I recently finished college and a competitive, labor-intensive internship. I’m going to be starting a new job in a couple of weeks, but instead of feeling proud or relieved to have completed my studies, I feel nervous. Why does The End seem so ominous? — Patrick E.


Well, as the old adage goes, the end is the beginning of something else. It is the beginning of the unknown — that’s why it can be so scary. That’s why it can fill us with unease, but remember that we would get bored if life were predictable. We love the unknown in books, for example. We love movies that shock and awe, stories that end with a twist. We love poems whose endings make us hoot in delight:


Part II

Setting the V.C.R. when we go to bed to… More…


My escape plan was short and sweet:

1. Quit day job. 2. Sell eggs. 3. Go to India and Sri Lanka. 4. Change everything.

I knew my Asian father wouldn’t understand. He sees my life in the long run, wanting to make sure I’m not on the streets selling my vagina for meth in 20 years, because when you don’t have a 401K, that’s what happens.

Dad: “Whatever you do, don’t quit your job.”

Me: Hey, Dad — I quit my job. And I’m going to India and Sri Lanka.”

“No — traveling is not something you get out of your system.”

“Don’t worry. I have a plan.”

After graduating from Harvard, I crushed my father’s Americano-Chinaman dreams by working various social service jobs for $8.00 an hour, then volunteering with the Peace Corps, and finally, becoming… More…

I make a New Year’s resolution each year, even though it’s an arbitrary thing to do and I never succeed at making the change anyway. This year, I’m turning 30 and I really do want to make a change in my life (to quit my job). So if I say that’s my New Year’s resolution, am I setting myself up for failure since I have never been able to stick to a resolution before? Are New Year’s resolutions even worth it? I’m afraid screwing this up will make turning 30 traumatic and I’ll get depressed and my girlfriend won’t want to marry me.

— Mark Alexander

Please see my last take on New Year’s resolutions. If you fear that you’ll somehow do something to make turning 30 traumatic (and this is a recent experience for me), turning 30 will assuredly be traumatic (you’ll make up something if you have to)…. More…