A photograph by Karen Knorr from her collection “Fables” all taken at the Musee Carnavalet in Paris.  I suppose this is mainly interesting to me because only a few days before I found out about her collection, I had walked up those steps.  The building itself (right in the centre of Marais) is gorgeous and best of all, the museum entrance is free.

I am a big fan of Seth Godin.  I don’t own any of his books, but I regularly check out his blog.  Even though I do not work in marketing, nor do I own or run a business, I find his ideas, usually distilled into a few short paragraphs, pretty thought-provoking. Usually they give me a different way of looking at things or of doing things.  I find that the point of what he says can often be boiled down to treating those around us better.

Seth’s post “The False Solace of Vilification”  really struck a chord with me. Perhaps because I see and hear people all the time (myself included) who immediately feel the need to lay blame when something goes wrong and throw out criticism and hate.  It is difficult to step out of the immediate feelings of anger, especially when everything has fallen out from under us, and see the bigger picture of being constructive, rather than bringing everyone else down along with us. And he’s right, emotional maturity is grossly underrated.

Not striking out in rage when something happens, and in turn not spewing back rage when someone treats us unfairly, is I think one of the most difficult things to master. I envy the patience and understanding of those who have suffered more than I probably ever will (for which I am grateful) and yet are not filled with rage or hate or thoughts of revenge (see: Emmanuel Jal, Chris Abani, Buddhist monks who have been tortured at the hands of the Chinese government).

It’s time to try and be a better human.

Interesting New York Times article on The Female Factor.  The stats on women in the workforce were surprising to me.  I think more women who are just a little bit older than me (say late twenties and thirties) are demanding that they be able to work full-time and be mothers, and that there be social benefits or workplace benefits in place to help them do both.

It is striking to me that women in Germany have had to choose between a career and a family for so long.  As noted in the article, birthrates are linked with the ability of women being able to take maternity leave, have access to quality childcare and limit any negative effects on their career.  It is fantastic that through the childcare credit Germany offers, men are encouraged to also take time off when a child is born.

In contrast, Japan offers very little in the way of maternity leave or support to women who choose to have children.  Young women today often choose having a career over motherhood, since having both puts women in an untenable position. I would argue that this is a major influence on the significantly declining birthrate that is making some worry about the future of Japan.

Why we travel

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.”

Sylvia Plath

Found this just in time for the start of the new year. It’s a short easy read, with contributions from amazing people with amazing ideas, and was compiled by Seth Godin. Get it from his blog.