Sunday, September 14, 2014
"50 IS the New Fifty: 10 Life Lessons for Women in Second Adulthood"
In keeping with my Life Under Construction theme, Teri - my sister, the other "T" in the T and T Book Club, blogger at Henningsen Happenings, and fellow "second-halfer" - selected Suzanne Braun Levine's 50 is the New Fifty as the September T and T selection. Ms. Levine subtitled her book "10 Life Lessons"; however, while I did learn some interesting lessons, I didn't necessarily learn the lessons she intended. Not all of the lessons applied to me, and Ms. Levine and I do not share all of the same views on theology and/or feminism, so our experiences - and, therefore our lessons, are different. I still gleaned some valuable advice:
At this stage we "recalibrate our place in the world" and our priorities change. We are "inspired to get rid of old baggage...and move on with what we've found worth holding on to." This is exactly what I've been dealing with. My relationship with my children has changed. My relationship with my parents is changing. Even my relationship with my husband is changing (don't worry - it's good) because of all the other changes. The last couple times Dave and I have traveled, we have found that we prefer to carry less with us. Let the paid professionals haul our baggage, and we can enjoy the trip unencumbered. The same theory works in life.
Lesson Two: Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes This was my favorite lesson! I've never been a huge fan of change, mainly because, for 30 years, I've been regularly thrown into change (moving) every few years, whether I've wanted it nor not. Stability and NON-change became the "dream" for me.
For the "second half", I've actually reached a point where I WANT change - but it doesn't have to be total transformation. "While some women can redesign their lives from top to bottom...most of us can only manage small changes at first." Most of what I have been writing about lately are small steps toward bigger changes.
The biggest change I want and need to make is described in the book as "getting out of the emotional management business. Scale back the intensity of your sensitivity to every nuance of mood, your anticipation of every need,and your desire to solve every problem for those you love". My children are now adults. They can't take responsibility for themselves if I refuse to let go.
There were chapters of this book that I felt were pointless - and at least one that I thought was just wrong! - but I was able to look past those and benefit from the rest. I am curious to find her previous book "Inventing the Rest of Our Lives".