What ‘A Christmas Carol’ Teaches Us About Happiness

Two copies of A Christmas Carol, both illustrated, and four different film adaptations, one animated and one featuring Muppets, sit in my parents’ living room. My father, the patron of this Christmas collection, always told his children A Christmas Carol wasn’t just a holiday narrative, it was a human one. A tale of redemption and … Continued


Why You Should Pursue Meaning, Not Happiness

A recent article in The Washington Post identified a rising “sea of despair” among the white working class and a surge in suicides from 1999 to 2015, when a record high of 600,000 Americans took their own lives. In a country as free and as prosperous as the United States of America, where the pursuit … Continued


The Dream—Or Is It a Nightmare?—of No Work

Wouldn’t it be great not to have to worry about money?  No need to get up and go to a job, instead you could just enjoy yourself and really live? This fantasy has plenty of appeal, and, no doubt, just about everyone entertains this line of thinking from time to time when the alarm goes … Continued


If We’re All So Connected, Why are Our Kids so Lonely?

Heading out on an overnight school trip, my daughter spent 90 minutes each way on the bus with her classmates. Before the trip, the school laid out the electronic use policy—students would be allowed to use iPhones and iPads on the drive to and from their retreat but not during their stay. A few parents … Continued


The Gray Divorcée

For years, popular culture treated divorce as liberation; it might not be wonderful for those involved, but at least it was not a moral failure. If mom and dad were miserable, then daughters and sons were miserable too. If mom found happiness in the arms of another man (or woman) and dad could live out … Continued


What Caitlyn Jenner Gets Wrong About Happiness and Gay Marriage

Is happiness always worth chasing? In a surprising interview with Ellen DeGeneres last week, Caitlyn Jenner expressed some ambivalence about gay marriage. “I’m a traditionalist,” said Jenner, a former Olympian and member of the Kardashian clan, who has chronicled her transgender journey on her reality show, I Am Cait. But Jenner acknowledged she’d come around … Continued

Celebrities, Culture

Learning How to Grow Old

Sometimes, the fact that I am almost 30 makes me want to freak out. I know that 30 is not old,  but it’s not really young, either. It’s entering that “in-between” period of life. My 40s are next. Gulp. Like most normal people, getting older is a source of a certain amount of anxiety. Polling … Continued