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You May Want to Marry My Husband (nytimes.com)
586 points by dankohn1 on March 3, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 212 comments

Even when you try to live for today, things can broadside you.

Last year, my wife, age 36, went from the healthiest person I knew to dead in four months from aggressive pancreatic cancer.


These things happen and underscore the frailty in thinking that the present continues on unchecked and is bound by some sort of rule of inertia.

Don't wait; do the things you want to do today.

So sorry to hear that. My sister at 15 died of a brain tumor and my son at 12 died of bone cancer. These things are devastating but I appreciate life so much more. Every day is a gift and faith means so much more each and every day.

This happened to me too, a few years ago, at age 37. It's a nasty, nasty time to live through. I wish you the best, and hope you have some good, supportive people around you.

I'm very sorry. I hope you are coping as best you can. Good advice, though.

I might add (as I'm going through it right now for the first time at 44 with my hetero domestic partner) to consider writing a last will and testament. Some lawyers' fees attached to it, but a sound thing to have as a contingency. It also forces you to think about your values.

There are several legal documents that it might be wise to create in addition to a will. My sister (an ICU nurse), has been agitating recently for us to think about creating some kind of "advanced healthcare directive"[1] as she sees many cases where lack of this is problematic. My mother (retired, getting older) also wishes to set up an "enduring power of attorney"[2] as another relative had a fair amount of trouble last year due to not having something like this in place before the time of need.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance_healthcare_directive

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enduring_power_of_attorney

Wow. So sorry to hear. 'baldfat' and 'stevoski' too.

> Don't wait; do the things you want to do today.

Terrible general advice, especially for someone younger. The key to life is balance not just one or the other.

Well, true; it's hard to generalize. But some examples of not putting off things include travel to exotic locales, living overseas, starting a business, or spending extra time with a family member. If the only real thing holding you back is taking the step of actually doing it (which oftentimes is the hardest part), get over that and just pull the trigger. Better than to regret forever that you had the chance and passed it by.

Oh boy. I am very sorry to hear it.

Just yesterday my fiancee told me about her day:

A relatively healthy looking (and his chart agreed) 41 year old guy walked into the clinic with a severe headache around 10am. By around 4pm she had to tell his family he was likely brain dead.

Because of this and other things she's seen recently, we're planning more trips. See the Seven Wonders of the World.

I've only left this timezone a few times before. And we've both spent the first ~30 years of our lives in school... rethinking how much weight we've been putting on things.

In 2013, I nearly died from getting hit by a car. I was 28.

In 2014, a friend died in a car crash, a victim of a drunk reckless driver. He was 27.

In 2017, my college roommate died in a lake accident. He left behind a wife and 6 adopted children from Africa (he was a man of God). He was 32.

As others have noted, life is often long and investing in our future financial wellbeing is a prerogative. But sometimes life gets cut shockingly short. Take some withdrawls from the fruits of your hard work with those you love from time to time; don't save all of it for a future that sadly might not come for some of us.

I think this is a hard balance for a lot of people. It certainly is for me.

If I really think about it, all I have is this moment, right now. The past is just an idea arising in my mind in this moment, and so is the future. Yet, the future I want often depends on making sacrifices in the moment. Clearly, saving all my money and never doing anything fun isn't the answer, and neither is being high on drugs 24/7. The answer to 'living the good life' must be somewhere in the middle, but where exactly? The balance of 'actual experience' (e.g. sitting on a beach getting wasted) vs 'remembered experience' (e.g. hitting up museums and experiencing culture) seems hard to navigate. I feel like I can't really trust my feeling/intuition here, because my brain is bad at correctly predicting what will actually make me happy. There needs to be some principle I can defer to, but I don't know what that would be.

I'm curious how other people navigate these murky waters.

For me my children are everything. They will be the only ones (hopefully) living in about 60 years remembering me. Spending time with them while having a good time seems like a good investment. Making them good people with lots of love to give to others is my life goal. Giving love and knowledge to others is my second.

I've always thought of it this way (since my 20s or so): 1. If I died today, would I have any regrets? 2. If I live to be 100+, would I be a burden on society?

I make decisions with the goal of being able to answer no to both of those questions. I'm in my mid 40s. I don't always get it right, but I feel the thought exercise is very helpful.

I don't think it's a good idea not to have regrets. Maybe your definition of regret is different than mine. I value my regrets tremendously. One cannot learn and grow without making mistakes, and there's no reason, as far as I can tell, to suspect that regrets aren't a zero sum game. If you do thing A, then you've lost the time/money/opportunity to do thing B.

I consider a "regret" something that I would actively go back in time to change. As of now (25), I would say I have none.

Now, that doesn't mean I haven't experienced mistakes, learned from them, and grown as a person. It's just by the time the latter two happen, I no longer would want to go back in time to change what had originally happened because it's defined me so integrally as a person.

A great example for me is high school, which objectively sucked. At the time, I had a million regrets but over the years, I learned a lot from them and turned parts of my life 180 degrees around in university based on the things I learned in high school. When someone asks me if I would go back and change anything from high school, my reply has been a flat "no" for a few years now.

I look at it quite simlarly, and I'm 38. It isn't that I don't wish I had done things differently, it is that I did the best I could at the time. I learned things I wouldn't have learned otherwise. Some of this is things like dealing with my ex, after a suicide attempt and major mental health diagnosis.

But alternatively, I fully like my life. Had I taken a different path, I might not have this life. (I might be happy with whatever I wound up with, but I'm happy I'm where I am).

> But alternatively, I fully like my life. Had I taken a different path, I might not have this life.

This is exactly what it is. I'm sure that, had things gone differently, it would have all worked out in the end, but life is all about happenstances. If a certain chain of events hadn't happened, I wouldn't have met some of my best friends, or gotten the jobs I've gotten, and I value what I have today tremendously.

This is a great comment and shouldn't be downvoted.

Great point.

I always remind myself of an LCD Soundsystem lyric every now and then: "I wouldn't trade one stupid decision for another five years of life"

My friends die a couple at a time each year so it's a constant reminder of things. The worst part is, I was trying to write out a list like yours, and I just can't remember everyone that already died.

It depends how old you are. If you're 25, that's a horror show. If you're 85, it's pretty normal.

By a certain age, most of the people you have known or even met will already be dead. Calculating that age is left as an exercise for the reader....

> If you're 85, it's pretty normal.

It's a horrifying tragedy no matter how old you are.

Don't ever let it become "normal". It's a problem we'll fix someday. Do what you can to make "someday" come sooner rather than later.

Why do you think that immortality is not just desirable but also inevitable?

Death is part of life. The older you get, the more people whom you have met are dead. I don't think that viewing it as a horrifying tragedy is particularly healthy.

> Why do you think that immortality is not just desirable but also inevitable?

Regarding "inevitable": There's a huge amount of uncertainty about when we'll manage to cure mortality: many people alive today would hope that it'll happen during their lifetimes, but I honestly don't know if it'll happen 20, 50, 100, 150, or 300 years from now. But I would argue that there's far less uncertainty about if we'll manage it, and I don't see any reasonable support for the idea of the problem being entirely and eternally intractable. Assuming humanity itself manages to survive, it'd be shocking if thousands of years from now we hadn't fixed it.

