A Theory About Life

I have a theory:

  • 1st 20 years of life: learning “what you’re supposed to do”
  • 2nd 20 years of life: trying to do “what you’re supposed to do”
  • 3rd 20 years of life: learning “what you’re supposed to do” is baloney and consciously seeking to undo your boneheaded decisions that occurred while trying to do “what you’re supposed to do”
  • 4th 20 years of life: coming to terms with both the doing and the undoing, and learning to exist is enough

Of course, mileage may vary.

Brave Little Girl Flees Forced Marriage, Records Powerful Testimonial [gawker.com]

by Neetzan Zimmerman / gawker.com

The longstanding severity of Yemen’s child marriages is gaining some much needed sunlight this week after a young survivor of this shocking custom took it upon herself to speak out on behalf of the untold many who can’t.

Nada al-Ahdal, an 11-year-old from Sana’a, had been promised by her parents to an adult suitor not once, but twice.

The “gifted singer” had been raised by her uncle Abdel Salam al-Ahdal since practically birth, and had been given the opportunity to go to school and learn English.

Abdel Salam, who was also raising a nephew and his aging mother, attempted to guard young Nada from any attempt by her biological parents to marry her off to a rich groom, having experienced the death of his sister by self-immolation over an arranged marriage.

When Nada turned 10, Abdel Salam learned that Nada’s mother and father had indeed sold her off to a Yemeni expat living in Saudi Arabia.

He phoned the groom in a panic, desperate to get him to rescind his offer.

“I called the groom and told him Nada was no good for him,” Abdel Salam told the Lebanese publication NOW. “I told him she did not wear the veil and he asked if things were going to remain like that. I said ‘yes, and I agree because she chose it.’ I also told him that she liked singing and asked if he would remain engaged to her.”

The man was persuaded to call the whole thing off, leaving Nada’s parents “disappointed.”

Months later they arrived in Sana’a, ostensibly to visit their daughter, but in reality were there to kidnap her and attempt another arranged marriage.

Nada asked to be returned to her uncle, but was told she had already been promised to someone.

Saying she would run away, Nada’s family reportedly threatened her with death, but were unable to stop her escape.

She reunited with her uncle, who took her straight to the authorities.

After an investigation was opened into the forced marriage allegations, Nada’s dad suddenly backed off the idea, and permitted her to continue living with her uncle.

“I managed to solve my problem, but some innocent children can’t solve theirs,” Nada said in a confessional released yesterday by MEMRI-TV. “[A]nd they might die, commit suicide, or do whatever comes to mind…It’s not our fault. I’m not the only one. It can happen to any child.”


Sherry Lansing: Envisioning late-life careers [jewishjournal.com]

Posted by Danielle Berrin

In the summer of 2008, at a national gathering of Hadassah in downtown Los Angeles, nearly 2,000 women shrieked with delight as Sherry Lansing, the pioneering first female to run a movie studio, coolly extolled the upside of aging.

“I used to think 60 is the new 40,” Lansing said brazenly, dismissing the pithy phrase as platitude. “Now I say 60 is the new 60!”

Lansing was the keynote speaker that morning, there to discuss her transition from workforce leader — specifically, her 14-year tenure as chairwoman of Paramount Pictures — to philanthropist. Although some say she was poised to become the first bona fide female mogul, Lansing turned 60 and decided instead to pull the curtain on her Hollywood ambitions. “In my late 50s, I started to get bored,” she confessed during a recent interview. “I’d had a wonderful career, I loved movies, I loved my time in the film business — but I felt as if I was repeating myself. The highs weren’t as high; the lows weren’t as low. I had this pull to have a different kind of life.”

Widely regarded by her industry colleagues as both kind and intellectually curious, she sought to develop a more expansive legacy, one that could parlay her career into a late-middle-life calling. By no means did she plan to retire — that would not be her nature — but she sought an encore, a “third act,” as she put it, that would give her life purpose and meaning and enable her to share some of her very considerable fortune with others.

“She was incredibly measured and clear-headed about leaving,” producer and former Disney executive Donald De Line said about her exit. “But I thought, ‘It’s too seductive, the power, the job itself is so thrilling.’ I think everybody kind of thought, ‘OK, that’s what she’s saying — she’s not really gonna go. People can’t give up those jobs. Usually, they go kicking and screaming and have to be pushed out the door. That was not the case with Sherry. She turned 60, and she was gone. And she never looked back.”

But privately, Lansing feared the unscripted day. A notorious workaholic, she agonized over the potential emptiness. “She was concerned that after being so immersed in the world of entertainment that she would maybe feel she didn’t have enough to do,” her friend, the author and philanthropist Cheryl Saban recalled. “She reached out to everybody and asked, ‘What am I gonna do with myself when I retire?’ ”

Click to read the rest of the article at Jewish Journal…

Quote of the Day: Endurance

“Anything that lives were it would seem that nothing could live, enduring extremes of heat and cold, sunlight and storm, parching aridity and sudden cloudbursts, among burnt rocks and shifting sands, any such creature, beast, bird, or flower, testifies to the grandeur and heroism inherent in all forms of life. Including the human. Even in us.”–Edward Abbey