Little Changes, Big Results

I worked at a coffee shop this morning. I’ve never really tried to do that before. I always figured the music and people and smells would distract me, but I drove to our local Caribou this morning, got myself a coffee and a breakfast sandwich, and worked for 2.5 hours.

Carl was right.

Sometimes a change of scene helps.

I’m working on a short article right now that started as an op-ed piece about my generation and divorce—and I guess the subject hasn’t changed even though everything else has had to shift as I do more and more research on the topic and realize that most media sources (and people) are operating with really outdated truisms.

Like the old chestnut about half of all American marriages ending in divorce. Yeah, that was never true. That one started as a gloomy projection if 1970 trends continued.* Which they didn’t. Divorce rates have actually been steadily declining since 1980, and yes some of that has to do with marriage rates also declining, but not all of it. I would have to look at the quote to be sure of the exact wording, but it looks like women who are college graduates and marry in their mid-twenties and later have around an 80% chance of making it.

Those are pretty encouraging odds.

I saw another study about Gen Y (18-35 year olds) showing that young people today rank parenthood as more important than marriage. So even while our odds of staying married are better, we seem to be less likely to “believe in” marriage.

I find all of this fascinating.

… Been typing this while waiting for my hair to dry so I can dash out and run some errands. Got to get a new blinker light for our car and really MUST stop at Target to peruse the new spring stuff. But the hair is still damp, so I’ll just let you know that we saw a movie called Animal Kingdom last night.

Which you would expect to be sort of gorgeous and full of cute animals.

Not so.

It’s about this drug/crime family in Melbourne, and the family’s gradual [warning! spoiler!] implosion. First one of the uncles gets murdered by the police. Then the remaining 3 uncles murder some police officers. Then the police gun down another uncle. Then primo evil uncle decided the kid’s girlfriend is a snitch. So he kills her. Then the kid starts talking to the police. Then the kid goes into witness protection. Then the grandmother comes up with this fantastic plan to KILL HER GRANDSON. Then some other crappy stuff happens. Then the kid shoots his uncle in the head.

Animal Kingdom.

Get it?

I got it, but I didn’t love it. I also didn’t hate it. I’m not a fan of violence, but the violence wasn’t graphic or gratuitous. It’s just a sad, probably fairly truthful account of how awful life can be.

And that’s all I got.

Am off to Target.

* EDIT: Although gloomy predictions are partially to blame, it also looks like the problem comes from trying to base the divorce rate on how many marriages take place each year vs. how many divorces take place. There are a couple of complicated problems with that, and if you’re curious you should go look it up since I’ll probably get it wrong if I try to explain in one sentence what it’s hard to grasp in 12. The other issue with blanket statements like 50% of marriages end in divorce (I mean, besides that fact that they might not even be true) is that it makes marriage sound like a crap shoot, when actually there’s really interesting and pretty detailed data about the factors played by lifestyle, income, age, and education in the statistics on divorce. Knowledge is power.

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3 thoughts on “Little Changes, Big Results

  1. I may need to buy a copy of that book. 🙂 I have a love/hate relationships with statistics. They can be really helpful when you’re trying to get a rough estimate of something, but they aren’t magic 8 balls either, and they’re super easy to manipulate.

    I remember when I was single having a conversation with somebody who asked if I was planning to get married. “I don’t know,” I said, shrugging. “Maybe not.”

    “Well, 90% of people get married,” he said, nodding significantly.

    I suppose the correct response on my part would have been something like, “94% of women resent being statistics.” But I always think of these things much later.

  2. LOL! Am dying over the commentage above. Hee hee…

    I cannot wait to discuss this whole divorce business in detail in Florida!!! Love when people get a bee in their bonnet about a particular topic. So passionate and laden with information.

    I have done very little working on coffee shops but it sounds good! And Carl is totally right on about changing locations sometimes being the key. Give him a high five for me.

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