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Gail Sheehy

  • Speed as a drug disorganizes the personality; speed as the goal of information dissemination commits a subtler crime. People are mainlining our words. We rarely read of the rational alternatives, only of the commands that all must change or else. This is a prescription for public panic.

  • ... by operating on the principle of human and material obsolescence, America eats her history alive.

  • You may never know when things start to go bad, but when things are worse you know it.

  • With the only certainty in our daily existence being change, and a rate of change growing always faster in a kind of technological leapfrog game, speed helps people to think they are keeping up.

  • The one thing prostitution is not is a 'victimless crime.' It attracts a wide species of preying criminals and generates a long line of victims, beginning with the most obvious and least understood — the prostitute herself.

  • It is a silly question to ask a prostitute why she does it ... These are the highest-paid 'professional' women in America.

  • Into this anonymous pit they climb — a fumbling, frightened, pathetic man and a cold, contemptuous, violated woman — prepared to exchange for twenty dollars no more than ten minutes of animal sex, untouched by a stroke of their common humanity.

  • As we reach midlife in the middle thirties or early forties, we are not prepared for the idea that time can run out on us, or for the startling truth that if we don't hurry to pursue our own definition of a meaningful existence, life can become a repetition of trivial maintenance duties.

  • Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.

  • Changes are not only possible and predictable, but to deny them is to be an accomplice to one's own unnecessary vegetation.

  • No sooner do we think we have assembled a comfortable life than we find a piece of ourselves that has no place to fit in.

  • We are not unlike a particularly hardy crustacean. ... With each passage from one stage of human growth to the next we, too, must shed a protective structure. We are left exposed and vulnerable — but also yeasty and embryonic again, capable of stretching in ways we hadn't known before. These sheddings may take several years or more. Coming out of each passage, though, we enter a longer and more stable period in which we can expect relative tranquillity and a sense of equilibrium regained.

  • Leaders are people we as followers want to regard with awe as the fullest flowering of our own possibilities.

  • Creativity can be described as letting go of certainties.

  • Adolescents are like cockroaches: They come out the minute you leave town, crawl the walls, feed indiscriminately, reproduce alarmingly unless drugged, and will certainly outlast you.

  • My mother had demonstrated that the best way to defeat the numbing ambivalence of middle age is to surprise yourself — by pulling off some cartwheel of thought or action never even imagined at a younger age.

  • ... children may need challenges and high-risk conditions in order to develop the self-generated immunity to trauma that characterizes survivors. To be tested is good. The challenged life may be the best therapist.

  • To hear how special and wonderful we are is endlessly enthralling.

    • Gail Sheehy,
    • A Woman's Spirit
    • ()
  • The secret in the search for meaning is to find your passion and pursue it.

  • The delights of self-discovery are always available.

    • Gail Sheehy
  • When men reach their sixties and retire, they go to pieces. Women go right on cooking.

    • Gail Sheehy
  • Be willing to shed parts of your previous life. For example, in our 20s we wear a mask; we pretend to know more than we do. We must be willing as we get older to shed our cocktail party phoniness and admit, 'I am who I am.'

    • Gail Sheehy
  • The secret of a leader lies in the tests he has faced over the whole course of his life and the habit of action he develops in meeting those tests.

    • Gail Sheehy
  • Would that there were an award for people who come to understand the concept of enough. Good enough. Successful enough. Thin enough. Rich enough. Socially responsible enough. When you have self-respect you have enough, and when you have enough, you have self-respect.

    • Gail Sheehy

Gail Sheehy, U.S. writer, social critic


Full name: Gail Henion Sheehy.