Weekend Readings – on the quarterlife crisis, women and happiness, and more commencement speeches

1. Welcome to your quarterlife crisis, Tribal Workers, 25 and over

The quarterlife crisis may seem contrived and self-indulgent for a lot of people. Yet for many my age and generation, this is anything but a cliché. The burden of been granted so many choices theoretically, yet in practice having access of so few, is a common woe.  Before the recession, the task of processing an over-abundance of choices, feeding our ambitions and egos while looking for that elusive balance were the problem du jour.  Nowadays, it’s the feeling that with an economy in the dumps, our time might never come.

Since posting the Eye Weekly piece on Twitter, I’ve heard from many that resonated with the piece. Yet the piece by FT is just as relevant for our over-achieving, ultra-competitive friends. The last piece reminds us that at the end of it all, there’s only so much moaning allowed, and we just need to grow the hell up at some point.

2. Liberated and unhappy, Dominant women in the bedroom, Life in a matriarchal society

I’m full of stereotypes this week. First the age card, then the gender card.

So research has shown that although women have achieved more rights, gotten more educated, treated more equally in the workplace, and paid much higher salaries than before, we are, sadly, generally less happy than our mothers. This of course, brings up the point on whether subjective happiness is the goal after all, and general inquiries on the very idea of happiness itself. Then Psychology Today enlightens us with what the delightful observation that socially dominant women prefer fantasies of submission, while attaching a picture of Maggie Gyllenhaal crawling in Mr. Grey’s office (the Secretary, by the way, is an excellent movie).

While we are on the subject of gender politics, in case you’re interested in what a matriarchal society looks like, check out the Der Spiegel article on life for the Musuo in Southern China. I’ve encountered a group of the miao minority in Guizhou, also southern China, that does indeed practice matriarchy. The whole village perched above a rice paddy is on display for tourists (something I feel conflicted about). And the women do indeed call the shots, from taking tourists around for a tour, to negotiating the prices of meals and lodging. The men are then dispatched to chop vegetables and clean the bathroom. It’s an alternate universe for sure.

3. Tis the season for commencement speeches. Check out what Wendy Kopp at Washington University, Muhammad Yunus at MIT, Stephanie Nolen at University of King’s College.

Commencement speeches are great, because most of those that give it remember little of what they were told when they graduated, and therefore try to impart something more inspirational, excitable, and generally more entertaining than their predecessors. It’s hardly surprising the central theme for this year’s commencement speech touches on the issue of adversity and uncertainty. All three speeches here came from individuals with big dreams, little means, but persistence that eventually did change those around them.

Comments on this entry are closed.