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28-Oct-2017 07:36

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I grew up in a preppy enclave of Delaware, where I was the short, wisecracking girl who was neither popular nor unpopular; who pretended to be dumber and richer than she was; who did not speak up when her friends made racist and sexist jokes; who believed that one day, if she kept adopting the customs and attire of the lock-jawed tribe she lived among, she would be seen as normal and everyone would like her.

(And then she'd marry David Bowie and ride unicorns bareback in a cloud palace.) I wish I could say that caring too much about others' opinions vanished as soon as I grew up, but long after I'd left the deb balls and lacrosse fields of my youth, those anxieties still gnawed at me.

In our marriage, we feel the sense of calm my sister describes; we feel, too, the relief of swimming with the current, the joys of small things.

We watch movies in holey sweaters and old socks, and when we fight, we don our Groucho glasses and get through it.

It's been 20 years since I met my husband and 14 since we were married.

In that time we've navigated uneven success, unforeseen disappointments, moments of shameful pride.

And in the end, who cares about being anything else?

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Not only because he knows how to celebrate and to comfort, but also because, without him, no joy or sorrow would have meaning.

We're not talking about a soul mate, though modern usage often spins it that way; the original meaning is more complicated.

Your basherter won't always make you happy, and your life together won't always be easy. She used to spend hours talking to her friends about guys—analyzing, deciphering, strategizing—but when she started seeing the man who became her husband, all of that stopped.

That a bunch of our breakthroughs, triumphs and joys occurred when we asked a few big, bold, paradigm-shifting questions? Such a statement suggests that I've given away my power without even bruising my knuckles.

Don't we owe it to ourselves—don't we deserve—to live an examined life? Never mind that we all, to some degree, worry about what people think, because we're, you know, human.He was someone who lived big, and the last time I saw him, when I told him that I was anxious about this motherhood business, anxious that no one would ever want to publish my work, he replied, "You just have to get out of your own way." I had to write what I had to write. By investing others with the power to dictate who you are, you rob yourself of an opportunity to truly grow.