There's no obvious reason why any particular problem of biology would be somehow completely intractable, to the point that no amount of time could ever produce a solution. There's no obvious reason to believe that there's an unbounded set of such problems. And there's no obvious reason to believe, as a matter of physics, that it's somehow impossible to run a human mind on anything other than fragile biology, given enough computing power.

Regarding "desirable": for exactly the same reason we seek cures for every other affliction that plagues humanity. Do you consider cancer a good thing? Heart attacks? Strokes? Alzheimer's and other degenerative diseases? Would any reasonable person look at one of those and say "that's fine, let's keep it, we should force people to keep experiencing that"? The general consensus seems to be that we should fix all of those. So what reasonable person would look at the whole set of all possible causes and say "at least one of those should keep existing, people should keep dying"?

Minds are incredibly precious, and it's always a tragedy to have one less, no matter how many more we have.

> I don't think that viewing it as a horrifying tragedy is particularly healthy.

If one of your foremost goals is to fix it, accepting it is counterproductive.

I agree with everything you've written, but from a personal mental health perspective, it makes sense for most of the population to accept it. That is, until it's certain to be fixed in their lifetime.

That's a self-defeating proposition; the more people accept it, the less likely it is to get fixed within their lifetime. The more people object to it (and do something about that), and the more broad cultural acceptance exists for a solution, the more likely it is to get fixed. Imagine a world where all the memes, mindsets, and casual empty aphorisms about death didn't exist; how much more urgently might people treat the problem in that world?

That said, it's also the kind of concept that needs some amount of introduction and background, to avoid "future shock".

To quote Kate Tempest, "We die so that others can be born, we age so that others can be young."

That which is natural is not necessarily good.

It also seems like special pleading to suggest that it's a tragedy a young person to die but not an old person. Just because we're desensitised to it doesn't make it ok.


As Tech folks, honestly, we should just save up FU money and then stop worrying.

This sounds like the opposite of what was suggested? You might die the day you have saved up that money.

How about stop worrying now and save up slightly more slowly?

What's FU money to you? It can reasonably be anywhere between $200k~$20M.

25x your annual expenses, after you've paid off your major debts such as mortgage and student loans. For me, $500,000 will do the trick, since I don't intend to stop working when I hit FU money, just switch to lower paid jobs that are less reliable and more fun. I'll get there when I'm 45 or so, according to the current plan (which involves frequent long overseas vacations and buying fast motorcycles in the meantime).

If you drive the fast motorcycles as well as buy them, you may not get there. Be careful out there!

"The average Canadian motorcyclist is in 13.5 times more danger than a car driver" https://fortnine.ca/en/how-dangerous-are-motorcycles/

That might work for your life plans, but someone else might have a strong desire to be married, have multiple children, perhaps care for their elderly parents, etc. The manner in which they want to provide may also vary.

So I don't think it's as simple as "get FU money then stop" because you really do need to think hard about what you hope to earn in your life, to what end, and how it trades off with other great things in your life.

No, you're quite right. FU money in 18 year is what will happen if nothing else changes in my life - and it's a better outcome than the unplanned alternative, which is chained to a job and broke in 18 years. But there are lots of other alternatives. I hope to get married and have a family, and my partner will probably contribute as much as I do or more to our shared savings. We might come up with some new goals together. But whenever I meet that person, I hope to bring more than debt to the relationship.

3+ years worth of expenses so you don't need to worry short of some massive disaster that leaves you unemployable.

Assuming you are reasonably disciplined you can do that pretty quickly.

It can be $50k in India and other developing countries.

> It can be $50k in India

Errm...no. Using the 4% rule, that works out to living on $2k/yr. It's not going to be a comfortable life and definitely not in any of the larger cities or towns. Which is where you'd want to be if you want to have a "modern" lifestyle, with healthcare, reliable electricity, internet, running water etc.

In a city like Mumbai (admittedly, the most expensive in India probably), $12k/yr (post-tax) will just about get you into a Western-comparable lifestyle; decent-size rented apartment, access to cultural events and social life, public transit + taxis/auto-rickshaws, decent healthcare, healthy food + eat out once in a while, some domestic help etc (keep in mind I'm not including savings in this, so a local person who's still working has to earn a lot more or spend a lot less, in order to be able to save). Using the 4% rule that translates to $300k. Also keep in mind inflation in India overall is also much higher than in most Western countries. It's been in the 5-7% range for many years.

I've only spent a couple months in India as a tourist, but if I was to move there I would actually not prefer one of the mega cities like Delhi or Mumbai just because of how polluted they are (among other issues such as crime).

Some of the nicer himalaya hill stations seem like a better idea for a retirement destination.

> but if I was to move there I would actually not prefer one of the mega cities like Delhi or Mumbai just because of how polluted they are

I feel you. I grew up in Mumbai but I don't live there at present. The pollution seems to be worse every time I visit; I think it'll get worse before it gets better. Violent crime isn't that much of a problem in Mumbai in my experience (I've heard Delhi is pretty bad).

> Some of the nicer himalaya hill stations seem like a better idea for a retirement destination.

Can't say I haven't considered that also. Though a lot of them (eg. Manali) are horrible tourist traps. I guess it might work if you can build up a social circle there and you prefer outdoor activities (hiking, climbing, rafting) over city attractions (art, theater, restaurants and bars). And the Internet is going to be very slow. And every time you want to travel it's going to be an 8+ hour train or bus ride to the nearest major city airport. And even then $2k/yr is not going to be enough (unless you live like some of the poorer than median locals). So it's really not for everyone.

If you could see yourself retiring to a remote part of say Wyoming or Montana (comparing just the relative isolation), then you might have the right personality to make a success of it.

Only difference being that remote parts of Wyoming or Montana are a lot more remote than most himalaya hill stations. There is literally nowhere in India that's as far removed from other people as remote parts of the US or Canada.

Sure... until you want good medical care, or want to watch a play or that latest Oscar winning "art" movie... or even moderately interesting work at which point one of the mega cities is your only option.

Well if we're talking about retirment you don't need to find work. What you say is otherwise true but for me the only real argument is medical care, and if it's not an emergency you can still travel a couple hours to the nearest major city[1] to get the rare treatment.

If you're not retired or working remotely I would never suggest living in India or anywhere in the third world for that matter - making money is so much easier in the west.

[1] random example: https://www.google.de/maps/dir/Shimla,+Himachal+Pradesh,+Ind... almost every Indian town will have a major city within a couple hours' distance, the country is very densly populated.

You don't get FU money by "saving up".

Well, no, you don't get FU money at 30 by saving up. 40s to 50s? Possible if you are frugal and responsible with money.

(Or retire at 30, start a blog about retiring early on a rather small amount of money, then pull in 400K+ a year in ad revenue. =) )

How does an average (non start up, non stock Rsu, person get FU only without saving up?

https://www.bogleheads.org/ and you absolutely have to save up. If you don't want to save, play the lottery / be born into a fortune / build a time machine and work at Apple right before the iPod. What did you expect?

You don't, that's the point.

You certainly can.

> And we've both spent the first ~30 years of our lives in school

I... oh boy. My advice and opinion (feel free to disagree!) is not to do this. Life is too short to spend 1/3 (or 1/2, or all of it if you die too soon) in school.

I loved school while I was there. So I didn't feel like attending was missing out on other things.

