Yes, we did make a mess. Taking responsibility has nothing (and everything) to do with the personal

(SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched The Good Place, and want to, don’t read this post!)

There’s a moment in television series called The Good Place – available in South Africa on Netflix – where Michael (a demon cunningly disguised as Ted Danson) realises why it is that so few people make it into heaven, the good place of the title.

It’s because being a good person is incredibly complicated. No matter what you do, there are unintended consequences. Even when you buy a tomato.
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Saving the world – it’s up to the old and cross

There’s a newsletter I get from Katherine Goldstein, who writes about the issues facing working parents (especially mothers).

In the latest edition, there was a paragraph that struck me with force:

On Friday, I was solo parenting the twins all day. We were all healthy and not yet COVID positive and during their nap time I laser-focused and plowed through finishing an op-ed, hitting my deadline just as I started to hear squeaks on the monitor. I felt proud of “getting it all done” and by the time it was bedtime for the tots I was completely spent – but it was a successful one-day sprint. I then started to think about how so many parents (especially moms) were forced to do this kind of sprint, day after day, month after month, for a year+ with no social support. I feel like the world has already forgotten this, and there is no compensation or reparation for how we’ve kept society going when society doesn’t give a shit about us. I am angry all over again at the government, society, and workplaces who’s message to parents is, “sucks to be you.”  I will never, as long as I live, accept that this is OK. Tuning back into this injustice reminds me of why I do what I do. (my emphasis)

I am long past the stage of racing to get things done while the toddler sleeps – but I remember it well. Now that my toddler is 19 and holding down a job, I am able to work at my own pace, make lists in the knowledge I will get things done, plan whole weekends where I will make a quilt or read a book.
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The ten circles of South African hell

Stuck in a queue, I thought about Dante’s nine circles of hell.

Actually, I thought it was seven circles of hell. But I now know it is nine because I have looked it up. It turns out the nine circles of hell represent nine places where people are punished for various sinful ways in their lives. For the record, these are what the nine circles are:

First Circle of Hell- Limbo
Second Circle of Hell- Lust
Third Circle of Hell- Gluttony
Fourth Circle of Hell- Greed
Fifth Circle of Hell- Wrath
Sixth Circle of Hell- Heresy
Seventh Circle of Hell- Violence
Eighth Circle of Hell- Fraud
Ninth Circle of Hell- Treachery
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You can’t have it all – but why do you want it?

In journalism, the job that everyone aspires to is to be The Editor.

And yet, I have twice turned down an offer that would have given me that title.

Both times the offer was to be the editor of a South African news website, and both times I said no because I didn’t trust the person making the offer.

At least that’s what I told myself at the time. Thinking back on it now, I think that lack of trust was well-placed, but I also know that I feared the responsibility that such a post would bring. I wasn’t sure I was up to the job. I know my strengths and they are in operations rather than visionary leadership.
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