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Friday roundup: Back in business edition

Posted by Robin Abrahams  August 2, 2013 08:26 PM

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I'm back. 

Apologies for not keeping in better touch are tiresome, no less from a public blogger than from a personal friend. Unfortunately, those same tiresome excuses for not having written are themselves usually the things you would have written about, had you had the time and energy, so if you don't trot them out, you might not have much else to say. 

The main sappers of my time and energy over the past few months have been my mother's move into an assisted-living facility, and then very quickly into the skilled-nursing wing of that same facility, and all of the logistical and financial and emotional issues that these transitions bring in their wake, along with a kind of crisis of faith. 

Things seem very, very broken right now, in the world in general and the United States in particular. I'm not even going to bother listing the many things that depress me in the present and terrify me for the future, to avoid getting sidelined with a debate about this or that specific issue. Perhaps every generation feels like the world is going mad around them, but some generations have more reason than others. A few truly unlucky ones are even proven right. 

And I wonder if I'm not part of the problem, part of the great mechanism of distraction and entertainment, earnestly and wittily empowering others to arrange the deck chairs most effectively on the Titanic. I wonder that a lot

And then I think: What else am I going to do? 

I turned 46 last month. For 30 years, for more, I've worked hard and consciously to achieve the kind of life I now enjoy. A good marriage to a man whose career is a mission. A PhD. A career in higher education and popular writing. A book- and art-filled home in a book- and art-filled city. Climbing that ladder to The Good Life only to see it pulled up behind me, and so many Americans left out. Knowing, too, that however good I've got it right now, anyone in the middle class can lose it all, almost overnight. 

So what else am I going to do? This is my life, these are my relationships, jobs, skills. 

I need to get back to it, to them. 

Which is why I use the term "crisis of faith," because faith is, more than anything, the ability to go work your garden every day, even if it can't feed the world. The ability to live despite knowing that nothing you do will ever be enough, and that whatever you do will have to be enough. 

So. I'm back. 

Tune in next week for a return to normal programming.
This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at

Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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