In this inspiring new book, Suzanne Braun Levine follows her groundbreaking Inventing the Rest of Our Lives with fresh insights, research, and practical advice on the challenges and unexpected rewards for women in their fifties and beyond. Rich with anecdotes from the front lines of self-reinvention, this book captures the voices of women who are confronting change, renegotiating their relationships, and discovering who they are now that they are finally grown up. Among the lessons are: “No” is not a four-letter Word, on the energizing power of standing up for what you mean and what you want; Do unto yourself as you have been doing unto others, a new way of getting yourself to the top of the to-do list; and Your marriage can make it, reassurance that changing your outlook doesn’t have to mean walking away from your marriage. Shaped by Levine’s empathetic and lively voice, this book is about wisdom, survival, joy, and camaraderie. It reads like a conversation among women who know what they are talking about and want to share what they have discovered.
A CONVERSATION WITH SUZANNE BRAUN LEVINE
Q. How do you gather the life stories that you use throughout the book?
Writing books about my life and yours, gives me an excuse to butt in to people’s lives. I eavesdrop on conversations; I ask impertinent questions of women I meet; I ask very personal questions of my friends. And I use my network and the internet to find women with experiences to share. I am amazed and touched by how forthright, funny, and smart we all are.
Q. What changes have you found the way age and gender are treated in our culture? What hasn’t changed enough?
Having grown up with the Women’s Movement I am stunned as how dramatically things have changed between my first adulthood and my daughter’s. Two things haven’t changed anywhere near enough, though. One is the burden of care-giving that falls upon women of all ages without any support from the society we live in. The other is ageism. It is very hard to convince yourself that you are as happy and fulfilled as you feel when the world around you is blowing you off. We have to make sure that we don’t make things worse by buying into the youth obsession.
Q. How has your life changed since you began writing about women in Second Adulthood?
Can you imagine how exciting it is to be gaining insight into my own life from hundreds of other women, dozens of experts, and some of the smartest writers and researchers around? In figuring out what is going on for our generation of women, I have figured out a lot about the confusion, fear, and expectations that hit me as I entered this new stage of life. By writing about it I have found my own voice for the first time in my life.
Q. Are you writing another book on Second Adulthood? What will you be exploring next?
My next book is about – are your ready for this? – LOVE. The more I learn about how we are getting to know ourselves and how we are redefining women’s experience, the more I am aware of changes we are making in the way we love, whom we love, and how we define intimacy, devotion, passion, and commitment. I am encountering wonderful stories that I am sure will surprise and enlighten you.