The Art of Midlife: Courage and Creative Living for Women

By Linda N. Edelstein | Go to book overview

1
FREEDOM IS DAILY, PROSE- BOUND, ROUTINE REMEMBERING" An Overview of Midlife Creativity

What I wanted was to be myself again.

-- Sandra Hochman

So in the Long run, it didn't matter if you had been good or not. The girls in high school who had "gone all the way" had not wound up living in back alleys in shame and disgrace, like she thought they would; they wound up happily or unhappily married, just like the rest of them.

-- Fannie Flagg

I have been present at many inspiring moments. I have glimpsed change and growth in the women with whom I work, and feel a deep joy at these times. This book tries to capture the experiences of some of the women I have worked with and many others I have met. The Art of Midlife: Courage and Creative Living for Women examines the midlife years of ordinary women who imaginatively recreated their lives. I have included psychological understanding of how they did it, how they transformed "I'm getting older and I'm stuck" into "Life is precious and it belongs to me!" This transformation is a production in three acts -- relinquishing the old, reconnection to the self, and refocusing the future. The steps also refer to the emphasis of our attention -- relinquishing refers to our pasts, reconnection looks at our past and present lives, and refocusing accentuates the present and future.

The work of the past is to relinquish youth and all that it means to each of us. At midlife, normal aging requires us to let go, to mourn. Letting go frees us from roles in our lives that have become outdated or ill fitting and liberates energy for a full life in the present.

Reconnecting to ourselves involves understanding the women we are today. We haven't just grown older; we have also grown up. Perhaps our lives now require new directions or simplicity; perhaps we have misplaced some

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