Now the opportunity cost is sufficiently high that I'd rather do other things, but still. No regrets for me for my years of post-graduate education.

My years in grad school were some of my happiest years. I would go back again if it didn't mean forgoing the ability to ever retire.

Depends on what you want to do if you had enough time and money to do anything. Imwould spend time learning and discovering things.

I was so happy in grad school. Got my first real paying job when i was almost 30. It worked out well for me. I was damn slow to finish that damn diss, but now I'm on top of the world. :-) Everyone has a different path in life.

That's quite scary. Can I ask what the patient's condition was?

"To suspect your own mortality is to know the beginning of terror; to learn irrefutably that you are mortal is to know the end of terror." (Children of Dune)

But if you make your peace with your own mortality at a relatively young age, it doesn't go over well to be too share-y about that with other people who haven't yet done the same. It doesn't convince them you are wise. It just apparently makes you scary as all hell. Or something.

"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12)

I'm not posting under my normal account as would prefer not to publicly disclose this to everyone.

There is no right answer as to whether we should save for the future or spend every thing we want to do now and say fuck it since tomorrow may not come.

I do believe it would serve well to try and strike a balance if possible.

Forever I was only a penny pinching saver and thought everything could wait until I was able to retire (hopefully early).

Then at age 29 I went in to see a doctor after I started to get extremely sick. I was a health/gym nut, but over the course of a year I had zero energy and couldn't recover from workouts. I started having blurred vision, shooting pains, seizures, vertigo, random falls, blacked out a couple of times, dropped about 30 pounds, and most of my hair fell out.

After seeing quite a few doctors they found I had a developed multiple auto immune disorders, one of which attacks the pathways in the brain.

When I was diagnosed several neurologists came and spoke with me and explained they could treat the symptoms, but that was it. The prognosis was and still is, they don't know. The illness is remitting relapsing so I will get so bad I'm that I honestly want to just die so that my pain can stop. Then six months later I'll feel almost normal and wonder how long it will last.

The doctors say if I survive it long enough I will eventually be in a wheelchair or housebound. Maybe though my lungs will just stop working long enough that I suffocate.

The week before last I was back at the gym working out like nothing is wrong, then last weekend I collapsed in my driveway. Seizures are back and my wife wants me to get a cain or something to help prevent falls as this one about landed me back in the ER.

You sound like a great human being. I wish you the best.

I hope that you feel better soon.

Attempt to solve your illness yourself. Use available resources. Create the disease in the books if it's not already done.

Unless you're a millionaire ready to sponsor big multiple labs, you are really out of luck. That is the hard truth. Unless you're lucky and someone happens to figure out and fund it.

Using most of the personal energy and time might not really be advisable.

This about sums up my situation. I saw one of the top neuro muscular specialists in the world and she flat out said to me, "Nobody wants to hear this, but I have to be honest with you. There is no cure and there isn't much hope for one. Since this is such a rare condition there is no money in trying to find a cure. All we can do is treat your symptoms and try to help with pain management. Beyond that just hope it progresses slowly."

And to make it even more difficult - there's stuff out there that could save you but isn't approved so you can't even make a calculated risk when you have little or no options.

Curiously this has come at a weird time for me. I didn't think much of healthcare. I just turned 27, and like most twenty-somethings I have this idea that I'm immortal (not literally, but you get the idea). Lately though I've been dealing with a great deal of stress and anxiety related to my job, stress combined with the sickening feeling of doing something that in the long-term just feels so pointless. Coincidentally the internet seems to be preoccupied with cancer and death as of late, or maybe it could just be me. Prior to reading this earlier I found this arresting article regarding colon cancer rates rising in people my age.


It has made me thought about my own mortality, but that only occupies half my thoughts. The other half are preoccupied with this sickening reality that our 21st century technology really isn't all that great.

Sure, we are getting better at beating cancer. Immunotherapy seems especially promising. On the other hand though, it's almost maddening how many people develop a mild pain and find out it's late stage cancer after a doctor's appointment. Had they ignored said mild pain it could've progressed to the point where they're terminally ill.

Facebook can probably build an elaborate psychological profile based on my online habits. It knows my mind. How strange that we can't hope to know our own bodies so well.

> On the other hand though, it's almost maddening how many people develop a mild pain and find out it's late stage cancer after a doctor's appointment.

And in the past we wouldn't have been able to diagnose it or treat it. Medicine gets better, but slowly.

> Coincidentally the internet seems to be preoccupied with cancer and death as of late, or maybe it could just be me. Prior to reading this earlier I found this arresting article regarding colon cancer rates rising in people my age.

The obsession is probably because cancer is one of the few disease things that actually kills people in the 30-50 cohort.

As for the increase, the decrease in healthcare coverage in that group probably didn't help. You won't go to the doctor for non-specific gastrointestinal distress if you don't have healthcare. If you have healthcare, you're probably getting an ultrasound immediately which will catch tumors and growths.

I might also point out the increasing normalization of anal sex among heterosexual individuals is likely to play a part in the colon cancer increase. Throat cancers also increased and that seems to be linked to more oral sex.

I'm 37 and just had a giant colon polyp removed a couple months ago. The gastroenterologists seemed kind of surprised that it (thankfully) wasn't cancerous, just a nasty looking tubulovillous adenoma. If they hadn't removed it it would probably have been a carcinoma pretty soon. So, a thing that could have totally killed me in a couple years if I hadn't done anything didn't, and I only knew that anything was amiss because it was bleeding a little bit.

(Moral of the story is go to the doctor if you notice something like that. Most of the time, it'll just be a hemorrhoid or something; if it's not, that's probably the only warning you're going to get.)

This has made me more aware of my own mortality than I care to be, even though it was successfully dealt with. I too would love if cancer-fighting technology were more advanced, or if we could just edit those genes that put some of us at higher out of our genomes.

I often reflect on the fact that everything is temporary. The people in my life, my abilities, my opinions and attitudes...

I learned this sharply throughout my twenties, and it lead me into a deep dive into Buddhism.

The past is gone, the future is a figment of my imagination. My interpretation of what's happening now is up for debate... Nothing I rely on, or want to rely on, is stable and dependable. All is subject to change, the good and the bad.

You have to find your anchor point or stability in the present moment. If you pay attention, you'll see that that is all there is, really. And it comes and goes, always, fleeting.

Buddhist monks have to reflect on the '5 Remembrances' every morning. It might do us all good to do so too.


This is the sort of thing that reminds me there is life outside work, and that we should spend a lot more time enjoying the people we are supposed to be spending it with.

(Commuting home, so the time spent online and tapping this out is not misplaced.)

At the same time, it is a remarkably poignant and romantic way for her to both affirm her love and reinstate my faith in mankind.

My heart goes out to her and her family.

ALWAYS put life/family/friends/experiences before work. The old adage that no one on their death bed ever wishes they worked more, is 100% true.

> The old adage that no one on their death bed ever wishes they worked more, is 100% true.


I'm reminded of a friend who related to me, "I just don't want to be old and poor." (As a doctor theyve likely seen many instances of the difficulties one faces in this situation)

I wonder that as well. I bet Elon Musk will regret not working more. 'If only I had worked a little harder, I could have accomplished more.' Likewise Nikola Tesla, Isaac Newton, Archimedes - I think they all languish how little time they had to work.

