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Inventing the Rest of Our Lives: Women in Second Adulthoodby Suzanne Levine
Synopses & Reviews
Inventing the Rest of Our Lives identifies and names a journey and a new stage of life for women over fifty — Second Adulthood. This generation of women, 37 million strong, doesn't fit into any of the existing models for women who have fulfilled all the roles already assigned to them — daughter, wife, mother, employee, volunteer, all around self-sacrificing nurturer. With a longer life expectancy, a healthier lifestyle, and a first adulthood full of empowerment and experience, they are taking charge.
This new Second Adulthood is a life change that gives women a second chance to grow up again, free of the limitations and expectations of their first adulthoods. Drawing on personal stories, cutting-edge science, up-to-date trend analysis, woman-tested wisdom, and her own brave, sometimes painful, sometimes very funny struggles with life after her fiftieth birthday, Levine shows that Second Adulthood women are not the same women they have been so far, only older; they are really different. At midlife, women really do start to see the world differently, which the latest brain research is proving to be literally true.
From work to love, self-discovery to civic duty, health to economics, Levine examines every aspect of women's lives and shares stories — scary, powerful, challenging, joyful — of women who have found insights and solutions that work for them. She reports on and explores the phenomenon of "the fertile void," the process of "saying no, and letting go" and the defiance of what she calls "the fuck-you fifties," as well, as the recalibrations of relationships, intimacy, and sense of self that women experience.
Inventing the Rest of Our Lives doesn't read like a health guide or a careerguide or a therapy guide, though it tackles all these issues. What it does do is offer role models and a roadmap for a journey that — without the kind of awareness this book engenders — can make freedom feel like chaos and promise feel like wishful thinking. It's a companion and a handbook that helps readers explore this new frontier and find their own answers to the three big questions each woman wrestles with — What matters? What works? What's next?
"Levine has a message for aging boomer women: if you're feeling out of sorts, confused, in a rut, there's nothing wrong with you: you're just entering your 'Second Adulthood,' a time, she says, when women can remake themselves. Levine, Ms. magazine's editor for 17 years and now a contributor to More magazine (and author of Father Courage: What Happens When Men Put Family First), draws on the latest research on hormonal and other physical changes women begin to go through in their 40s, and draws on 50 in-depth interviews she conducted with women in their middle years to show how they can improve their lives. Levine's subjects describe a time of confusion (the 'fertile void') that led them to re-sort their lives, revise priorities and make new decisions about work and intimate relationships. Samantha, for example, left an alcoholic husband after decades of marriage. Joanie, a traditional wife and mother, renegotiated her marriage and bought herself an apartment in New York City, becoming a fund-raiser for a dance company. Although Levine did interview some women with fewer economic resources and she discusses the importance of financial planning, much of the self-discovery stories will resonate best with women who are financially comfortable. Her gung-ho go-rappelling-off-the-mountain tone may grate on some women while inspiring others." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"An upbeat guide for women who are into their 50s or beyond....Not much here that's really new, but it's all packaged in an especially easy-to-take, down-to-earth, yet uplifting way." Kirkus Reviews
"Rich in vision, intelligence and heart, this valuable book...helps each reader forge her own unique path." Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., author of The Dance of Anger
From work to love, self-discovery to civic duty, health to economics, Levine examines every aspect of the lives of women over 50 and shares stories — scary, powerful, challenging, and joyful — of women who have found insights and solutions that work for them.
New brain research is proving it: Women at midlife really do start to see the world differently. Some 37 million women now entering their fifties and sixties—a unique generation—are refashioning their lives, with dramatic results. They have fulfilled all the prescribed roles— daughter, wife, mother, employee, but they’re not ready to retire. They want to experience more. Suzanne Braun Levine gives us a fun, smart, and tremendously informative road map through the challenging and uncharted territory that lies ahead.
The first editor of Ms. magazine helps women address the three crucial questions of second adulthood: What matters? What works? Wha‛s next?
New brain research is proving it: Women at midlife really do start to see the world differently. Some 37 million women now entering their fifties and sixties┬—a unique generation┬—are refashioning their lives, with dramatic results. They have fulfilled all the prescribed roles┬— daughter, wife, mother, employee, but the‛re not ready to retire. They want to experience more. Suzanne Braun Levine gives us a fun, smart, and tremendously informative road map through the challenging and uncharted territory that lies ahead.
“Levine takes us beyond the frontier of our own expectations and into a new and hope-filled stage of life” ┬—Gloria Steinem
“I found so many resonances with my own experiences in this book┬ů It will have a huge impact and will clarify so many things for so many women”┬—Carol Gilligan, Ph.D., author of In a Different Voice and The Birth of Pleasure
“Suzanne Braun Levine made me understand why I always envied older women . . . life just gets better┬—more outrageous, more radical, more passionate, less fraught, wiser, deeper, and kinder” ┬—Eve Ensler, creator of The Vagina Monologues
“A you-go-girl manual for the menopause crowd”┬—People
About the Author
SUZANNE BRAUN LEVINE is a writer, editor, and nationally recognized authority on women, media matters, and family issues.
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