Matisse Makes Me Happy

Dec 15, 2014 by Janet Zinn
One of the pleasures of living in New York is the amazing art available to view. I realized that being a member to various museums was an easy way to make short visits to old favorites and new exhibits. This week I went to a new show at MOMA. I’m not a huge fan of contemporary art. It is a good show as far as these go, and I was happy to be introduced to the art of Dianna Molzan. She has a fresh perspective on how we deliver art, and it made me smile. Because contemporary art is not my first love, I moved quickly through the 6th floor gallery.

When I finished, it was still early member hours and...

Something Different

Something Different
Nov 24, 2014 by Janet Zinn
I can be a solitary person. I like my alone time. I like to figure things out on my own and I like doing things by myself. But I learned something new about myself today while running my first race in awhile. I resist change. In the past I was happy to be a solo runner. I am a very slow runner, mindful of my age and the wear and tear my body has endured. I was pleased to be running at all, and it took me a couple of years to run even one race.   Then I ran one run, uncertain of the shouts and cheers the volunteers provided. They meant well, but I liked going at my own...

NYC Marathon

Nov 03, 2014 by Janet Zinn
Watching the NYC Marathon runners down First Avenue was simply inspiring. Seeing each person with their own reasons for running push through to continue their relentless course communicates discipline and tenacity. For a few hours this windy, Autumn day I screamed on the sidelines to strangers. I was able to see someone I knew, which was amazing.

The marathon is meaningful to those who run their race. They set a goal and mostly achieved it. And, if they fell short, they can be proud of making the effort to complete it. The marathon is very real, but it’s also a metaphor for life. In my work as a psychotherapist, I witness my clients face challenges in their lives. They work hard...

My Two Careers

My Two Careers
Sep 28, 2014 by Janet Zinn
In my every day life I’m a psychotherapist. I love what I do and I am always awed by the courage and growth I witness in my practice. I am committed to my work and my clients, giving what I can to do the work necessary   Even though I go for long walks, meditate, go to my own therapy, take vitamins, and do what I can to laugh, I tend to be exhausted by the end of the week.

Given my line of work, it’s ironic that when I go on vacation I tend to lie about what I do. But I have reason to lie.

Sometimes I make the mistake of being honest when asked, “What do you do?” This past...

Larrys' Wedding

Larrys' Wedding
Sep 06, 2014 by Janet Zinn
I just had a wonderful time. My friend Larry married his love, Larry, in a full service Episcopal wedding. It was a lovely blend of Christian tradition and modern love. After was champagne, a buffet, and most importantly, dancing. Larry and I met in our early college years while we both worked at the Echelon Mall in Voorhees, NJ. I was of a mixed mind working there since the mall had edged my dad’s independent shoe store out of business. Larry and I became fast friends. He always had a smile on his face and we laughed easily together. Within months we realized that he got his school shoes at my dad’s store. The most fun we had together was...


Aug 16, 2014 by Janet Zinn
My hangers have been more important than I am. When I go out I quickly find that I have thin strands coming out of my sides. I haven’t gotten into the habit of cutting the strings on my dresses and shirts that hang out of my sleeves when I wear them. Instead I have loyally kept them attached so that I can hang them neatly in my closet. Apparently I respect the garment more than I care for myself.

Actually it has more to do with the discovery that there are still small life skills that allude me. I was in my last year of college when I saw someone drying themselves with a towel following a shower. I had always...

Slowing Down

Jun 09, 2014 by Janet Zinn
I walk quickly, city savvy, righteously scorning the oblivious loiterers congregating in the middle of the sidewalk. When I’m not internally criticizing those I pass, I delight in the city around me. Happily I walk along, noticing building details, unexpected spring flowers, and public sculptures. These last few days, though, I had to slow down. Somehow, unbeknownst to me I got tendonitis behind my knee and walking became painful.              I like being on the go.   I don’t rest much. I more or less collapse when I become exhausted. But pain stopped me. I slowed down, walked less and enjoyed time off. I saw a movie on HBO, read a bit, cooked very little, and listened to a lot of...

MTA Kindness

May 04, 2014 by Janet Zinn
Last Sunday evening I was on the crosstown bus coming home from a meeting. I left early to have dinner with the family. I wondered if Emma would be coming home on the same bus. And, alas, three stops later she got on, exhausted from a full day of rehearsal. She nabbed a seat behind me, and I turned to chat.“You wouldn’t believe my day,” she said.“Tell me about it,” I respond.“We had to learn a new routine, and my legs felt like Jello. I could barely move. I cried because I was hurting all over. And, you know what they did? You know what they did?” She repeats. They told me to do it again! Can you believe it.”“That...

I Love Lucy

Apr 22, 2014 by Janet Zinn
Lucy is our Zen Dog, the stressless being in our household.  She is delightful, having us laugh and bond in ways we hadn't prior to having her as part of our family.  She grounds us in a frenetic city, reminding us of the importance of simple love.  

I Did It!

Apr 14, 2014 by Janet Zinn
I'm 54 years old, I have a torn meniscus, pleural effusion, tendonitus, and I completed a half marathon today.  I love walking but never thought I could run. Thanks to my friend Lisa, who told me I could run slowly, really a jog, so I tried it out and found that I could jog slowly.  I started running at the age of 51.  I ran around the block, then a half mile, then a mile.  I always felt like I accomplished something doing these runs.  Little by little I challenged myself to jog longer, always slowly.  I would have people pass me on a regular basis.  At first this was difficult.  I can be competitive.  With three siblings, it was...

I Can't Keep Up

Apr 02, 2014 by Janet Zinn
I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.--John Burroughs There was a time in my twenties & thirties when I did all the planning with my friends, when I sent birthday cards, and called to catch up. No more. As a working mom, trying spend time with my family, write on a semi regular basis, workout, and keep up with the day to day, I no longer have the mental dexterity to juggle anything else.When Facebook came on the scene, I was able to be in touch with friends from around the...