Actually, I read somewhere that Nikola Tesla actually lamented later in life that he didn't put any effort into dating. Tesla was very devoted to his work, but he wasn't a complete hermit like Isaac Newton; he was also a bit of a showman, doing elaborate public demonstrations with electricity.

Well, seeing as he was a virgin when he died, I can definitely understand why he might have regretted his decision a bit. [0]

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikola_Tesla#Relationships

86 years without having sex, damn. Talk about missing out on one of life's great pleasures.

he probably didn't go 86 years without sex, he just might not have had sex with another person.

That's not how you use languish.

Or dudes like my former manager, who would regularly take work with him on vacation, unpaid, not in a crunch or anything.

Maybe, just maybe, he's getting bored out of his skull on vacation and his work provides him with at least intellectual stimulation, unlike, say, long walks on the beach, gazing the sunset or whatever "things that matter" people supposedly wish for on their death bed.


But a lot of people in their 40's say they should've spent more time building a stronger career when they realize they're fucked because they're stuck in a job they hate for the next 30 years.

I'm well past 40, and not poor, but not rich. My time and attention has increasingly shifted from work to family since my late 30's. We've downsized our lifestyle to solve things more often than we've tried to find more income.

Would you have been able to say the same if that focus started shifting in your late teens?

The advice to work hard is aimed at 20 somethings. As you age, your focus should shift. That's the part we often seem to forget.

My mum always said kids were her priority and that she focused on us and so on. As a result 3 of us lived in a tiny 2-bedroom apartment, she missed many promotions and was basically trapped in a just-above-foodstamps situation until I moved out.

Her dream of publishing poetry and art in general never even had a chance to get started. 2 jobs, no time. Now she's in her 50's and has both more time and disposable income with me and my sister out of the picture. But the spark for poetry and art is gone, she didn't nurture it.

Me, I don't want to repeat that.

Having kids, and following any passions in your young adult life, are mutually exclusive goals. You can't have both, unless maybe you're independently wealthy and even then the marriage and kids will constrain your time a lot.

Our biological condition where we need to have kids in our 20s or at the latest 30s is simply incompatible with our other goals in modern society: building a prosperous career for a good nest egg, doing great work (science, research, art, etc.), working your way out of the lower classes into higher classes, etc. There just isn't enough time for it all. So as a result, we're seeing only really well-off people and really poor people having kids. The well-off people can afford nannies, while the poor people live on welfare and food stamps or have crappy jobs and struggle like you experienced. The poor breed more poor people who end up being a drain on society, plus a few who manage to break out of it, but then grow up scarred by the experience and don't have any kids themselves. This isn't a recipe for a healthy, stable society.

What we really need to do is figure out how to greatly increase human lifespans so that people can wait until they're 50-100 before they have kids (and feel youthful enough at that age to do so).

It seems this is something people without kids tell themselves to justify not having kids, which is fine, we don't need more people, but I had kids young when I was in college and they have been with me as I have progressed my career up. These kind of things are influenced by where you live of course, but if you are developer and aren't living in the Bay area only one of the parents needs to work so that helps. I suppose I don't do "great work" but neither do most of the childless people I know, they just eat out more.

> only one of the parents needs to work so that helps.

Yeah, it helps a ton if you have a spouse/partner without or willing to give up career goals. That fact is in support of Arizhel's claim. Someone opted out of career success completely in your scenario.

Yeah, and this is an incredibly dangerous thing to do too, for both partners really. For the woman, she's basically giving up any hope of having a real career, ever, and consigning herself to being nothing more than a "housewife" for her best adult years. She'll never have a serious career after that. Worse, she's making herself entirely financially dependent on the man. What happens when the marriage falls apart, as it does in 50% of marriages? Now she's got no income, no skills, and the best she can hope for is to really fuck over the ex-husband with child support and alimony. Even with that, it's not going to be that easy to live, and she'll have a lower standard of living than before. The same goes for the husband; with a wife that doesn't work, he's likely going to do very badly in divorce court, and lose a large chunk of his income to monthly payments to her. The whole setup is fraught with peril.

Finally, what kind of woman has no career goals? Usually one with little or no education. Educated men usually aren't interested in such women, unless they're both highly conservative and religious.

> Yeah, and this is an incredibly dangerous thing to do too, for both partners really. For the woman, she's basically giving up any hope of having a real career, ever, and consigning herself to being nothing more than a "housewife" for her best adult years. She'll never have a serious career after that. Worse, she's making herself entirely financially dependent on the man.

Absolutely true, but also absolutely the traditional and current norm.

> The whole setup is fraught with peril.

Yup, but that's why it's a commitment, it's risky for both parties but hugely beneficial if it works.

> Finally, what kind of woman has no career goals? Usually one with little or no education. Educated men usually aren't interested in such women, unless they're both highly conservative and religious.

Well about half the population is conservative, and about 80% of the population is religious, so that means the majority of men are interested in such women. This is hardly surprising as housewife is actually traditionally the norm, the notion of educated women earning money is rather new historically and isn't something society has really fully accepted yet.

> Absolutely true, but also absolutely the traditional and current norm.

Traditional? Yes. Current? No.


In 2009, 59 percent of working-age women in the United States were in the labor force.

Well over half of working-age women are employed. That means the percentage of women who would qualify as stay at home moms is less than 41%. Likely well under, between 23 an 29 from a quick look.


> Traditional? Yes. Current? No.

You're mixing two different statements. Look at what I said was current norm, being dependent when married and trying to have kids.

So your stats don't disprove anything I said.

> Well over half of working-age women are employed. That means the percentage of women who would qualify as stay at home moms is less than 41%. Likely well under, between 23 an 29 from a quick look.

Not relevant to what I said, at all. I didn't say the majority of women are stay at home moms, I said they're financially dependent on their husbands. You can be a working women and still be uneducated and financially dependent. These are not mutually exclusive things.

I don't see what I'm mixing up. You said that the current norm is a woman "basically giving up any hope of having a real career, ever, and consigning herself to being nothing more than a "housewife" for her best adult years. She'll never have a serious career after that. Worse, she's making herself entirely financially dependent on the man." (Yes, these are not your words, but they're the words that you quoted when you said it was "absolutely" the current norm.)

If by "norm" you mean this still happens a lot, sure, but that's not what's actually the norm. The norm is to be part of the labor force.

Being part of the labor force doesn't stop one from being basically a housewife. A job isn't equal to a career. He's talking about educated women with real careers. You're talking about jobs, we're talking about careers. If you can find labor force statistics that break out low skilled jobs from careers requiring degrees, then you have something to add if that's still over 50%, I highly doubt it is.

And my point is largely, women's equality has a long way to go; it's really not the norm yet.

Ok, you went back and edited your comment to add more detail about what you meant. Yes, you can be a wife who's financially dependent on your husband but still hold a job. It could also happen in reverse, of course.

For the record, I'm not sure how common that actually is vs stay-at-home mom. If you have kids, it becomes glaringly obvious how expensive it is to put kids into daycare. For low-earning mothers with a better-earning husband, it can be really hard to justify working vs staying home to raise the kids. It costs more than minimum wage to put a single kid into daycare.

If you have some stats indicating that most women earn so little as to be financially dependent on their husbands, I'd like to see it.

