Image via Pixabay

Hello anxiety my old friennnnnnd.

In the last two weeks, I have socialized (safely, at a distance, or within other quarantine protocols) with a record 4 (four) individuals who were not my partner or my immediate family.

What a rush! What a roller-coaster! What an exercise in after-the-fact self-loathing!

At the dawning of the pandemic, I felt an enormous amount of relief that my calendar was suddenly free of events. Between involvement in my local Democratic Party, my work as a consultant, and having, you know, friends and acquaintances, there were a lot of weeks pre-pandy where I did not have a single block of…


Image of a cat yawning broadly.
Image of a cat yawning broadly.
PAY ATTENTION TO ME.

Or a Tamagotchi, whatever’s in your heart

Here is how my 14-year-old dog lets me know he’d like to go outside:

First, he lumbers down off of the bed on his special wooden stairs, which are very noisy. Then, he lingers in the hallway like a chatty neighbor who makes meaningful eye contact until you finally ask how he’s doing.

If boring a hole into me from 10 yards away doesn’t help, he will then start shuffling his feet to ensure I can’t ignore him. He is still staring at me as his little paws tip-tap on the floor. If I’m still unmoved, he will start to…


Image of a disposable mask on a light blue background with a frown drawn on it
Image of a disposable mask on a light blue background with a frown drawn on it

You cancelled Christmas. You had a Zoom Thanksgiving. But it feels like it doesn’t matter because some dingus had a no-mask NYE rager.

Today as folks with office-type jobs slid back into their home office chairs, facing a tidal wave of office emails and arbitrary office deadlines, many probably paused to consider the fact that they were still working from home. Their kids got up for “school” in whatever way that manifests — for littles with limited internet access or parents who can’t or aren’t involved in their education, the morning probably wasn’t a lot different than the winter break.

For shift workers, medical care providers, home health care workers, transit operators, and so many others, there’s little distinction between “holidays” and “every…


Three young women popping champagne to celebrate their recent graduation
Three young women popping champagne to celebrate their recent graduation
Wheeeeee! Debt!

Honest question.

So you recently heard about the idea of student debt forgiveness and your first reaction was something like disgust, or maybe indignation. You heard that today’s students were just going to be let off the hook like the entitled babies that they are, never having to learn to be responsible. Pfft! You paid your debt! Why can’t they do the same?

To which I would ask, my dude: Why do you care?

But let’s talk about it.

When I was 17 years old, I voluntarily stepped into something like $75k in student debt, which might as well have been seven…


We seem to think that we need to voraciously consume bad news to be engaged. The opposite is true.

Some time in the early-1990s, I remember reading a bumper sticker out loud to my mother and asking her what it meant.

IF YOU’RE NOT MAD, YOU’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION

The sticker was fairly worn and we were in Eugene, Oregon, so I assume the owner of the vehicle had probably purchased and placed it in reaction to the decisions and actions of the first President Bush, though I can’t be certain. There were plenty of things to be mad about at that time — which is exactly what my mother told me. …


Queue “Eye of the Tiger,” baby, because you are READY! FOR! THIS!

In video-therapy today (which I almost forgot but then didn’t because while time has no meaning now it is also very much the same!) my therapist asked how I was handling [gestures at everything, from the well-trod grass below to the alarmingly blue skies above]. And I told her that honestly, I’ve been doing ok. Not to brag, but I’m not having a complete mental breakdown right now.

In fact, I have found myself taking the societal changes and the firehose of awful news almost too well. Because, well, life has thrown harder things at me and a lot of…


It’s barely March.

There’s a popular meme reserved only for Wednesdays. You might have seen it. It looks like this:


colorful puzzle pieces
colorful puzzle pieces

Parents aren’t the only ones who need policy reforms.

Recently I was asked about my top policy priorities—what, given a magic wand and no comments section to wither the political will of allies, would I enact? And I gave the same answer that I’ve been giving for several years, which is childcare.

Well, technically, my answer is what I’ve been calling “bookend care” which packages together family leave with stipends, tax credits, and industry incentives for both childcare and eldercare. But that’s another essay entirely.

Anyway, this answer was surprising to the person I was talking to because I am famously a childfree hag whose hobbies include cackling mysteriously…


No travel, lots of privilege, working weekends, and avoiding adulthood

Photo: andresr/Getty Images

Ok, boomer, we’ve heard you: Millennials are the worst. We’ve murdered the napkin industry in cold blood. We told Big Dog Food that our precious fur babies deserve more than kibbles or bits. And we’re not giving you grandchildren for selfish reasons like being too broke and also not wanting to bring children onto a planet that doesn’t have enough clean air for everyone.

Sociopaths, all of us.

But you’ve got to admit, Old Economy Steve, that one way millennials have been uniquely burdened is student debt. These numbers don’t lie. Members of my generation are more educated, more productive…


These are not my hands.

Spoiler alert: Drugs. It was drugs.

One of my earliest memories is sitting in the clawed-to-bits (why were they so clawed? Our dog didn’t do it? The world may never know) seats of my mom’s Volkswagen van before preschool as she hunched over my impossibly small fingers. Her hair was spilling over her shoulders, which it always did because it was very long and beautiful and I’m still miffed that I didn’t get that hair from her. She painted each of my fingertips, somewhat recklessly, with the clear nail polish. It burned because I had shredded my nails again, taking bits of skin with them.

I…

Hanna Brooks Olsen

I wrote that one thing you didn’t really agree with. Interests include progressive policy, minor league baseball, and avoiding Zoom calls. Curious to a fault.

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