A Glutton for Punishment

Mar 16, 2014 by Janet Zinn

“Get out.!  You just want me to be perfect. You hate me.  I know it.  You just want a perfect robot child.  Well, guess what?  I’m not a robot.  I fuck up.  I’m a fuck up.  Happy?”


Happy?  No. I don’t think most parents are happy when their child is in emotional pain.  Nor is there any joy in being the hapless beneficiary of my daughter’s verbal lashing.  There’s a part of me when I hear Emma’s screams, that thinks, yes, I’d love a robot at this moment, one who has not been programmed to raise her voice.  But, alas, the reality is I have my imperfect 14-year-old daughter pushing as hard as she can.


As a psychotherapist in my professional life,...


Mar 07, 2014 by Janet Zinn
There’s been so much talk about this arduous winter.  The news reports spend at least half their time telling us what storm is coming or the reprieve we may see.  This weekend is supposed to give us a break with warmer weather.  The up side is, it gives everyone an easy subject to address when grasping for small talk.  The down side is that this winter has been brutal on our nerves.  Even as we trudge through the snow, or put on the many layers it takes to face the cold, we grit our teeth in anticipation of the discomfort we endure.  We are more inclined to order in, and less disposed to go out of our way.             We commiserate...

Winning Awards

Jan 13, 2014 by Janet Zinn
I’m watching the Golden Globe awards.  Usually I love this show, but tonight’s is less inspired.  Nonetheless, it does remind me of the years as a child and teenager when I would watch the Academy Awards, the Tonys, The Emmys and the Golden Globes, writing and rewriting my acceptance speech in my mind.  I so wanted to win to prove to my family and the kids who taunted me that I had arrived.  The only awards I remember winning were student awards.  I was happy to win them, but they lacked the global recognition I so longed for.  Now in my 50s, I value my autonomy, but live vicariously when watching award shows.  Hopeful for those who inspire me with...

A Jewish Christmas

Dec 26, 2013 by Janet Zinn
In years past I looked forward to Christmas because I knew that I’d sing to strangers in the morning, see a movie in the afternoon, and enjoy a Chinese feast in the evening.  I didn’t have the pressure to visit family or put on a fake smile for the gift I would never request.  But today I’m relaxing.  As a busy New Yorker, quick to fill in an open slot with a museum visit or a show, I eschewed relaxation as an unnecessary commodity.  I lived by Warren Zevon’s song title, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”    No more.  It’s been a great day.  Resting was required, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.             It’s so nice to change things up.  I know...

The Pressure to be Grateful

Dec 02, 2013 by Janet Zinn
Thanksgiving can be a wonderful holiday, filled with delicious food, family or friends we don't often see, and the promise of a joyful holiday season.  However, these experiences aren't always shared.  We go back to work tomorrow, and many people will be lying when asked, "How was your Thanksgiving.?" "Great." They'll say.  But inside they are embarrassed and ashamed because they were unable to find the joy in the holiday.  I know because, as a therapist, I hear it regularly during the holiday season.  So many people experience stress, unfulfilled expectations, or loneliness.  There is social pressure to not complain and to even be actively grateful for all the wonderful things in our lives.  This is so difficult when we...

A Culture of Tattletalers

Nov 17, 2013 by Janet Zinn
“Mommeeeee!” My sister, Susan yells from our bedroom.  “Janet pulled my hair.”  I hated when Susan tattled on me.  Technically she was right, I did pull her hair, but she fails to share the details of the said pulling.  We were playing beauty parlor, brushing each other’s curls, pretending to style, paint nails and put on lipstick.   Anytime we brush hair we pull it.  In the1960s we knew of no brushes or combs designed for anything but straight, fine hair.  So, putting a brush to Susan’s hair by definition meant I was pulling it.  Susan was a pro when it came to telling on me.  I hated when she did that, because it meant that I would lose another good...

Happy Halloween

Nov 01, 2013 by Janet Zinn
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday.  Maybe it had something to do with being Jewish, and Hanukkah not having the same gravitas as Christmas. As a rule we didn't have candy in our house.  Halloween was the exception.  That alone made it a very special holiday. Or, maybe it was the actress in me.  I loved to get dressed up. I still remember the flammable  Cinderella costume I had at 6.  The plastic mask itched and the mouth hole was too small.  But the turquoise blue with the silver trimming was perfect on top of my Danskin shirt & pants set. I was escorted to each home where I was a given a large candy bar, some pennies, or...

First Race

Oct 27, 2013 by Janet Zinn
I was 11 years old.  In the back of our school in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, in 1971, I ran the 900-yard dash.  On the dirt around the playground I pushed myself as I ran as fast as I could.  Again and again my classmates past me, even tough my mouth was dry, my chest was tight, and the left side of my abdomen was in a knot.  I had on my red Keds.  They were not serving me well.  Three classmates were behind me when I reached the finish line. There was little pleasure in that.             I knew I was not a runner.  I took this knowledge with me for a long time.  I liked to walk and I...

Mood Minders

Oct 17, 2013 by Janet Zinn
Weight Watchers is known in the diet arena for their Points Plus platform. Inspired by their model, I am introducing my own points program.  It is a diet, but not of the food variety.  My points program is based on overall attitude rather than foods and exercise.  I am naming it “Mood Minders”™, an alliteration to assure successful branding.             Mood Minders”™ works like this.  We start out with twenty points per day, with an extra 40 points for the week to use at your discretion. You can use a portion of your weekly points daily, or you can save them up and have a full fledged tantrum at the end of the week, if you like. Neutral moods are zero points. ...