You act like I'm attacking women, I'm not. Most married couples with kids are financially dependent on each other; single income families are no longer the norm either. I don't think it's a stretch to say that within most marriages, moms still dominate the child care side of the marriage and work when they can while dads still dominate the working full time side. And I've already stipulated that most married couples with kids are financially dependent on each other, so it's not just women. I don't have any data to show you, if you think I'm wrong so be it, I really don't care, but this is what I see all around me and the stats you posted I think basically back me up since it's barely over half counting all jobs and I'm only counting real careers that require education since we were discussing that, not just employment.

You seem to really want to make the point that more than half of women work; ok great, but it's a non-sequitur, we weren't talking about jobs, but educated women with careers and more to the point about how many men care about being with educated women with careers. The OP said who but religious and conservative men want an uneducated women, but religious and conservative men account for the majority of men so it's an odd thing to say.

I'm not saying you're attacking women. I don't think I said anything even remotely close to that. I'm responding to your claims about the prevalence of women dependent on their husbands for financial support.

Bluntly, I think you made a claim you realize is incorrect and you're trying to walk it back to something noncontroversial. The whole thread from imesh down was about women staying at home with the kids so their husbands could have high-earning careers. Arizhel commented that this was a dangerous arrangement and you stated that this was the current norm. After I disputed your claim, you walked it back to just being "financially dependent on their husbands". Now you've walked it back further to couples being mutually dependent.

From high-earning husbands with stay-at-homes wives to couples that can't make ends meet without two incomes. These are vastly different topics and if you were really intending to jump from one to the other, it seems odd to accuse me of dropping a non-sequitur for bringing in some data.

I also think your notions of womens' employment are antiquated. You seem to think that women don't have "real careers that require education" and they "work when they can", but women:

* have 43% of their population working full time (for comparison, 56% of men work full time)

* earn more degrees than men

* are 47% of the workforce

* have lower unemployment than men

* hold 51.5% of professional and management jobs (aka careers)



No, I'm not trying to walk anything back, I stand by what I said, and bluntly you seem to have gotten your feelings hurt and can't let it go even thought the thing you're going on about was tangential to the point I was making to him which was about how many men might be interested in such women. Guest what, if only 40% of people do something, that still qualifies as "normal", I know, it's shocking, but normal is a different word than "majority". Find a dictionary, I promise, it's true, something can be normal without it being what most people do. Women being dependent on their husbands for income is still quite normal. So please take your hurt feelings elsewhere and stop hijacking a threat that wasn't even about that.

I'll happily admit that the 51% number is slightly higher than I expected, hooray, you're made an irrelevant off topic point completely unrelated to why I responded to him in the first place. Do you feel better now? You can return to your safe space and look for the next post where there's one word you disagree with and high-jack another thread to rage on about something completely off topic to the thread.

My feelings are hurt? About what, and how would that even be relevant if it were true? I "high-jacked" the thread that I was part of before you even showed up? Come on. This is you desperately trying to criticize me personally because you cannot defend your own claims.

Your 40% stat is made up and you're trying to assert it as a fact and argue semantics instead. No. You don't get to descend into pedantry about the definition of "normal" when your underlying premise is based on imaginary data.

You're also making a false equivalency between what many men (supposedly) want and what actually happens. Even if 40% of men want stay-at-home wives, that doesn't mean stay-at-home wives (or financially dependent wives, or whatever your current slightly-changed claim is) are the norm. I bet far greater than 40% of men want to win the lottery and yet winning the lottery is decidedly not the norm.

I know, you're going to come in and say this is still not your point. I don't think you actually know what your point is. You've made claims ranging from most men wanting stay-at-home wives to "the majority of women" being "financially dependent on their husbands". You've stated that in "most marriages" wives don't have careers and just "work when they can" and you've claimed that "religious and conservative men account for the majority of men". My point is you have a bunch of preconceived ideas that are not based on fact and in many cases are provably wrong.

Ok buddy, whatever you need to tell yourself.

I am very very happy that I do not live somewhere where housewife is the norm. I think that you are right about there being a lot of sexism still.

>... consigning herself to being nothing more than a "housewife" for her best adult years.

>Finally, what kind of woman has no career goals? Usually one with little or no education. Educated men usually aren't interested in such women, unless they're both highly conservative and religious.

Holy cow this is the most judgemental attitude I've heard in a long time. You make being interested in raising a family full time sound like a relic of some ignorant past. Yeah it's a career killer, but the rest of that is just being disrespectful. It's not about having no career goals, it's about prioritizing other things above them.

You call it disrespectful, I call it honest. Even in the past when staying at home was normal, people did not respected those women and looked down on them. Pretending otherwise is just lie.

I do not know whether the author of the comment is women or men, but described reality of it quite accurately - including what the women goes through and thinks about herself as she has to give up everything except the family. It is also incredibly lonely, you can hang around friends if they made similar choice, but just hanging around chatting is not satisfying for most people.

It is not just about prioritizing other things then career - plenty of working parents including fathers do that. It is giving up chance to be competitive in pretty much anything and giving up chance for any personal achievement. All those experiences that goes with having meaningful job, successes, failures, feeling like you are getting better, felling like you do something not everyone can do, all that things that gives people confidence are out. Just about the only possible achievement is when your kids are successful, but it is better for them if you don't live your live through them. You have to have special kind of personality to like that and only some women are like that.

As to education: staying home is more attractive proposition for women without education, because low education jobs are shitty and employers treat you badly.

You call it disrespectful, I call it honest. Even in the past when staying at home was normal, people did not respected those women and looked down on them. Pretending otherwise is just lie.

There are plenty of people like that alive today and to say that nobody respects them is not true. People are different.

As if being a housewife is an easy and unchallenging job. I only wonder how those intellectually suppressed women managed to raise such intellectual superman like yourself? I hope for your sake that your bubble will break sooner that later.

Interesting that this comment was downvoted so much. It accurately describes the reality of the setup.

By "have" kids do you mean: be the biological parent; finance materially; or spend time looking after? Because solutions start to appear if you separate these things.

For example, one thing to try would be (reverting to) a society where grandparents raise the kids. Then people can invest resources in kids when they're 40–70 instead of 20–35.

Is there any data showing a bimodal effect of wealth on number of children?

Yes...That's correct. I chased money up to a point and did well enough that I could let off the throttle after the kids were on their way out the door.

I do see many of my peers, though, sort of trapped in trying to maintain the same lifestyle. I traded down to a modest house, drive old cars, etc.

Not saying I'm somehow smarter. I did struggle a bit with my pride at first...giving up the nice house, cars, job titles and so forth.

> I traded down to a modest house, drive old cars, etc.

That's a key element right there.

Way too many people that I know live well above their actual means without realizing it. They somehow seem to think that as long as the bank is willing to finance it they should take the lifestyle as belonging to their status. It's an easy trap to fall in to, especially because all their other colleagues and siblings do the exact same thing.

Little do they realize that they are effectively taking a mortgage on their future and that when the final bill is presented it won't be pretty.

The only situation in which that has a 'happy ending' is when you die young and leave a pile of debt behind which can't be collected on.

But if you have any dependents or a significant other then this is a surefire way to leave them to clean up your mess.

If you don't absolutely have to borrow then don't, you don't need the fancy house and you don't need the fancy car. They'll end up becoming millstones around your neck if you are not careful.

Agree. However, my motivation for the lifestyle downgrade was so that I could afford the job downgrade, which requires less time and attention than the previous one.

