5SR - March 12, 2024

Hitha on retirement, the modern family, and Bitcoin's surge

A quick refresher - I’m Hitha Palepu, the founder of #5SmartReads. If you’d like to connect with me elsewhere, I’m most active on Instagram and write a weekly newsletter about smart, random things. Looking forward to connecting there!

It’s not the first time that Bitcoin surged. And it’s crashed before, if you fear you missed out again.

What’s different know is how you can invest in Bitcoin (as of January, you can invest in bitcoin ETFs, which investment firms have quickly launched), thus contributing to Bitcoin’s surge.

This was a really helpful read about Bitcoin and crytocurrency in general - where we’ve been, where we’re going, and what some very smart people in this space are saying about the future.

Athletes’ retirement has been on my mind this past week, with my Eagles Jason Kelce and Fletcher Cox announcing both of theirs (thank you for the incredible memories and for your whole careers with the Birds).

I wish I knew both of them personally, because I would send them Andrea Petkovic’s poignant essay on this very topic.

“In the four months prior to retiring I was crying on a daily basis. I was angry and sad when I went to bed and I woke up angry and sad. I could see my career, my identity, slipping through my fingers and there was nothing I could do about it. There was no comfort to be found. Every match I played, every locker room I changed in, came with a farewell stitched into it. But on my last official day as a tennis player after my last official match at the US Open - the last time I would have ball kids and lines people and a chair umpire, an opponent to overcome - I felt relieved. It was over. Half a life behind me, yes, yet half a life ahead of me.

To retire is to die because a part of your identity does die. And it needs to be grieved. It’s a process.

Eventually, I did find comfort: When you rid yourself of an identity you thought was inherent, you become free. Free to take on any freaking identity you damn well please.

The last line is especially poignant for anyone closing a chapter. It certainly needs to be processed and grieved. But the possibilities waiting for you on the other side are nearly infinite - and what a wonderful opportunity to write a new one.

It is heartening to see childcare expand in settings that need them. Head Start has brought childcare centers to community college campuses, albeit in an extremely limited fashion.

But that could change with the initiative between the National Head Start Associated and the Association of Community College Trustees, which just formed.

Forgive me for the use of this word, but the synergy in this effort is tremendous. Community college campuses usually have open space available, students who are studying early education to provide an employee pipeline, and a need from the 1 million community college students who are raising children while earning a degree.

The early success of Head Start centers on community college campuses is tremendous. Imagine what it could do for our society at scale.

I really hope we have a chance to find out.

Nothing makes me feel older than when I Snap my Gen Z nieces and nephews questions like “can you please explain Babygirl to me like I’m 5?”

It’s usually accompanied by a horrifyingly embarrassing picture of myself. As one does.

I probably should’ve waited a bit for this piece to publish, which is a patient primer on what makes someone Mother and the paradoxically named Babygirl, while delivering some laughs.

I’m a little horrified at how much I identify as a 30-something Teenage Girl (well, almost 40). In any case, if you don’t want to ask your Gen Z people the dumb questions, Bustle has the answers for you.

March 10, 2024 (Letters from an American)

Most of the news makes me irrationally angry (and yes, I’m walking around like a muttering Bruce Banner 99.9% of the time).

When it comes to putting a partisan present in the context of our country’s history, I turn to Heather Cox Richardson. And her analysis on the current state of the GOP is spot on.

When it comes to partisan news, I usually roll my eyes and move along. But there was one piece of news that made me truly sad, and that’s the censure of Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma for his leadership on the bipartisan border security bill (which was ultimately killed, due to the 45th President’s whims).

What does it say about the state of our country when a senator is penalized for doing his job, by his party?

All while said leader of the party publicly praises a corrupt autocrat and his daughter-in-law is one of the new leaders of the party apparatus.

It’s as if Succession, Veep, and House of Cards had a really disturbing child. The tragedy is that it’s our reality.

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