STAGE OF LIFE       Share Your Story       Coupons       Education Resources
Sign Up Now!

Food for Thought: Cracking the Exoskeleton

Joined: 11/21/2014
Posts: 1
Lobsters are peculiar animals. Tens legs that allow for constant movement, sharp dangerous claws, and a hard, seemingly unbreakable exoskeleton are enough to constitute a young child’s nightmare. But each year on Fourth of July, with the glow of the sunset illuminating our wooden dinner table at our small lake house in Maine, these strange creatures bring my family together.

My family is spread out across the East Coast and West Coast, which makes contact difficulty and being in the same room almost impossible. We all lead independent lives; always moving, always busy, always something preventing reunion. When we do find ourselves in the same room, sometimes it feels as though we are strangers, making eye contact, and casual, polite conversation. Distance creates tension and conflicts, and a normal dinner conversation sometimes implies passive aggressive comments, hushed topics, and the scraping of forks and knives against ceramic plates replace the inevitable awkward silences.

But when steamed lobsters are on our plates, the mood turns a different way. Family conflicts are no longer pertinent as we laugh at the younger children staring at the lobster’s beady eyes, when a crushing crack squirts juice into our neighbor's eyes. If I had to guess, I would have to say that none of us know how to properly eat a lobster based on the mess we make. At the end of the meal, none of us can accurately explain how butter got on the wall, how the dog grabbed a claw, or even the piece of shell one of us cries out in pain about as it becomes lodged in our foot.

We make efforts to help each other, based on strategies that we have learned (or developed through trial and error, mostly proving ineffective). Laughter over failure turns to recounting warm memories of the dinner previously, opening up a common ground safe for conversation and away towards the reality of the world. As the sun sets below the tree line across the lake, the story of my cousin’s first lobster dinner is recounted each year; my grandparents had allowed my cousin to play with the alive lobsters before a meal once, and not knowing that we were going to eat them, he had named them. We laugh about how upset he was when he saw the lobster on his plate, and how even to this day, at twenty-seven, he will never even touch a lobster.
Every family has their conflicts and internal struggles, but the essential classification of family is love. Love is sometimes hidden and challenging, but ever-present. Sometimes all it takes is a squirt of lobster juice in the eye, or a struggle with a metal claw cracker to forget about the trivial aspects of our lives, and to concentrate on what is most important: family.

Rate this:
Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your Food for Thought essay being chosen as 1 of the 11 essays in the running for 1st place for our November 2014 teen writing competition. Be proud of your accomplishment. We had almost 200 essays submitted for November’s contest.

We are in the process of selecting our top three winners, and naming the 1st place winner from the narrowed field.

We will post all winning essay results by December 31st. You can check this page for the results after December 31st:

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World . . . One Story at a Time” and feel free to share your accomplishment.

Rebecca Thiegs Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Friday, December 5, 2014 12:39:51 PM
Rate this:
Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your Food for Thought essay being selected as one of our Teen Essay runners up for November 2014.

To view all the results of our November 2014 contest, please check our winners page on or after December 31st:

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World . . . One Story at a Time” and feel free to share your accomplishment with the world.

Rebecca Thiegs Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 5:02:06 PM
Rate this:

About StageofLife.comAbout Us: is a free blogging and writing community for college students that allows Millennials the opportunity to share their personal stories and essays in an online life journal via their free Stage of Life account.  Check out our national Teen Trend Reports, and make sure to explore the writing contests for college students, inspirational videos for teens, statistics about college students, quotes about college, and other resources about college here on  Register to start your free writing profile, share an essay about your life, and help us change the world, one story at a time.  If you are a college professor - review our Creative Writing Teaching Resources.

Writing Contest Archive - Students

Writing Contests and Teen Trend Reports Student Writing Contests

Below you will find all of the monthly writing contests and teen trend reports from the last five years hosted by  Our dedication to digital literacy efforts have reached over 1,000,000 students and teachers in the last half decade, received mention on, and features in the news.  Feel free to click through and read the top essay submissions from any given month. is honored to be one of the most-visited writing contests for students in the world.  We love working with you as we celebrate the journey as life-long readers and writers...

2016 Writing Contests

Writing Contest for High School Students

2015 Writing Contests

2014 Writing Contests

 2013 Writing Contests

2012 Writing Contests

2011 Writing Contests

 2010 Writing Contests

Stage of Life Mission Statement

Find Us on Facebook      Follow Us on Twitter     Read our Founder's Blog was launched in 2009 as the premier destination for people of all ages to find information, coupons, and stories about one of ten key stage of life transitions:  high school, college, on my own, wedding, married without children, having a baby, home ownership, parenting, grand parenting, and empty nest/retirement.  Nearly 1 million visitors come to the site each year to find information about their stage of life.  Stage of Life users (teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) can also share and archive their life stories via their Stage of Life profile page.  Specialized content includes statistics, quotes, videos, financial tips, coupons, news, writing contests, and more tailored to each of the 10 life stages featured.  My Life Rewards® is the free discount program for all Stage of Life users, readers and writers dedicated to providing printable coupons and coupon codes tailored towards each stage of life.

Terms of Service and Privacy