I didn't really improve my debt level or financial position any. Just made more time for "not work".

That's a very valid trade-off and another way to express the same thing. Effectively you put a value on your time rather than to reduce your debt or improve your financial position. The effect is hopefully the same: you're a happier person than you would have been otherwise.

fwiw, I think most people live pretty ordinary, non-flashy lives. It's hard to square that with the idea that Americans are debt ridden spendthrifts. You read about that so much, there must be some truth to it, but then I look around, and see mostly modest people, modest cars, modest homes, modest vacations. Where are all these crazy spenders? I'm sure there are some, but are they really a majority?

What's a modest car and a modest home? I suspect if you looked at most people's banks and then at what they drive and where they live you'd think they're living beyond their means.

It also depends a lot on your other expenses. If you have two kids and a mountain of student loan debt, "modest" might be pretty low even if your income is way above average.

I guess so. It's hard to see how much downgrading most families can do. If you're driving a 10+ year old car, which seems pretty normal, there's not a lot of cheaper vehicles to drop down to. A family in a 2-3 bedroom bungalow or ranch, which seems to be the norm for most, doesn't have much room to downsize either.

At the same time, it's not like people don't have things going for them. A house, growing retirement plans, some savings, a vacation here and there... Judging from the tone the last 10 years in this country, this qualifies you as "affluent". Which, in a cosmological sense, it is. But it isn't like it is unusual, or only something the very fastidious achieve. It's normal-ish.

So it's not that I'm disagreeing, people can dig themselves in a hole by overspending. I just don't think this is particularly common, or some sort of national sickness.

I'm not sure how common 10-year-old cars really are. I feel like I don't see that much, at least amongst the middle class. For the house, what you're describing could be $75k or >$1MM depending on location, square footage, and finishes. I know a lot of people are "house poor", though.

> So it's not that I'm disagreeing, people can dig themselves in a hole by overspending. I just don't think this is particularly common, or some sort of national sickness.

Based on the published debt and savings stats, it seems like it is pretty common. I know a lot of people with almost no savings, and not always because their income is too low to save.

Modest car - Tesla non performance. Yeah, I'm kidding. 5 years ago I was looking for a diesel awd with decent mpg, which is not available :-) Unless you count those cars with fake emissions tests. I ended up with a tesla model s, the toy of my life. It's my favorite toy of all time, better than my rock climing shit I bought when i was in grad school and able to climb, better than all my computers except maybe my next machine. My one regret is not having more kids.

It's harder to notice if you aren't doing it yourself. For me, though, it's fairly easy to see in the parking lot of a tech company. Don't see too many modest cars in the ones I've frequented. The workaholics typically get the closer spots, so you can kind of gauge how prevalent it is by how far back the expensive cars go in the lot.

Statistically speaking, most bankruptcies are caused be medical expenses. Also, young people have huge amount of college debt.

> Statistically speaking, most bankruptcies are caused be medical expenses.

Worldwide they aren't. In the USA they are, but it has rather unique problems.

>I did struggle a bit with my pride at first...

I appreciate you sharing this, since I too continue to experience this from time to time, and I feel that too many of us are held back by this private fear and self-consciousness.

I think that the more we are exposed to the fact that this is a completely normal thing to feel, the more readily we may be able to make tradeoffs that make sense for us but may look peculiar from the eyes of the public.

It can have the outward appearance that you were demoted. My personal situation is that I left a fairly lofty position to run a very small business, so it's more opaque. But, people do still ask things like "what happened?"

I'd rather spend my 20s and 30s exploring the world, finding adventures, and meeting women.

Working in tech gave me the opportunity to do that while minimizing time spent working.

I think before we can share cautionary tales of other people, we have to acknowledge the freedom most of us have in this industry.

True, though no one with life ahead wishes for less financial security.

But what is that financial security for if you might not be around to enjoy it?

It just hammers home for the that being ultra-frugal now so that you can live it up when you retire misses the fact that, well, you might just die one day and never have those experiences you put off in the name of saving money. You should live life as you go, not by putting it all off and saving it up

I have a number of elderly relatives who have been well and truly fucked by that philosophy.

Right, but there is a VERY good chance you are going to live long past your ability to continue to make money (most people do).... what then? If you haven't saved for retirement, you are going to be very miserable for a lot of years.

I know way too many people in their 50s and 60s with no retirement savings. They are starting to be unable to continue working, but have YEARS left to support themselves. It is beyond sad.

> But what is that financial security for if you might not be around to enjoy it?

It changes your whole outlook on life. When there is a reasonable amount of financial security, one can truly focus on the important things without considering money in the decisions. Many caveats apply of course, such as still maintaining good "financial hygiene".

I'd strongly suggest at least trying one's best at getting up to $100k in investments plus a cash buffer and see how life is different!

> You should live life as you go, not by

Everybody has a different way to live life, but phrasing things this way makes it sound like you've already closed off listening to potential benefits of others' point of view.

sure, but nobody ever does this. they'd be poor.

And yet people are still asking "why is this on HN?"

They're so focused on work that they can't take the time to realize they have tunnel vision.

This is the sort of thing that reminds me there is life outside work

Maybe I'm a horrible cynic but it mostly reminds me how awfully and randomly a life can be cut short, however fulfilling in or outside work.

Okay, my day is over and I'm going home. I'm done.

I was going home and instead after reading this I'll keep studying Japanese (a hobby I love).

It's a sad story but I love the way in which she welcomes the potential lover that will one day replace her. Makes me think of what the polyamorous call compersion.

When I saw the story title, I thought at first it was something about polyamory. It's slowly gaining more visibility and acceptance in parts of society.

Then I read it and my mood went down the tubes. :-(

I don't think a poly would feel like the author of that piece.

An apt comparison. Not sure who would downvote you for it.

I have found these samurai death poems to be pretty interesting when contemplating one's mortality.


Yikes. They're especially poignant/depressing when you consider that those men truly died moments after writing or uttering them. There is very little emotional distance from the end... :-/

My favorite on is by Uesugi Kenshin. "Even a life-long prosperity is but one cup of sake; A life of forty-nine years is passed in a dream; I know not what life is, nor death. Year in year out-all but a dream. Both Heaven and Hell are left behind; I stand in the moonlit dawn, Free from clouds of attachment."

Why do I have Steve Jobs's like magical thinking? I'm in my mid-40s, work out a lot, and feel that nothing can touch me like a 15 year old?

Nothing wrong on surface, but doing a comprehensive blood workup on Monday. Still not scared at all

But why do I think I am immunine (sic) to Cancer. I think I can lift, run my way out of anything. "I am a man among men".

That's obviously BS. When the inevitable "something" comes down how do I deal with it? e.g. Supermen die of old age! not!

Been there, done that.

No longer there! (Thank god!)

I got ill not too long ago. And the lost the one part of me that I had the most pride in, my intelligence. This "thing" got me carried away. I looked down on people who did not have it. I assumed that this was part of everyone. It gave me zeal and ambition. It gave me hope and burdened with me dreams.

And then I got ill with 106 deg. I lost my ability to recall memory. Before it my memory was on infinite replay. And now I could not remember my worst years of high school and best years of college.

Gone was my pride, my hope, my expectations. And I realized I deserved it.

