We’re all on a heroine’s journey that’s anything but a straight path.
From “Becoming of Age”

One mark of wisdom is the ability to distinguish between who we are educated to be and who we truly are.
Mary Pipher

Once in awhile dreams come true.

I have been fortunate in my life to have a few. My most recent cause for celebration is the publication of my book Becoming of Age, based on this blog.

Why would I write a book? 

I had never imagined myself as a writer, but the process began when I chronicled my training for the New York City Marathon in 2014.  The marathon represented an extraordinary event. Weekly emails to a few friends morphed into a blog, Running at 60, with the help of a friend who convinced a very reluctant me to share my experiences more widely. After the marathon, I realized how much I had enjoyed writing and wanted to continue; but what to write about?

Embarking on my sixth decade of life, a time of transition, gave me the answer. Writing not only helped make sense of the shifts in my life but also gave form and legitimacy to disparate free-floating thoughts and emotions- both joyful and anxiety provoking- that were sometimes difficult to articulate.  It helped me figure things out and better understand changes I observed in myself and other women without attaching unhelpful labels to them. Over time, writing came to play a central part of my life. 

Writing sparked a life re-design that has taken me “around the world through heat and fog and rain and snow…” * to lead me  where I am now.  Still figuring things out; mostly at ease with not knowing where the path ultimately leads; and beginning to know the place where I started for the first time.

The new blog Becoming of Age was my way of exploring and honouring women’s experiences in navigating the twists and turns of later life. The book expands on and synthesizes themes of the blog to describe elements of our own personal heroine’s journey.

But why write about women’s experiences in later life or what I refer to as the Third Stage? Because it is a time when women can be at their most powerful and experience extraordinary possibilities.  Many people, including older women, do not realize this. In fact, it’s taken me time to appreciate the gifts of the Third Stage.

While amazed at women’s potential for a vibrant life, I am dismayed by the perceived limitations associated with aging- the societal belief that we are on track for decline and irrelevance.  It’s utter rubbish of course, and yet the effects can be experienced by women as feelings of invisibility, through ageist remarks and jokes, or frustration at not being taken seriously.

And yet how can we not be powerful? All the wisdom, knowledge, and skills we have acquired over a lifetime can be brought to bear to whatever we wish to do and however we wish to be.  That’s power. 

Despite obligations and responsibilities, many of us finally have some breathing room to pause and exercise choice. We can do things in our own way and in our own time, trusting ourselves to navigate the ups and downs and complexities of life.  I also believe we can do it more easily – and more enjoyably-with a supportive community of women friends who have our back.

There are possibilities that do not diminish with time and they are within our reach. In reaching for those possibilities, we become the heroine in our own story.  Fully awake to life’s moments.

The heroine’s journey is the story of a woman becoming of age, living life on her own terms.  It’s not a straight path nor is it always easy but along the way, the heroine is the one who takes risks and laughs and loves fiercely. She lives in a way that is true and honours her soul. All of it creates, in the words of Mary Pipher, a resplendent narrative that changes as we grow, becoming more and more who we are.  Hopefully with lots of dreams that come true.

I decided that was worth writing about!

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of my book, contact me at becomingofage98@gmail.com

*This refers to a quote by Deborah Keenan: “This path, this road that is one perfect straight line even if it goes around the world through heat and fog and rain and snow and it’s my life I keep thinking. It’s my life.”

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