY.  @$@$# @%@#$@#$ @$@#$@# $%^$^$.

Another example of how the rules are different for one segment of society (upper middle class white men with wealthy parents) than for the rest of us.  @$@# you, GRS.

What are other examples of one set of rules for the privileged and another for everyone else?

link love: mid-Jan. edition

do not read the comments

nobody expects the facebook inquisition linked from that post: car dealership people being jerks

breaking cat news continues to be adorbs

Let food be thy medicine part 2

France makes no sense.  Or rather, it makes total sense if you believe that Muslims should be allowed to be discriminated against.  I guess in that sense it’s not that different from the US.

We agree with a lot of very smart people that you should not punch down.

Some decent police officers.  Of course, this is what happens to good cops.  (Well, at least if they’re black females…)  OTOH, F the police.

And nobody was injured… I wonder what the skin color of the guy was…

Most of America’s rich think the poor have it easy.  HULK RAGE.

Scared of early retirement?

I actually tried this out in college and it worked… on one side.  Boy that was awkward.

Lesser known members of the Algonquin Round Table.

What to do if you bought turbo tax and have stock earnings.

Having a starbucks wedding?

Google Quest

Q:  why children should not be made to do things they dislike

A:  Nice try.  Go load the dishwasher, kid.

Q:  why engineers should marry engineer

A:  They should marry social scientists!

Q:  who is best suited to marry an accountant

A:  Not us!  I guess maybe my MIL?

Q:  how much is appropriate for a wedding gift if you are flying “international” “miss manners”

A:  Spend what you want so long as it is less than or equal to what you can afford.  (You don’t actually have to get a gift…)

Q:  hypothetical example of classroom behavior problem

A:  As a teacher in training, shouldn’t you be doing your own homework?

Q:  is tiaa cref better than vanguard for roths

A:  No

Q:  is $100 a week allowance enough for an adult

A:  Depends on what they have to pay out of that allowance (housing, food, etc.)

Q:  how much money can i borrow for my phd

A:  Don’t do it!!!

Q:  marry best friend or not

A:  Are you both in love with each other?

Q:  potty training isn’t going well, am i scarring my child?

A:  Define “not well.”  If you are literally scarring your child, you should stop.  If there are lots of accidents and it isn’t bothering anybody, your kid is fine.  If you or the kid is stressed out, then step back and try again later.

Why I Quit Dieting: A Guest Post

Here’s a guest post from another friend of mine.  She is a white, able-bodied, heterosexual (I think) woman.  She is a wonderful person to be around, and she reads Dances with Fat (who reminds us that we can’t hate ourselves thin), too!  We were having a conversation about radical self-love when she agreed to let me use this piece.

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Why I Quit Dieting

Even though I was an average-sized kid, I went on my first diet at age 9 because I thought from example that it’s what you do when you are female.  It lasted a day because I was nothing but hungry all day.  At 15, I got better at fighting hunger and lost weight by eating only an orange and then drinking Diet Coke and chewing Trident bubble gum during the school days  – days that frequently included a couple of hours of tennis team practice – so I could go home and eat a normal dinner and not tell my stepmother I was on a diet.  I definitely lost weight and for years my mother went on and on about how good I looked when I performed in a play at the end of that spring.  I later revealed I was only that thin because I had basically been starving myself. Of course, I gained weight back.  I went through about 3 more of those 15-pound cycles into my late 20s, one of them “accomplished” during a college summer by eating 800 calories a day, chewing on candy but spitting it out, and running about 2 miles a day.  (I hereby apologize to the library information phone line librarians who had to answer all of mine and my friend’s questions about how many calories were in different foods before we had the internet.)

One of my first steps toward empowerment was after a re-gain when my mother called me and asked how she could help me lose weight.  She had experienced a time when her mother read a newspaper article about one of her major professional accomplishments and her mother only commented on her hair.  So, when she called me, I said something along the lines of: “You know how you felt when your mother only commented on your hair?  Well, that’s how I feel right now.  I am proud of what I am doing and the person I am. My weight is none of your business.”  And then I lost about 15 pounds – because that’s what I wanted to do at the time.

A couple of things helped me shed the ideas of what NOT to eat and focus on eating nutritious foods:  one friend said that to lose weight, he ate fruit instead of a hot dog for breakfast.  It was so simple, but something about that got me to eat a substantial, healthy breakfast every day, something that is an essential part of my life now.  After a thyroid crash in my second round of grad school, I worked with a naturopath who gave me a list of foods to eat every day and foods to eat every week to recover from my many inflammation-related conditions.  I recovered from the thyroid crash, focused on what TO eat and stopped paying attention to what not to eat, except when I got rid of migraines by eliminating some foods.