What I realized after is that life is like a game of standing in front of projectiles. The longer you play, the more likely you are to get hit. The people who live on to 70, and never got really sick were very very very lucky. Another proof that God exists.

We are all bound to get hit. Some of us harder than others. And if you don't it is a miracle. A proof that God is there intending to be this way.

It may not be cancer or anything particular, but we are all likely to fall ill.

> Another proof that God exists.


> A proof that God is there intending to be this way.

And no. Look believe whatever you like, that's your right, but random chance is in no way proof of God, not remotely. It's not a miracle some people live longer than others, it's just a normal distribution of lifespans, there's nothing miraculous or magical about it, it's simple math and large numbers. There are always going to be some people on the extremes who either die very young or very old. It's not even evidence of God, let alone proof.

I figured someone would go on to say this.

You can use stat science to flatten miracles as standard part of statistical reality. But you won't be able to replicate the same statistics using what we know theoretically. The theoretical statistics just don't match what is offered by reality. You can chalk it up as insufficient knowledge or you can claim it as a miracle.

The reality is that the human body is fragile. Yet it seems to stand up to the test of time even to things that were never faced during evolutionary development. That's a miracle. Or you can claim the new scenarios are just too insignificant to matter.

But maybe slice and dice the data enough and you will find inconsistencies. You can call it miracle or outside force, or you can spend your life trying to explain some reason behind it. And never really know.

Look believe whatever you like, but your Lord has given you a right to hide all miracles with an explanation. And chalk up the rest as stuff you are still trying to figure out. I cannot convince you miracles or outliers happen. And whatever is evidence of God can always be skewed as some random portion of science. That is up to you. But ask enough questions and you will eventually get exhausted with how shallow the explanations are or how unable you are to explain.

God says he has put his proofs in all things for those who see. And for those who deny, they are blinded from seeing such things. (as a mercy?) And understanding is limited to the point they can only understand what they can mentally tolerate.

> The reality is that the human body is fragile. Yet it seems to stand up to the test of time even to things that were never faced during evolutionary development.

No more so than any other animal, there's quite simply nothing miraculous about it, or humans, it's just the normal functioning of biology.

> But ask enough questions and you will eventually get exhausted with how shallow the explanations are or how unable you are to explain.

There is nothing more shallow and empty an explanation than "God did it", it's the height of anti-intellectualism and laziness. It's easy to see miracles everywhere when you're too lazy to seek a real answer because real answers require effort and understanding. God did it isn't an answer at all, it doesn't explain anything, it's nothing more than admitting you don't know the answer and aren't willing to look for it.

> There is nothing more shallow and empty an explanation than "God did it",

I agree. But the kinds of questions atheists ask is quite arrogant and self-righteous and can never be uptaken by theists as they are implicitly in denial and always in contention of how to prove the existence of no miracles. What propels a theist to ask challenging questions is to actively find the miracles of God in the smallest of things, to look deeper than ever before, to find more, to learn more, with wonder and astonishment. I can challenge you that had theists never existed, science would never have existed, because refuting a theist is science's primary and only motive.

> it's just the normal functioning of biology

No wonder and no astonishment in biology? An utter simplification and discount of what it took to get here? No observation of balance and order? What will it take for you to see a miracle: an abnormality, a repetitively unpredictable action (like sailing stones), chaos?

I bet you that had great structures the likes of what you see today were placed on earth before humanity, many would still want to make excuses of how it got there, as opposed to giving credit to who put it there. People see only what they want to see.

Some people think they're invincible and end up dying at 22. Others are scared of cancer and end up dying at 22.

Some people think they're invincible and end up dying at 92. Others are scared of cancer and end up dying at 92.

This absolutely obvious observation highlights the choice (if possible) you make in how you deal with your future maybe/maybe-not existing. You deal with it how you think you ought to deal with it. Did a parent or friend get cancer? Were they positive and hopeful about it? Maybe you take from them and try to be like them. Maybe they became depressed and just passed on quietly and you don't want to go out like that. Both can be a motivation to act a certain way.

There's no cosmic sense of justice for being proud about being in physically peak condition and you later get smacked down later with terrible news. So I don't think you should feel guilty for feeling invincible -- just don't be an asshole. :)

I know this feeling. I am 47 and in probably close to the best shape of my life, which in my case is actually saying something as I've always been athletic.

My dad was the same way, able to beat me in a running race well into his 50s. Then when he was 65 he found out he had a prolapsed mitral valve. He had heart surgery and was never the same.

Today my wife and I found out that she has skin cancer. It's relatively benign but still requires surgery in the very near future.

Like practically everyone else who has commented, I feel like I've spent way too much time working. I don't resent it - I make a lot of money and I have dependents - but there is always opportunity cost. All it takes is one phone call with some bad news and everything has changed.

> I feel like I've spent way too much time working

I'm genuinely curious why you feel this way. What would you rather do?

Late response, sorry. The answer is "rockclimbing".

> nothing can touch me like a 15 year old


It's a shame humor is so frowned upon here.

Time and place. time and place.

as in, never been hurt, sick..still strong as an OX, but know something could come any moment.

likely a direct translation from Spanish/Portuguese grammar.

"There are ways to really live in the present moment. What's the alternative? It is always now. However much you feel you may need to plan for the future, to anticipate it, to mitigate risks, the reality of your life is now. This may sound trite... but it's the truth... As a matter of conscious experience, the reality of your life is always now. I think this is a liberating truth about the human mind. In fact, I think there is nothing more important to understand about your mind than that if you want to be happy in this world. The past is a memory. It's a thought arising in the present. The future is merely anticipated, it is another thought arising now. What we truly have is this moment. And this. And we spend most of our lives forgetting this truth. Repudiating it. Fleeing it. Overlooking it. And the horror is that we succeed. We manage to never really connect with the present moment and find fulfillment there because we are continually hoping to become happy in the future, and the future never arrives." - Sam Harris (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITTxTCz4Ums&t=17m52s)

Thanks, remind me that life is fragile. Ok, I am going to hospital and do a full body medical diagnostic scan now.

And the author of the piece died today. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/13/style/amy-krouse-rosentha...

I've always been a saver and a dreamer. I get tremendous satisfaction simply reading and observing. This is unbalanced. So I married a very physical ball-of-energy life-of-the-party ex-ballerina. She survived simultaneous bouts with early-stage breast and ovarian cancer, and is healthy as a horse, knock on wood, and out socializing with her buddies right now.

We purposely live beyond our means to maximize actuarial utility. You know what I mean. But the stress of living like that on this indoor cat is, ironically, killing me.

It sounds like you need a little more balance.

Heartbreaking. Not sure what else there is to say.

I was at a loss of words too. There's so much of goodness and sadness here.

I wish somehow something better happens to her. I wish I could give her some of my good karma (of the little that I might have)

Such good feelings I have now, thanks to this author and good human being

Well, fuck.

edit: Those aren't the feelings I wanted on a Friday evening.

Guess I'll go hug my SO

To me, the worst fact of life is to realize how intensely and tragically our ancestors suffered from lack of medical technology, and that it continues to our day.

And the greatest fact of life is that all this suffering will soon be at an end.

Our descendants will pity us, as we pity ours.

> Our descendants will pity us, as we pity ours.

That's pithy :)

Our descendants will pity us, as we pity our ancestors....lol

This makes me want to be a better husband.

