July 20, 2019

My Year of Living Like a Rich Person

“In 2008 the U.S. economy was collapsing, but I myself was experiencing a brief and temporary period of financial abundance, the first and only time like this I have ever known. After years of working at office jobs that barely allowed me breathing time on the weekends, I was fully freelance, or as I would later come to think of it, unemployed. I was renting my own one-bedroom apartment and spending a lot of time eating, going to yoga classes, and lying on the floor crying while dredging up bad memories to put in the book I was working on. I had been through a lot, I thought, and I was due some time to relax. I wasn’t a complete idiot — I knew that the windfall I was living on, from a book advance that was rapidly being decimated by taxes and insurance premiums, was finite and unlikely to be replenished via writing alone. But I was enough of an idiot to imagine that teaching yoga was going to be an adequate Plan B. And I was also enough of an idiot to start hanging out with T.

T was around during the day when I had nothing pressing to do, willing to have me over at 2 p.m. for tea and gossip. She was beautiful, with a wild head of perfectly maintained hair, and always smelled amazing. She had usually just come from a fitness class or a massage or a haircut or other more esoteric spa experience. She had written for years for women’s magazines, which were then much more of a thing, and so a lot of this self-care was either subsidized or a legitimate research expense. But you got the sense that she would still be doing it, even if it weren’t part of her job. This was just the way she lived. She reminded me of Colette, the author whose photograph was on the vision board I kept above my desk. She was a sensualist, an aesthete. She made it seem normal and rational and good to spend hours taking care of your body and mind, soothing and nourishing yourself like a pampered, beloved pet.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"The likely successor to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Boris Johnson, has plans to subsume the government department overseeing development aid into the foreign office, effectively eliminating it. That will destroy a post-Brexit United..."

"Gerard Baker, editor-at-large at the Wall Street Journal (no reflexively anti-Trump publication) recently wrote a piece decrying Donald Trump and his foreign policy as a fount of erratic unpredictability. This essay will give the counter view...."

"On Wednesday, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced that she will be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks. Omar will be accompanied by Rep. Rashida Tlaib. The two freshman congresswomen have become a focal point of..."

"Netflix may have lost US subscribers for the first time since it began making its own shows, but that didn't stop the streaming giant from dropping new figures about how many people are sucked into its Adam Sandler vortex. (Spoiler: More than..."

"A few years ago, Amy Balliett, CEO of a Seattle-based design and marketing firm, noticed that as the work week slogged on, her employees’ energy and productivity wilted. “That would slump to such an extent that the same task on Monday would..."

"Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This “challenge” involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened..."

"Although there are plenty of irrational aspects to life in modern America, few rival the odd fixation on lawns. Fertilizing, mowing, watering — these are all-American activities that, on their face, seem reasonable enough. But to spend hundreds..."

"Can a book change the way we think? I don’t mean that in the sense of a reader’s opinion or ideology shifting—of course the right literary work can do that. But can a book rewire the brain itself, literally changing the way one particular mind..."

"It’s our job to let kids know we see and hear them, but we’re not necessarily going to solve siblings’ conflicts for them (or else they never get the practice). When squabbles start, imagine you’re a sportscaster and describe what you see in..."

"Magali Trejo-Martinez, a 22-year-old living in Salem, Oregon, recently went on a date that was rather uninspiring. “I had dinner, had a couple margaritas, and then went home,” is how she recapped the evening. This outcome wasn’t entirely..."

"The first lunar landing was many things — a D-Day-like feat of planning and logistics, a testament to the power of man's will, an ostensible propaganda coup for NATO. It was also, I think, one of the most misunderstood events in the history of..."

"THE FIRST TIME Bernie Sanders ran for president, he didn’t talk much about being Jewish. In fact, he didn’t talk much about himself at all. His 2016 primary campaign, like his whole political career, was relentlessly focused on one topic: income..."