Image for post
Image for post
Credit: Gizmo/Getty Images

My husband Edward recently told me, in the kindest possible way, that he thinks sometimes I “go on” a bit. For instance, when people ask me how my book is coming, he thinks they’re looking for something simple, like “good.” When I say, “Well, I handed in a rewrite last week and the editors were happy with it so maybe I’m a month away from being finished,” he suspects that may be 23 more words than they wanted.

When I pressed him (“But they asked!”), he said it was probably different for everyone but that if he were me, he’d err on the side of too little information (TLI) not too much (TMI). But, I argued, if we all err on the side of TLI — if everyone’s answer to everything is “good” — it’s gonna be a pretty dull garden party. …


Image for post
Image for post

Agency is a favorite area of thought for me. Why wouldn’t it be? There may be no more appealing concept than that each of us has options in every moment to take a little bit of control back from the universe.

Got two great role models of personal agency for you to meet today.

  1. Jessica Jackson — law school mentor to Kim Kardashian West, partner of Van Jones in social justice and prison reform — has more moxie in her little finger than I have in my whole body. She was a 22 year-old high school drop out with a 2-month old on her hip watching her husband go to jail when she decided to be a public defender. …


Image for post
Image for post
Credit: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

A memorable bit from this week’s podcast.

I was recently in a juicy conversation with a new friend named Lori about how she worked her way through a series of life-changing choices in her late 30s , starting with get married or break up.

Lori, who is now in her 50s working as a therapist and writing the follow up to her bestseller Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, said she discussed her relationship conundrum with many friends over many months and every one of them told her the same thing: marry him. …


Image for post
Image for post

I have discovered all kinds of new interests this year — puzzles, painting and drawing, hiking and podcasting, which has centered my work week around lively and often profound heart-to-hearts about what advice we should and should not be following, the search for a few universal truths we can count on (even in these most unsettled of times) and a deep dive on how change really happens, in society, across the globe and person by person.

In this time when our sense of mortality is being primed every damn morning with eye-popping numbers of people all around us infected, hospitalized and dead, not to mention 864 unarmed people shot to death by police this year, I’m wondering about foundational or transcendent ideas that help me make sense of the world and my world. At the end of each episode, I share my takeaways. In today’s year-end solo recording, I shared my top 10 weirdly encouraging takeaways of 2020. …


Image for post
Image for post

I was talking to my friend Andy Laats about his wife, Liz, who died five years ago when their kids were 8, 10 and 12, and in trying to describe the amount of thought she put into parenting, he said, “Liz was a mom with a capital M.” Indeed, she was.

I myself had a mom with a capital M, and have since become one.

So what is this capital M work, then?

For my mother, as I suspect is true for all, the hardest work is when we are required to operate outside our comfort zones for the safety, development or well being of our children. …


Image for post
Image for post
Credit: tomazl/Getty Images

No matter what 2020 has taken from us, this remains.

I remember kind of swooning when I learned how the French say it: Je t’adore. I was in high school and the phrase brought to mind kitten heels, martinis and open mouth kissing. But really, when you’re a grown up, I love you is more romantic than the perfume-y Je t’adore. Informed love, love that has cut across time and thwarted its pressures, is a two-ton emotion, and the plain, full statement of it often makes my throat clog with feeling.

It is not: I love your giggle and mysterious expressions or the way your bra matches your panties. It’s: Even though your neck dropped into a waddle last year and you burp a lot after you eat Thai food and have not conquered your social insecurities and I heard you yell sharply at our kids again and you still can’t seem to bring yourself to be nicer to my mom or ask for that raise, I love you anyway.


Image for post
Image for post

This week marks 5 years since my friend Liz Laats died. After 88 rounds of chemotherapy and more surgeries than you could count on both hands, she said No more and she died in her bed with her family on hand as she had intended.

I am sharing two huge conversations about loss this week on my podcast Kelly Corrigan Wonders: one with BJ Miller, a rather famous (and rightly so) palliative care doc who has had his own share of loss (including three limbs) and the other with Andy Laats, Liz’s husband, who is family to me.

In both cases the truth of intimacy was revealed. If you let your broken bits show, you will find yourself in deeper, better, more satisfying conversations, and this can happen even now with the distances between us. For example, BJ and I were talking on zoom about the most beautiful death can possibly be — the last glorious song in the musical of a life— when I asked him if he had ever lost someone he didn’t think he could live without. After a moment or two of silence, he told me about his sister. It’s a story to hear for yourself. My point in mentioning it here is to remind us all that people are carrying things you cannot see and whether they are conscious of this or not, they are desperate to take them off their back, set them down before you and unpack them. …


Image for post
Image for post
Credit: Raúl Vázquez/EyeEm/Getty Images

It’s been nearly a month since Election Day and I’m still thinking about it — about how wrong the polls were, how close it was in so many states and counties and particularly, how many groups didn’t vote as expected. That’s the part I want to dig in to. Working with my Facebook friends, I collected dozens of statements to remind us, once and for all, to stop lumping people together based on a single variable.

Dear Cable News,

Seems like at least one lesson from the election of 2020 is: embrace the complexity. The time has come to stop talking about women and Latinos and non-college-educated whites and rural Americans as if every last person in any of those groups agree on every last thing. Stop talking about coastal elites and gun owners as if they are unified on every conceivable issue. …


Image for post
Image for post
Me, this morning, over coffee grounds.

I hate to admit this but the monster got the best of me today. Ask my husband, currently very busy in the office avoiding another run in about something utterly stupid like whether to put the coffee grinds in compost or down the disposal (adjudicated at 8:12am this morning); he will concur. Call it cabin fever (please) but pandemic or not, we all have uglier versions of ourselves and sometimes they bust out.

For those of you who just came to after an explosion, looking down as your ripped jeans and wondering how you lost control again, I am right here with you. …


Image for post
Image for post

When what we talk about has nothing to do with what we care about

My friend Wanda and I were in a deep conversation recently about self awareness and we stumbled into an uncomfortable realization (such discomfort, I suspect, is what keeps people from a regular, honest inventory of their behavior).

Before I confess, let me lay the groundwork.

When it comes to parenting our teenagers, Wanda and I both value kindness over achievement. We stay up to speed on the latest thinking and research on people-growing. We dip ourselves in the waters of wisdom from the long-gone like Aristotle and Jung to today’s parenting experts like Lisa Damour and Esther Wojcicki. …

About

kelly corrigan

New York Times bestselling author, host of new podcast: Kelly Corrigan Wonders and PBS show: Tell Me More with Kelly Corrigan

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store