Born Single

“Realize that if a door closed, it’s becauselone_tree_i_by_zobo_dodo-d5yc96i

what was behind it wasn’t meant for you.” 
― Mandy Hale

If you Google “single woman”, the first thing that comes up is “single women searching for men of a certain age”. Why is the world “Single” synonymous to “No Life”?.

About two weeks ago   I ended up in an elevator with an older guy, about 70 by looks, in my apartment building. He eyed me carefully and then asked : “Do you live here?” I confirmed. Then he blurted out: “Are you married?”   I passed on the thousands of smart-ass answers that instantly jumped into my brains and just said that I’m single.  The reaction was shocking and amusing at the same time. Suddenly his tired old eyes lit up (kudos Grandpa!) and he looked at me as if a husband would be the only obstacle between two of us. And hen the question “Why?” came.

Many years ago, in the beginning of my career one of my the bosses explained to me what an elevator speech is – describing the core of your business in few sentences – just enough to explain it to someone while you are in the elevator. What has never occurred to me, is that I need an elevator speech, explaining why I am single. I obviously needed it now.

Instead I shrugged my shoulders and smiled at him.

He meant it well. And many other people who have told me this before meant it well too. And probably who have never asked me these questions thought of them. But the question “why?” always puzzled me. What people expect you to say, there is no “because” in being single. It is a fact of life. That just happens.

From people I know closer than that guy I have heard even more insulting statements. And they meant it well, just like that guy. I hear from mothers of my friends quite often: “guys are so stupid, if they don’t have smarts to marry you”. Really? REALLY? These people think and tell me into my face that I am not married because nobody wanted to marry me! And people who do not say it, they think it.

Just few months ago, I had to go through yet another “why are you single” challenge at a much bigger scale than I expected. It was a class reunion after thirty years (yes I am that old). Most of the school mates are my friends even today, I was blessed that way, but there were few who I haven’t seen in all those 30 years. I don’t know if people in general have the same understanding of appropriateness as me but studying in the same school does not give anyone the right to start the investigation 30 years later on why I am single, never married and never had children. And inevitable comes– Oh everything is still ahead of you, Tina Turner got married at the age of 72. People! I am not looking! I AM FINE!

When I accidentally run into distant acquaintances, they always have to ask “and how are kids?” As if they care. They don’t even know I have no kids.  So why ask?

It was like this all my life.

First it was

  • When you get married…

Then it was

  • It is time for you to get married

Then the biological clock thing came.

And now Tina Turner is supposed to be my role model.

At work life is not easier but in a different way. My last employer, when hiring, me admitted out-loud that he is happy I am single. This would allow me to concentrate on the job since I don’t have to worry about kids and their kindergartens and their medical check-ups. I could not believe what I heard. After I started working for him, this turned into an abuse – I was supposed to do weekends and holidays, because everybody else had families. Hey! I have family and friends too and they want to have me over for Christmas too!

This guy said it, others have thought it.

The good thing is that all this does not get to me. Because I KNOW that being single does not mean I don’t have a life.

But nobody believes me, so I have to work on my elevator speech.

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The Door to Death

So it started

originalJust how much social responsibility is enough? Maybe train ourselves to close the tap while brushing the teeth?  Or maybe a hybrid car will do? Or maybe even eco-terrorism can be justified from a certain point of view? How far into the future do we think when we talk about environment?

I watched a documentary on the nuclear waste disposal about an year ago and could not just put it out of my mind since then. It’s called “Into Eternity. A Film for the Future”, by Michael Madsen.  Apparently a spent nuclear fuel repository is being constructed in a place called Onkalo, in Finland. Once finished in 2020 all the nuclear waste from all over the world for another 100 years (up to 2120) will be deposited there and sealed for 100 000 years. This is how long the waist remains toxic.

The questions pressed in the film remained mainly unanswered.  And…

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Sorrowful Brides

Home for a Nomad

imagesVietnam is one of the five remaining countries in the world where the government still tries to convince its population that people will work as much as they can and earn as much as they need, staying super happy about that (communism in a nutshell). They still keep the corpse of the “Great Leader”, Uncle Ho on a display in Hanoi, and after the decline of communism in Russia they even were able to attract Russian qualified out of-job-experts to take care of it.

You still can find people in Vietnam who think Ho Chi Minh was a blessing for their country just the same as Ho_Chi_Minh_Mausoleum_2006some Russians (including current president) claim that Stalin was a great leader.

But mostly Vietnamese just live their lives and try to make it better –like the rest of us. The thing is that for them making life better is a bit harder with…

View original post 291 more words

The Door to Death

originalJust how much social responsibility is enough? Maybe train ourselves to close the tap while brushing the teeth?  Or maybe a hybrid car will do? Or maybe even eco-terrorism can be justified from a certain point of view? How far into the future do we think when we talk about environment?

