1、When I decided to quit my full time employment it never occurred to me that I might become a part of a new international trend. A lateral move that hurt my pride and blocked my professional progress prompted me to abandon my relatively high profile career although, in the manner of a disgraced government minister, I covered my exit by claiming "I wanted to spend more time with my family".
2、Curiously, some two-and-a-half years and two novels later, my experiment in what the Americans term "downshifting" has turned my tired excuse into an absolute reality. I have been transformed from a passionate advocate of the philosophy of "have it all", preached by Linda Kelsey for the past seven years in the pages of she magazine, into a woman who is happy to settle for a bit of everything.
3、I have discovered, as perhaps Kelsey will after her much-publicized resignation from the editorship of She after a build-up of stress, that abandoning the doctrine of "juggling your life", and making the alternative move into "downshifting" brings with it far greater rewards than financial success and social status. Nothing could persuade me to return to the kind of life Kelsey used to advocate and I once enjoyed: 12-hour working days, pressured deadlines, the fearful strain of office politics and the limitations of being a parent on "quality time".
4、In America, the move away from juggling to a simpler, less materialistic lifestyle is a well-established trend. Downshifting — also known in America as "voluntary simplicity" — has, ironically, even bred a new area of what might be termed anti-consumerism. There are a number of bestselling downshifting self-help books for people who want to simplify their lives; there are newsletters, such as The Tightwad Gazette, that give hundreds of thousands of Americans useful tips on anything from recycling their cling-film to making their own soap; there are even support groups for those who want to achieve the mid-′90s equivalent of dropping out.
5、While in America the trend started as a reaction to the economic decline — after the mass redundancies caused by downsizing in the late ′80s — and is still linked to the politics of thrift, in Britain, at least among the middle class downshifters of my acquaintance, we have different reasons for seeking to simplify our lives.
6、For the women of my generation who were urged to keep juggling through the ′80s, downshifting in the mid-′90s is not so much a search for the mythical good life — growing your own organic vegetables, and risking turning into one — as a personal recognition of your limitations.
7、A great deal of attention is being paid today to the so-called digital divide — the division of the world into the info(information) rich and the info poor. And that divide does exist today. My wife and I lectured about this looming danger twenty years ago. What was less visible then, however, were the new, positive forces that work against the digital divide. There are reasons to be optimistic.
8、There are technological reasons to hope the digital divide will narrow. As the Internet becomes more and more commercialized, it is in the interest of business to universalize access — after all, the more people online, the more potential customers there are. More and more governments, afraid their countries will be left behind, want to spread Internet access. Within the next decade or two, one to two billion people on the planet will be netted together. As a result, I now believe the digital divide will narrow rather than widen in the years ahead. And that is very good news because the Internet may well be the most powerful tool for combating world poverty that we′ve ever had.
9、Doctors have used that principle in recent years to justify using high doses of morphine to control terminally ill patients′ pain, even though increasing dosages will eventually kill the patient. Nancy Dubler, director of Montefiore Medical Center, contends that the principle will shield doctors who "until now have very, very strongly insisted that they could not give patients sufficient mediation to control their pain if that might hasten death."
10、There exists a social and cultural disconnect between journalists and their readers, which helps explain why the "standard templates" of the newsroom seem alien to many readers. In a recent survey, questionnaires were sent to reporters in five middle size cities around the country, plus one large metropolitan area. Then residents in these communities were phoned at random and asked the same questions.