Saturday, August 29, 2009

The 43rd Year, continued

Its been a while since I’ve written anything that has to do with the essential nature of this blog – that being the feeling of complete insignificance that the coming of my 43rd year brought.  But last weekend, I experienced that feeling again.  Last weekend, I read every word of every article in the New York Sunday Times Magazine – an issue dedicated to women’s issues.  One article in particular struck me as it was about women in third world countries – the circumstances under which they suffer and the assertion that the world would no doubt be a better place if these women were educated and given the opportunity to thrive.  The article also talked about how a tiny loan through a microfinance organization can and does change a woman’s life.

I microfinance.  I first started with a donation to an organization called FINCA.  And then my friend, John, gave me a gift certificate to  John’s gift sat unused for weeks while I got caught up in the trivia of my daily life.  And then one day about six weeks ago I logged on.  Kiva allows you to choose – not only the country you want to loan to but also the individual.  And so I scrolled through lives of people in Congo, Nicaragua, Ethiopia.   I chose two recipients – one woman who was starting an embroidery business and one who needed money to buy an extra goat for her already successful goat milk business.  And I felt good.

But the articles started me thinking – what can I do OTHER than making a loan here or there via Kiva or sponsoring a child through PlanUsa or some other organization?  What can I do to make a difference?  The frustration of 43 is that I feel I should have done something significantly more important by now – significantly more impactful.  This is NOT a plea for accolades.  I know I’m a great stepmom, a great friend, a great wife.  I’m good at my job and have made both decent and shitty movies.  And that’s all fine.  But surely there must be something more.  I’m not the MOST powerful woman in Hollywood but I am surely also not the least.   It is not possible that I cannot come up with some way to focus my energy, my contacts, my passion toward something that will do some good in the world – something that involves more than just writing a check.  If I can create awareness (and then inspire OTHER people to write checks), isn’t that the best use of my 43rd year?

 And so on this unbearably hot day, I am considering the future.  On this day when the air smells like the city is a giant garbage barbecue, I’m trying to figure out what’s next.  I fear I will fail.  I fear I lack follow-through.  I fear I won’t find a way to do enough.  Maybe there is no way to do enough.  But that’s what I’m thinking about on this day of my 43rd year…

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