Such a heart warming thing to do, this made me tear up now

Such a beautiful person (the wife)

I sincerely wish things were better. My hear goes out to you :')

Have a pleasant journey, Mrs Krouse Rosenthal

I'm curious as to why this submission was flagkilled. Yes, it's not related to tech, but it's good writing.

EDIT: Apparently unflagkilled. That's rare.

People can reasonably disagree about whether a piece like this gratifies intellectual curiosity or not, which is the criterion of ontopicness for HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html. It makes sense that the reactions for or against are more intense, because the article touches the emotions so intensely.

There's a tradition of stories like this (very) occasionally making the front page and getting rich discussion. I think that's a good tradition—as long as it's not overdone, which goes for any genre of story.

Yeah, this has been a roller coaster of a thread.

I'm glad the story is back.

...Why is this flagged?

There are a subset of HN users who think HN needs to be 100% technology or it's not appropriate.

Personally I find almost any topic fine for HN.

To the detractors: Human life and death is about technology.

What's the point of technology? To make life better.

This article offers a valuable perspectives on a few thing very relevant to technology. Dating sites, health and cancer.

I think if you don't think this article is relevant then you're missing the point of technology.

If you're in technology and Building Things for people then you can certainly learn something from this persons clearly written experience. If you don't think you can learn something, that's your deficit. And I think you should reexamine you're openness to learning.

Maybe your protest against this article is more about your distaste for reminders of death. And if you can distinguish that distaste from the articles relevance, perhaps you shall see its relevance more clearly.

> Personally I find almost any topic fine for HN.

As does the site iteself: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.

It's at least the second 'life is short' article in a short period on HN.

It's possibly pointless (These life is short articles are a dime a dozen but do people actually change their lifestyles?)

It's a common meme, dying people pull emotional strings so their stories often travel not on merit but emotions.

A few reasons why someone might?

If you want to read the NY Times, you should go to the NY Times web site.

The NYT is one of many welcome sources here: https://news.ycombinator.com/from?site=nytimes.com.

I'm not sure if you meant it that way, but your comment reads as needlessly hostile.

A few years ago I would have been the victim of a terrorist attack in Jerusalem had I not gone into a store to buy a candy bar.

What kind of human being downvotes when someone survives a terrorist attack?


I sympathize with where you're coming from but you've already overposted about this and now you've crossed into being rude. Please don't do that.

We detached this comment from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13786489 and marked it off-topic.

(When a comment is detached and marked off topic it floats to the bottom but everyone can still see it, unless it has been killed, in which case only users with 'showdead' set to 'yes' in their profile will see it.)


Modern Love is a column in the NYTimes that has been running since 2004 (and one I personally enjoy reading).


It has a podcast counterpart too. Here it is, for those who like listening podcasts: http://www.npr.org/podcasts/469516571/modern-love

(I just recently listened to the very first episode of this podcast and I liked it/decided to continue listening.)

Another recommendation for Modern Love here.

I easily silence my emotions in favor of rational thinking and Modern Love has been excellent in showing me a bit of what life is like for those who feel deeply and just the myriad of ways love is felt, expressed and experienced in all is beauty of messiness.

How in god's name could this be anything like a high school essay. Are you made of stone?

There's lots of talented writers doing high school essays - all the best writers that you have read wrote high school essays too.


It's not exactly like HN is flooded with this kind of story, the last similar one I can think of was about Mohammed Bzeek and that was a couple weeks ago. It's a friday, some of us (me!) are probably counting the hours at work and appreciate a heartfelt story. I can appreciate the occasional step outside the norm.

If you believe the content inappropriate for hacker news, you can flag it.

Did you read the whole thing? Or, like, the title?

I mean, if you are really too hard-hearted to understand that life can end suddenly, and that you should cherish your connections with others, then I pity you.

And if you don't see how a reminder to lift your head up from your work once in a while is relevant on HN, then this story is precisely for people like you.

I'm writing from a point of innocent curiosity:

> I mean, if you are really too hard-hearted to understand that life can end suddenly, and that you should cherish your connections with others, then I pity you.

Is this really what this essay was about? Using off-hand literary analysis, it's only a story, albeit a sad one, about a woman who's about to die, publicly absolving her husband from the sin of dating after your spouse has died.

She mentions she wants "more":

> I want more time with Jason. I want more time with my children. I want more time sipping martinis at the Green Mill Jazz Club on Thursday nights.

But, this is only a small part of this piece and the connection that people need to focus less on their jobs and more on their lives seems to be a guilty conscience projecting its own meaning onto a, arguably, blank canvas.

There is no underlying meaning here. The author is days away from being dead and it shows. She doesn't have the characteristic panic of the just-enlightened who've learned they will die. Nor is she showing any fight.

The story plays out like a fever dream. It would be coarse to call it a rambling, but that is how it came out.

Newspapers have never strictly published cold hard news, ever. Unless you're talking about ap wire reports or meeting notes from your local town council. Editorials and op-eds have existed since the dawn of newspapers. Not to mention birth announcements, wedding announcements, and of course many people's favorite obituaries.

It's also a poignant reminder to live for what's important... tomorrow isn't promised.

Breaking News: Love, Gratitude, and Hope are More Important Than Anything Else Today

... for every value of "Today".

It's all in the details.

It's from the weekly "Modern Love" column of the Style/Fashion section. It doesn't seem very out of place in that context.

It does not belong on the front page is my contention.

We appreciate your concern for the quality of HN, but you've also made it worse by injecting ill-spirited offtopicness into the thread and then perpetuating a spat. Please don't do those things. If you think a story shouldn't be on HN, flag and move on. If you think it's serious, email us at hn@ycombinator.com to make sure we know about it.

It got to the front page because everyone else clearly disagrees with you.

I'm not sure how you think HN works, but it's not editorialized.

This is entirely appropriate coming from a newspaper. What you missed never existed in the first place; there was never a time when newspapers solely delivered the latest news.

Newspapers once took the space and time cat pictures do now.

So of course it belongs.

This is why you shouldn't be ashamed of web browsing, watching Youtube, and going on Facebook at work. You never know when your life is about to end. Living like a monk who only focuses on work is not very satisfying.

All that stuff is a waste of time, not a good use of it. It's a symbol of "face time" at work, where you have four hours of real work a day so you stretch it out to eight by wasting time.

So is coming home and just flopping on the couch and watching TV all night because you're so tired.

These things make me feel like my life is wasted.

True but note that from the perspective of many depressed people, everything feels like a waste of time.

Time you enjoy wasting, is not wasted time.

Who is cutting onions in here!?!

>> She suggested the word “more.”

That did it for me :(

I can't believe there were enough stone-hearted jerks to flag this story off the front page on a Friday afternoon. I guess "hackers" don't like being reminded that other people have emotions.

> I guess "hackers" don't like

Sorry for the Spocklike response, but this is a non sequitur. If the HN userbase ("hackers") really don't like something, it basically never happens here—or rather it does, but it gets flagged out quickly, so it rarely shows up. (I'm talking about stories on the front page; the phenomenon happens in comment threads too, but more slowly.) So when you see something on HN that you don't like, it usually means the community is divided about it.

Also, to put in a good word for those of us with emotional blockages, it usually isn't other people's feelings we're uncomfortable with, but our own—a difficult spot to be in.

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