Steve, The Weez and I recently embraced the life aquatic and took several ferries to visit the Greek islands of Naxos and Santorini. I now present three tales.

One. We visited the Temple of Demeter on Naxos and our guide told us her story. Demeter was the goddess of agriculture. She had a daughter with Zeus, the very beautiful Persephone. One day Hades caught sight of Persephone, fell in love with her and abducted her to the underworld to be his wife. Naturally, her mother, Demeter, was distraught and pleaded with Zeus to rescue her. Zeus, being a big-time player himself, sided with Hades and initially refused. Demeter took her revenge by destroying agriculture on Earth. Zeus realized that he could not allow all the mortals to starve to death, so he went to see Hades to try to negotiate a resolution. In the end, they all agreed that Persephone would spend six months of each year with Hades, and six months with her mother. While she is in the Underworld, the land lies fallow and mortals plant seeds underground. When she is with her mother, the crops grow and flourish.

Two. On Santorini, we were in one of the biggest tourist areas, and saw several scenes that were clearly photo shoots. I assumed they were for a fashion brand or magazine or something. The models were young women with tanned, flawless skin and perfect blowouts, they all wore flowing, low-cut gowns, each one had a small entourage, including the photographer, and they were posing on the low walls overlooking the white buildings, blue domes and sparkling blue sea. Gorgeous. I know we have all seen fashion photos with this backdrop. It turns out that these were not working models; they were regular women paying photographers by the minute to take pictures of themselves for their Instagram accounts. Our guide told us that the photogs make about 500 euro per half hour. I was both elated (my son, the photography major, could move here and make a killing) and kind of freaked out.

Three. So, I graduated from law school in 1992, the so-called Year of the Woman. Based on a long chat with four young American women who were vacationing on Naxos while we were there, all of whom were born that year, things are not shaping up the way many of us had hoped. Yes, I know my n=4, but they seemed like a fairly representative sample of regular folks from backgrounds similar to mine. Two have good jobs, one is a former Uber driver who is currently between jobs with no apparent means of support (yet she is on a Greek holiday?), one was just a hot mess (string of bad jobs and boyfriends) and all are unhappily single. Steve and I were up on what was supposed to be our private roof-top deck, sipping wine and watching the sunset, when this crew showed up. They were darling and talkative and we ended up hanging out with them for quite a while. Naturally, the hot mess, who was vivacious and beautiful, wants to be an influencer. She spent a lot of time posing up there on the roof and having her friends take dozens of pics of her from all angles. It kind of broke our hearts. One of the women with a good job was kind of panicked because her 30th birthday was coming up later in the week, and despite her obvious intelligence, great personality, successful career and Greek Island-hopping friends, her family (who are from a different culture, but still…) views her as a failure because she is not married. All the women (except maybe the hot mess) seemed to have a lot going for them, but were openly anxious about their futures. I can’t stop thinking about them, and hoping their stories end with “happily enough ever after,” however that looks.

Moral. Yes, I am an out-of-touch and no doubt tone-deaf boomer. I don’t know if these are comedies, tragedies or dramas, or some combo of the three. They are all haunting me a little bit, even the myth of Demeter and Persephone.