I watched a documentary on the nuclear waste disposal about an year ago and could not just put it out of my mind since then. It’s called “Into Eternity. A Film for the Future”, by Michael Madsen.  Apparently a spent nuclear fuel repository is being constructed in a place called Onkalo, in Finland. Once finished in 2020 all the nuclear waste from all over the world for another 100 years (up to 2120) will be deposited there and sealed for 100 000 years. This is how long the waist remains toxic.

The questions pressed in the film remained mainly unanswered.  And here’s why: Mankind is 50 000 years old, Egyptian Pyramids are 5 thousand years old. Jesus was born 2000 years ago. Just to show how long is 100 000 years – very long. If life on earth comes to an end tomorrow, in 100 000 years there might be new life forms on this planet. If we are still around by then, we will be definitely   different from today. And which path a mankind is going to choose, path of development or path of self destruction is a another question.OH3pCyQ

The author pushes the scientists to prove to him that the whole idea of tucking away the deadly waste is going to be safe for all 100 000 years. How will people know not to open the door of death to the repository, let’s say in 50 000 years from now? The scientists shrug their shoulders and seem to be giving an answer because they are expected to say something – “We will POSIVA 26052011 Olkiluoto Onkalo, ajotiehave signs in all UN languages” (about 30 of them). Besides there will be certain authorities that will make it their duty to pass the responsibility from generation to generation. What, for 100 000 years? I don’t think so. So many civilizations have died throughout the history that is known to us. Only 5000 years later we do not understand the language of the builders of pyramids and still in the process of decoding it. Scientists and linguists can’t agree of exact meaning of the words in the language of Jesus. So who can insist that by the time the waste is not toxic anymore we will be speaking any of the UN languages?

What if our civilization dies and a new springs up in its place, new and powerful, developed and advanced. Can anyone insist that scientific advancement is impossible without using nuclear power? What if this new civilization achieved much higher levels of development without knowing what nuclear power is? And then, being same curious creatures as we are, they will need to know what is so precious buried in the solid rocks  of Onkalo, that is so elaborately hidden?movie poster

Too far into the future to think or worry about it? Probably, but I can’t get rid of this “What If?”.

What bothered me personally is that one company which is supervising the construction will operate it…. until forever. That should be some company if they are making plans 100 000 years in advance.

Inspiring Explorers- Alexandra David Neel

13The desire of knowing the unknown, exploring the hidden and far away and investigating the magic of the life is the main driving force of the mankind.

It did drive the most amazing woman of the 20th century, Alexandra David Neel to explore the unknown and forbidden since she was very young.

Reading her biography, at least the wiki page, is definitely worth of your time and I will not go into details here.

What amazed me most is that this courageous woman has defied time and pursued her curiosity driven path until she died at the age of 101.

Born and raised in Paris, she runs away from home at the age of 17, travels alone from Brussels to Switzerland, hikes alone through Alps, and reaches Lago Maggiore, where she is fetched by her probably annoyed  mother to bring her back home.

In her early twenties she becomes a political radical  and comes up with the anarchist treaties so menacing that the publishers refuse to touch it, but it nevertheless  gets translated and distributed in 5 languages.  david_neel_04

As soon as she gets hold of inherited money from her godmother she takes off for India and Ceylon at the age of 23 and stays there until she runs out of money.

In between travelling, and her passion for political radicalism and theosophical spiritualism she manages to study in Brussels Royal Conservatory and then later performs on stage as an opera singer.

She travels to India for the second time at the age of 43 and starts studying Sanskrit and receives the honorary title of the Doctor of Philosophy, something unimaginable for an European woman at that time. Year later she starts learning Tibetan, honoring the request of the 13th Dalai Lama.

Alexandra-David-Néel-Her dream of visiting Tibet, the forbidden country, came true twice between the years of 1912 and 1916, for which she was exiled from Sikkim.

WWI was raging in Europe so returning home was out of question, and Alexandra David Neel decides to travel to Japan, determined to return to Tibet.

She does so in 1921 (age 53) disguised as a beggar in the company of her friend and adopted son Aphur Yongden. The journey took 3 years which is described in her book “My Journey to Lhasa”.

House in Digne France

House of Alexandra David Neel in Digne, France

At the age of 57 David Neel returns to France but in 1937, she travels to China, and from there to India in 1946.

Back in France she continues writing and lecturing around Europe.

She died in 1969 at the age of 101 in Digne, France .

Some of my favorite Alexandra David Neel Books:

The secret oral teachings  6993833-M  Buddism its doctrines and methods  IOmmortality and Reincarnation Magic and Mistics of Tibet

Useful links:

The Amazing Tibetan Adventures of Alexandra David-Neel

Alexandra David Neel Books

Alexandra David Neel Official Site