Midlife Hack: Self-Help Books

So I’ve been trying to find the perfect midlife book. Why? Because reading is how I midlife crisis, okay?

Right, so . . . Where was I? Yes, the perfect midlife book.

I could just end this post now and say it doesn’t exist (it doesn’t), but I have another 27 minutes to kill so Ima drag it out a bit more.

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m a bit book obsessed. I subscribe to book podcasts, read book blogs, add book websites to my Feedly, and, yes, I actually read books. In between all the other stuff. 68 of them last year.

Just this morning, I read a post on Book Riot about “Finding Your Place in the World.” Cool! I thought. I want to read something about finding my place. Where is my place? It better not be on the shelf with reading glasses and stool softeners (although I do need at least one of those); it better be by a large body of water somewhere . . . Or in Rome. 

But no.

Or rather, who knows!

The article was about twenty-somethings figuring how to adult. It’s always about twenty-somethings trying to figure out something or the other. And by the way, how hard is it to adult? You pay bills, you work at a job you hate because it pays said bills, and you let your body go because between working and paying all those bills, there’s simply no time for exercise–maybe a donut or two–but not a whole round of exercise–piece of cake! 

So lots about twenty-somethings, but nothing for me, for us.

I even set up a Google alert with “Midlife” “Midlife Woman” “Women at Midlife” (one can never be too careful) as search terms, and here are some of the hits I got:

“A New Divide in American Death – White men are also dying in midlife at unexpectedly high rates . . .” Oh whew! That’s a relief!

“A Premature and Unnatural Death in Rural Oklahoma for a Woman at Midlife”
Premature, okay, but unnatural? What could it be? “Midlife woman stumbles over unwieldy cankles and falls to her death”? I was too scared to read on.

Then this gem: “Ageing with Attitude: Love of Stilletos Could Be Your Achilles Heel.” Okay, we’re getting warmer–“Attitude,” “Love,” “Stilletos,” these are all words I can get behind. I clicked through. Big mistake. I (along with Claire Underwood from the House of Cards) was severely scolded for even thinking of wearing six-inch Manolos around the house as I “approached 50.” 

You get the picture: Manolos = No; Death = Hell Yeah!

The closest I have come to a book about real women at midlife is the (slim) memoir, A Year by the Sea, about a woman who left her home, her husband, her children to go to a small town in Maine and shuck clams (or was it oysters?) for a living and “find herself.” (It’s actually a very good book, so shame on me for making a cheap joke at its expense–go buy the book!)

There is simply nothing for us–not anything inspiring at any rate. It’s all about healthcare and estate planning and “taking up a hobby.”

I know this trope of midlife, this “portal” as The Mind Body Code author Mario Martinez calls it, is fallacious. It’s just a way to categorize people, to put them in a box–Ah, midlife! It’s all downhill from here on out. But I don’t feel that way, and I know you don’t either.

Perhaps you’re a bit ahead of me, a bit more evolved. If so, let me hear your thoughts. Share with me (in the comments below) any books or blogs or ideas that turn midlife on its head from being the beginning of the end to being the beginning of something new. 

I would love to hear from you, learn from you! 

Photo Credit: http://digitalbloggers.com/drjill/files/2013/10/self-help-book-stack.jpg 

Categories: Midlife

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6 replies

  1. So strange that this is true. Women in midlife prop up the book industry, do we not? Where are these books? But it is possible that these books may not satisfy us in the end. Perhaps it’s easier to market to twenty-thirty somethings whose futures are all equally vague and hopeful. But how about us? We who know how complicated and varied life is. How do you market to that?

    • Right? It’s like we only want to read things about our lives in retrospect–nostalgia–but nothing that’s current, and certainly nothing that’s real. LMK if you find something. I have read books by women at midlife–“Thrive” by Ariana Huffington is pretty good, and “The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp is good, too, but neither addresses the m-word directly. Maybe that’s just as well because who needs to sit in that box.

  2. Maybe this means you need to write the book!

  3. Yes, you can write that book! Or make it an anthology and have several women write. Personally, I like the humorous books on midlife, the Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck type. You are funny, smart, and write well.
    PS> I do have an MS about a woman approaching midlife: “A DUI & her family unraveling were not on her vision board.”

  4. Goddesses Never Age, The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being
    by CHRISTIANE NORTHRUP, M.D. Hmmm?? Haven’t read it but I do read her blogs sometimes.

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