For Women on the Journey of Their Lives: Background and Book
The journey toward the Fall 2020 publication of my #1 Amazon Best-Seller A Call to Further Becoming: The New Declaration from Women Over 50 began several years ago. It has changed my life, and from what readers are saying, its message is changing the lives of others, as well.
I became aware of an extraordinary happening several years ago. Women over age 50 — my clients, friends, leaders in corporate workshops, and me, seemed to be deeply questioning traditional post-career models of life. For many, the well-worn picture of traditional retirement was unattractive.
Repeatedly I heard similar themes:
* Strong desires to continue contributing to the world, though not necessarily in the same way.
* Re-definitions of purpose.
* Healthy resistance to assumptions about age and relevance.
* Restlessness fueled by physical and intellectual vibrancy, with long lives ahead and no desire to “wind down.”
* An attraction to experiment in creative new ways.
* The fun of continued learning without pressure to produce something.
* In some cases, disorientation about identity.
* And a deep desire for spiritual exploration and development.
And all this happening alongside the collective urgency for feminine models of leadership in the world.
Sensing my own satisfied closure on 28 years in the corporate world, I wondered if the personal shake-up I was feeling was a norm for women like me. That’s when I stumbled on the work of social anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson. Bateson announces in Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom that for the first time in human history, there’s a whole new phase of life between ages 50-70+. Those of us living it are literally pioneering a new way of being. She calls it “adulthood II” – the stage after adulthood I but before entering elderhood.
Whether we know it or not, we are laying down new tracks for what this stage is about for women everywhere.
In 2016/17, I interviewed 100 women ages 50-70+ across a mix of racial, socioeconomic, professional, geographic and religious backgrounds. The purpose was to find the answers to these questions:
* What’s happening in the lives of women age 50+, especially those who have had strongly-defined careers and are approaching what used to be called retirement years?
* Are there new markers for this new stage of life? If so, what are they?
* How are we navigating the big “what now” question?
* Is traditional retirement (ease, travel, volunteering, relaxation) a thing of the past?
* What’s most important to women at this stage of life?
* And … what are we learning as we pioneer this new territory that other women can learn from?
Ten themes emerged that I call Declarations. And they all lead up to one affirmation: that a new impulse for us over age 50 is a call to further becoming.
A Call to Further Becoming: The New Declaration from Women Over 50 was published in September 2020. It reveals details of ten themes ~ calls for us to continue self-actualizing, expressing our creativity, and honoring the tremendous feminine wisdom we possess that is so needed in the world.
It is also a message to our surrounding culture. We are here in a whole new way at this stage, and we’re not going back!
I invite you to read it, be affirmed by 100 women’s voices, and check out my work to consider how it might support you.