How two very different generations are teaching me the same lesson

Photo by Brian Wangenheim on Unsplash

Something struck me this past weekend as I moved my 25-year-old daughter into a New York City apartment — 800 square feet with a monthly rental rate higher than my mortgage payment.

At first glance, I panicked. I couldn’t help thinking the place was too small and wondering how she was ever going to fit all her stuff inside —let alone comfortably. On the contrary, my daughter didn’t seem worried at all. The excitement in her eyes must have blurred her vision.

But once the boxes were all put away, I came around to her side. It looked cute, cozy…

6 ways to shift your mindset and free your creativity

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Lately, I’ve been struggling to hit my goal of publishing one article per week here on Medium.

It was a New Year’s resolution I’d set to ring in 2021, designed to hold myself accountable and develop a more consistent writing practice. Five months in, and I was doing okay. But then June arrived and I found myself stuck. Fresh out of new ideas and wondering whether I’d be able to publish anything of merit this month.

I’m not sure why this happens, but I assume most writers face some sort of writer’s block along the way — probably more than…

A walk down memory lane with my favorite fruit

Photo by Se Nuno on Unsplash

In reacting to the Thank You Notes Week #8 prompt, I could have easily decided to focus on the obvious reasons watermelon is my favorite fruit. It’s the perfect summer treat. Deliciously sweet with a happy shade of pink and a unique texture that cools the inside of your mouth better than any popsicle. It’s low-calorie, too, so guilt-free food is always a plus.

But for me, the absolute best part about eating watermelon is that it evokes some pretty vivid memories from different times in my life, starting with my childhood.

The 1970s

My brother is three years younger than I…

Here’s how I finally managed to simplify my career efforts

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A “side hustle” is meant to be something extra. An added gig to bring you more money, maybe even more joy. But if you spread yourself too thin, you not only run the risk of jeopardizing the success of your full-time job, but your overall well-being can become compromised.

It’s like ordering at a restaurant. Too many appetizers and side dishes can give you indigestion. Keep it simple and order something that compliments the entrée.

My past attempts at moonlighting

I’ve tried my hand at several side hustles over the years.

  • When I was in my twenties, I tried to launch a “graphic design” business…

Surviving breast cancer involved everyone around me. This is what I learned in the process.

A woman with a breast cancer ribbon placed on her breast.
A woman with a breast cancer ribbon placed on her breast.
Image credit: Voyagerix.

It’s been almost five years since I heard those life-changing words, “You’ve got breast cancer.” As I get ready to turn the page on what’s been a long and emotional journey, here are some things I’ve learned along the way that might have been helpful to know sooner.

Most People Have No Idea What to Say

I admit, before my own diagnosis, I never knew what to say to people who were going through cancer treatment. I remember struggling with it. Wanting to express my thoughts and say something to offer comfort, but trying to settle on the right time or the right words.

Now that I’ve been…

Some random thoughts about life, love and overcoming adversity

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My childhood best friend lost her mom this morning. Stage 4 lung cancer. I don’t know whether or not she was a smoker, but at least three of her six kids were. It’s funny how you remember random tidbits about someone’s life who touched yours in a roundabout way, and how other details never register.

Her first name was Roseanne, but I never called her that of course.

She’s always been “Mrs. V.”

When Mrs. V’s daughter and I first met in the sixth grade, we thought it was cool that our birthdays were only a day apart. And when we figured out that we were born in the same hospital, we had…

Who just happens to be my daughter.

Photo by Author

I just started following a newer pub here on Medium called Thank You Notes. I love everything about it as its sole purpose is to express and share stories of appreciation for various things in our lives. The world needs more of that in today’s day and age.

I was excited to tackle their first writing prompt, “A Thank You Note to a Teacher.” I’ve had several teachers that have positively impacted my life, so initially, I figured the hard part would be narrowing it down.

Who Should I Write About?

  • Would it be my all-time favorite teacher from 3rd grade? One of the first…


And why being a parent is never easy

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

This post is an entry in Modern Parent’s “Am I Doing This Right?” writing contest.

It’s not easy picking one singular moment during the pandemic when I wondered “Am I doing this right?” The past year seems like one big blur — misstep after misstep trying to navigate unfamiliar warnings and protocols to try and stay safe from the dangerous coronavirus. The added responsibility of being a parent during this time made it even tougher. My actions not only affected me, but they also had an impact on my kids. …

And why I might have to start drinking more

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

In less than a week, my son will be coming home for the summer after completing his first year of college. He’s my youngest, so this isn’t my first time at the rodeo. While his freshman year was an experience entirely different than the ones his older sisters had — distinguished by regular COVID testing, quarantine dorms, remote-only classes, curfews, and limited opportunities for a social gathering — that first homecoming will undoubtedly be very similar.

Here’s what I remember from his sisters’ first summers home.

What I look forward to.

And what I dread.

I’ll be thrilled to see him.

I’ve barely seen my son…

IMHO — in my humble opinion

Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash

Three hours ago I got my second shot of the vaccine. Now I’m sitting on my couch, waiting to see whether I’ll have any adverse side effects. A number of my friends complained of headaches, the chills and high fevers after Dose #2. I’m nervous I might suffer the same consequences.

To pass the time, I’ve decided to compile a list of some of the more ridiculous measures taken to guard against the spread of COVID-19 this past year. I’m not making light of the seriousness of the coronavirus. Trust me, I’ve seen enough to understand how harmful this virus…

Susan Poole

Mother, lawyer, nonprofit executive, breast cancer survivor, and aspiring author. Recently left her day-job to write about topics that she’s passionate about.

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