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DEAR ANOUSH TALKS TO STUFF: I can’t help but feel that life is passing me by. I know I need to put myself out there more (in every aspect – relationships, travel, everything!), but I’ve always lacked courage. How can I become more brave?

Thank you,



DEAR CHEAP UNCLE FRANK: I think before you start judging yourself so harshly, and thinking that it’s courage that you lack, it might pay to look at this whole thing from a different perspective.

For example, can you visualize some of the experiences you’ve listed above? In terms of relationships, can you visualize what the person might look like; what they would wear; what their opinions on, say, film remakes might be? It could be anything, as long as it’s specific. In terms of travel, besides the actual place you wish to go to, can you also imagine buying the airline ticket and waiting at the airport before boarding?

If I may make a judgment of my own, you don’t strike me as someone who lacks courage at all. Maybe it’s the punctuation in your question, or your overall bluntness, but I could tell right off the bat that you’re not afraid of much. I don’t think fearlessness is what you (or anyone) might need as much as a little permission to dream every now and then. It’s not your experiences that define your beauty and your worth — it’s the belief that you deserve them.

When you visualize the actual objects, it brings the experiences closer to you and they become that much more attainable. You may also think that what you’re looking for might be too outlandish for this world, or too much too ask for, but they’re not. The world is huge — big enough for someone even like CheapUncleFrank to live the way that they want — and with the people that they want. 

I don’t know if you’re big on quotes, but while we’re here, I’ll just leave this with you:  “I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” — Louisa May Alcott

So, please promise me that you won’t fret over the things that haven’t happened yet, and that you’ll start dreaming about the things that can.

Love always,









DEAR ANOUSH TALKS TO STUFF: I have a  job 9-5pm temp job where I’m surrounded by small-talk that goes too big. I know that in any normal work environment, coworkers like to state their opinions on the weather, current TV shows, politics, and past and future weekend plans, etc., but the topic that gets me the most is the food. I don’t know what it is, but as a, now, adult, I’m losing more and more patience with hearing about everyone’s diet and what everyone can’t (and adamantly won’t) eat. Have I lost my mind, or has high school continued on into our mid-thirties and forties? I understand that some of us have to be vegan and that some of us have to be gluten-free, whether it’s for health reasons or because some celebrity is doing it, but what I don’t get is how they’ll firmly call a particular food “disgusting.” 

I say this all as someone who is a healthy eater, who has uncannily never had the need to let everyone know what foods I stay away from, or enjoy, or have any strong opinions about. Because all it ends up being is part of the ongoing 9-5pm noise jumble, and wouldn’t it make more sense to use the time in this 8-hour time block to be civil and not feel the need to wave our food flags around? Maybe we’re lacking that sense of unity, as a nation, you know? And while we go from distrusting one leader to another, why not just move onto something simpler like dairy?

In a way, talking about how much you stay away from certain foods, is almost like talking about how much money you have in your bank account. Not that talking about money is particularly uncouth, but telling everyone the amount you have is well… let’s just say it’s never the wealthy people who are doing it.

I may need advice or at least some kind of help, but what I mostly need is to know that I’m not alone.

Thank you,

Two Fives for a Temp


DEAR TWO FIVES FOR A TEMP: I hear you loud and clear — almost as loudly and clearly as the dwindling of the world’s standards one second at a time. Unfortunately we live in a world where if you have enough people on your side, you have the freedom to “proclaim” the things (or foods) you find disgusting (or the TV shows you find dumb, or the types of music you find pedestrian) making not only high school the thing that follows you into your mid-thirties, but kindergarten and nursery, as well. And what better way to make yourself feel bigger and more important than doing it with people you’re paid to be around? This was sarcasm.

But you have to remind yourself that all anyone is looking for in these conversations — some more desperately than others — is validation. What’s unfortunate is that some people are louder and whinier than others and all you can do is bide time, mind your own business — and bet cold hard cash on the fact that life gives back whatever you put into it. So if it’s whiny, opinionated banter that these people are pumping out, then whiny, opinionated banter is what they’re gonna get.

My advice to you is to seek out one person in the office with whom you might share the same viewpoint with and try to make a new friend. I only urge you to not begin gossiping with this person and to instead find something to build on. Something you and they can meet eyes about every time there is any kind of water cooler or cubicle uproar.

Lastly, trust that you’re not alone. You may be in the minority, but that doesn’t mean you’re by yourself and that you don’t deserve validation every now and then, too. You are an old soul, or to your analogy, “old money,” and as you are seeking out your crowd, remind yourself that everything (like most food fads, current events — even jobs) is what the experts call —


Talk to you soon!

Anoush and Stuff