Portrait of Jeffrey Rubin by his son-in-law, Jared Seff

When I was 13 years old, our family went on one of many vacations to the Outer Banks. I had just been diagnosed with anorexia and been put on a strict diet, thickly padded with protein shakes to help me gain weight, which of course, I did not follow. I pushed food around on my plate and then tossed it out when no one was looking. I took protein shakes to the beach where I dumped them into the sand. I might have gotten away with it, except that I kept meticulous notes about all of the food I wasn’t…


Photo by Iñaki del Olmo on Unsplash

I am a slow reader — annoyingly slow. Sure, according to this test, I can read about 294 words per minute, which is only slightly slower than the average adult (300 wpm). But I’ve found that this estimate — based on the time it took me to read and comprehend a 300-word passage — poorly reflects how long it takes me to read a full book. For example, I recently (finally) read Great Expectations, a book that contains an estimated 173,130 words, or 544 318-word pages. According to the above estimate, I should have been able to finish 55 pages…


Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

It’s unclear who originally said these words — they’ve been attributed to Confucius, Arthur Szathmary, Janet Lambert-Moore, Harvey Mackay, and others — but I think it’s safe to say this isn’t the first time you’ve read them.

I understand why the quote is so popular — there’s something hopeful about it. And if it was not so oft-quoted, if I did not think it influenced people’s decisions, I wouldn’t be writing this article. …


The Writing Lesson I’ve Never Stopped Having to Learn

Photo by Gareth Harper on Unsplash

My parents gave me a journal for my 7th birthday. It was thin, maybe 60 pages long, and purple. A matching purple pen was attached at the spine by a loop of stretchy, sparkling fabric. On the cover was a picture of a little girl, seated at a desk and writing in a journal. The first 10 pages or so told the story of how she’d arrived at that moment. She had received the journal from her parents on her 7th birthday. At first, she didn’t care for it, and the…


Photo by Cody Davis on Unsplash

A few years ago, I read an article in which the author explained why she unapologetically “look(s) down on young women with husbands and kids.” The article confused me then as an unmarried and childless 23-year-old, and it confuses me today as a married 28-year-old with two kids. But there is something about the article, an underlying assumption in the author’s argument, that has stuck with me all these years.

Referring to mothers, the author stated:

“They are the most common thing, ever, in the history of the world……You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be…


Photo by Nathan Lemon on Unsplash

Like many, I admire people who do good things for good reasons — people who are motivated by love of others rather than praise or attention or tax deductions. You know what I’m talking about: celebrities that volunteer at soup kitchens for the photo-op, companies that give to charity for the press rather than out of concern for the needy, etc… I spent my childhood judging people who dropped money into the collection basket at Church, quietly suspecting that they cared more about looking charitable than helping the poor, with the well-known bible verse was ringing in my ear:

“So…

Stephanie H. Murray

I write about things. StephanieHMurray.com

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