My Ten

The New York Times has a column I enjoy called “My Ten.” Writers spotlight a celebrity, briefly sum up their latest project, and get into the meat of the conversation – what ten things do they swear by? Or what ten things excite them? Or what ten things can they not live without?

Well, I’m no celebrity, but I’ve been around for a while, so I thought I’d make my own list. Here goes nothing.

  1. Reading historical fiction – As many of you already know, I’m an avid reader. Most of the time, I’m reading what everyone else is reading, whether it is a bestseller, a juicy memoir, or a political thriller. But my favorite books are historical fiction. I love being engrossed in a different time period, a new culture, or a foreign country. I learn so much from the era a writer has researched thoroughly and find myself genuinely caring for the protagonist caught in the middle of something momentous and missing them when I finish the book.
  2. Late-night talk shows – The world is a messed up place, and I am concerned about my children’s future. Between ignoring climate change, accepting gun violence (and the resulting tragedies), and denying women the right to make their own decisions about their reproductive future, it’s downright scary. So, when I’m done being depressed by watching the news, I love to turn on Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Amber Ruffin, Leslie Jones, and so many others, and their brilliant writers, who deliver the right balance of humor, befuddlement, and wisdom that I need to hear on a nightly basis. They let me know it’s not just me who feels the way I do about the world around me.
  3. My back patio – Two years ago, we built a beautiful patio complete with an awning that has become an outdoor refuge from my crazy life. I love to take a glass of wine and a good book and sit on one of my comfy couches. It is also a wonderful space for entertaining our friends. Plenty of seating for everyone in a formation that allows us all to engage with each other in conversation. And when it gets dark outside, the awning has lights so we can sit out there all night.
  4. My friends – I didn’t have a ton of friends growing up. I keep in touch with a few people from high school and almost none from college. The friends I have now are all very different from each other, but together they bring me the most joy. And if possible, I think we should all move into a nursing home together when it is time so we can keep the party going for as long as possible.
  5. Networking – When I was looking for a new job, one of my favorite things was meeting new people. A lot of people don’t enjoy networking, but I love it. I am good at small talk and love to learn what people are passionate about and how I might be able to help. My last two positions came to me because of my business relationships. I know it isn’t for everyone, but I tell my college-age kids to give it a try. Doors will open, and endless possibilities await you.
  6. Fresh flowers – I ordered fresh flowers for my Passover seder, which are beautiful. I need to remember to buy them more often and not wait for a special occasion to treat myself. Give me some pretty tulips, gorgeous roses, or fun wildflowers, and my day is automatically brighter. Life is too short.
  7. Philadelphia –  I grew up in South Jersey. I moved across the Delaware River into the Philly suburbs, but this town has always been my home. While I sometimes think it would be nice to live someplace else for a while, this is the city I love. I love our sports teams and our fans (even though we get a little crazy). We have everything from colonial history to the Rocky Steps. The food scene has gotten so much better over the years. There are so many places I have yet to explore, and sometimes a staycation is all I need.
  8. Adulting in Disneyworld – We went on our first Disney vacation without our kids and had the time of our lives. The rides, the food, the festivals – it’s such a special place, and I can’t wait to plan our next trip.
  9. Power napping – Whenever I need to recharge during the workday and on the weekends, I will lie down on the couch for a 20-minute power nap. I always feel recharged afterward, and I never see it as being lazy. For me, it’s necessary self-care.
  10. Brunch – One of the things I aspire to do is try out different places for Sunday brunch. I’ve always been a morning person, and I love breakfast food. I will microwave a breakfast sandwich during the week and count that as breakfast, but what I crave is going somewhere with the perfect omelet, bagel with lox and whitefish, and a good cup of coffee. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

3 comments on My Ten

  1. Glenda Cates
    April 14, 2023 at 7:54 am (5 months ago)

    I enjoyed getting to know you and I like to take my book and beverage and sit outside on my porch my husband has helped me set up. This week I want to work on the upstairs balcony then I will begin on our back patio. Always something to do.

  2. Desi-Ann
    April 11, 2023 at 11:36 pm (5 months ago)

    Elisa, when I read this post, it reminded me of how much we should appreciate the finer things in life. You mentioned simple enjoyments such as your back patio and power napping. What others would give to have those and many others! Thanks for sharing your ten.

    • Elisa
      April 12, 2023 at 6:32 pm (5 months ago)

      AMEN! I am so grateful for what I have, and it keeps me grounded.

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