I love my current naturopath who has never weighed me, but reports all of my kick-ass results of true health indicators (I think it was my C-reactive protein number that she said was the best she had seen in a long time). It feels so good to use my assertiveness to tell the medical assistants at “regular” doctor’s offices that “I do not want to be weighed today.”  I’ve learned so much about what a poor indicator of health the number on the scale is and carry it through in my actions.  Since I jokingly call myself an “empiricist pig,” I trust the research that shows that the number on the scale on its own is not useful as a predictor of health, that 95% of weight loss efforts do not last beyond 5 years, and that losing and re-gaining weight is bad for health.  I’ll go with the real predictors:  eating fresh fruits & vegetables, regular moderate exercise, not smoking, and drinking alcohol in moderation.

I am so much happier and comfortable my current size than I ever was at the smaller clothing size that I “could” be.  My size is not a (secretly) temporary size.  It’s not full of regulations, obligations, or shame. It’s my size.  It’s the size I am when I eat and relish the joy of delicious, healthy, whole, real foods most of the time (and relish less healthy foods sometimes as well – because they are delicious, too!).  It’s the size I am when I enjoy exercising multiple times each week.  I have always been physically active in many ways, but it is even more fun to exercise now that I do it for how much I love it, how good it feels to move, how strong it makes me, and for how much energy it gives me  – without any concern for its effectiveness at changing my body size.  Loving movement, loving food, eating when I’m hungry (until I’m not hungry, and not feeling guilty about anything I put in my mouth or even an occasional full week without exercise), is the most joyful and peaceful way to live.

 

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#2 notes that focusing on fun and new things to eat has gotten her through a lot of pregnancy and related eating restrictions.  There’s a whole world of healthy yummy food out there for all sorts of restricted eating, be it whole foods, gluten-free, nut-free, etc. etc. etc.

Got comments, Grumpeteers?  Be nice.

 

And then there were three (kitties)

I think it’s finally safe to tell boy kitty’s story.  My sister has gotten attached.

If you will recall, finding a kitten stuck in our garage led to 3 kittens (Nice kitty, the kitty formerly known as Mean kitty, and Boy kitty) and 2 gentlemen kitties, Garage Cat and Patio Cat, and still feral Mamacat.

Garage Cat is being spoiled to bits in his new home with a friend of mine across the country.  Reports are he’s getting along great with his new sister kitty.  I’ve seen pictures!  Patio Cat got lost outdoors for a few days but returned unharmed to my MIL.  We think feral outdoor Mamacat may have found another food source because she doesn’t finish the food every night, but more like every other night, which is good because we may have to stop feeding her next year.

My sister originally offered to take one of the kittens if we couldn’t find any takers.  But she wanted one who wasn’t black because black fur would show up on her furniture.  That stipulation made us think she really wasn’t ready for a destructive kitten.  Maybe two destructive kittens who could entertain each other, but not just the one (she nixed that idea).  So we put it off.  And put it off.  And still had no takers for our remaining kitties.

Finally we figured the three kittens had grown enough and settled down enough that my sister could handle one of them.  We picked boy kitty because he’s not black (unlike Patio Cat who we hadn’t yet given to my MIL) and he doesn’t pee on things (unlike Nice kitty) and he’s a bit more outgoing than the kitty formerly known as mean kitty while not being clingy like Nice kitty.  All around a good cat for someone with an active lifestyle who doesn’t want to be constantly covered in fur.

Unfortunately boy kitty doesn’t like claw caps at all (unlike Garage cat and Patio cat who were all, “whatevs, yo” when we capped them), and found the experience very traumatic.  Moving was also traumatic.  We told my sister we’d experiment for two weeks, but we really needed him out of the house while we went on a trip (we did have someone checking up on the remaining kittens and Little Kitty, but the bathroom really wasn’t enough to hold all three kittens for an extended period of time).

Settling in with my sister was rocky at first.  She complained about the litterbox.  She complained about him taking his clawcaps off.  He kept waking her up at 3am demanding petting.  [#2 notes: this is called having a pet.]. She kept referring to him as “your cat” rather than her cat in conversations.  But the two weeks extended to a month.  We’d bring it up in conversation and she’d be noncommittal about giving him back, so we didn’t push the issue.  Though at one point she made us pay her bill at Pet-smart when we visited.

When she left for a two week business trip, she left him with us (and after a few days he was back to playing with his sisters and terrorizing Little Kitty), but at the end of it, she took him back.

Now, finally, a little more than half a year later, she’s referring to him as “my cat” instead of “your cat” and no longer wants an automatic feeder or expensive litter cleaner.  She seems to be genuinely attached to him.  She has a new housemate who isn’t allergic to cats.  I’m no longer worried that he’ll be coming back to us.  He is her cat now.

So that’s the kitty update.  Join us next year as we attempt to temporarily get the remaining cat number down to something we’re allowed to keep in an apartment or rental house.

Thrills!