I’m one of those fossils who believes “feminist” is a good word. That’s why I couldn’t resist an invitation to attend a “Lean-In Circle,” recently. A group of professional women were meeting to discuss Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In and to talk about her views on why career women find it hard to take a seat at the executive table. Despite my empathy for the anxieties these women expressed about balancing a career with the demands of a family, I came away happy. The Feminist Movement had done its work. We’d given women greater opportunities than they’d had in the past. That’s what counted.
Feeling validated, I came home and picked up a current copy of More magazine. That was my downfall. Between its pages were facts grim enough to turn my brown eyes blue. First, I learned the optimism I felt wasn’t real. It was a symptom of being 76 and brain damaged.
Some neuroscientists believe we grow happier at least in part because of changes in the frontal lobes of our brains. Teenagers whose lobes are still developing and older people whose lobes have started to deteriorate tend to discount bad news and believe it doesn’t apply to them..which makes them happier. (“How to find happiness at any age,” by Lindsy Van Gelder, More, 5/13 pg.80.)
Second, the survey that accompanied the article reported that women between the ages of 40-60 were less happy today than they were in the 70s (Ibid pg. 80)
The words mea culpa sprang to mind but I resisted saying them. Why should I? Neither Gloria Steinem nor I nor any of our peers had been consulted. The views of feminists weren’t to be trusted, apparently. Being brain dead and happy, our answers would have skewed the survey.
Stung by this discrimination, I turned the page. I’m glad I did. More was recruiting readers for a new wine club. Age didn’t matter. Money did. If alcohol cost me a few more brain cells who cares? Why worry? Be happy.
(Courtesy of www.guardian.co.uk)