Monday , May 27 2024
If you lack the time and space to feel fulfilled, here’s a way to come of age in mid-life.

Book Review: The Second Journey: The Road Back to Yourself by Joan Anderson

Joan Anderson changed many lives when she wrote A Year by the Sea in 2001. After many publisher rejections she tried just once more, and the book continues to be a tremendous success. Now, in her unique voice, she lets us share in her own life experiences after that year she spent in Cape Cod.

The Second Journey, published in 2009, will likely also change thousands of lives. This chapter in Anderson’s life will be familiar to many of us, men and women in changing roles. As families grow apart, marriages grows old and the soul hungers for more, it's hard to step away and admit we want something more… that serving the people in our lives is not fulfilling. For many in mid-life, work loses any excitement it once had, family roles change, and we step up to become that next generation in our 50s and 60s.

While drawing us in to her own story, Anderson leaves room for the reader to explore their own interior journey, showing us how the transition years beyond age 50 offer more than just winding down a life that’s finished.

Instead, Anderson fights her way through this confusing terrain, and finds ways to fully engage with her self again, filling the void left by losses along the way.

The richness of The Second Journey grows as her quest takes her to a three week stay in a cottage on a remote Scottish island. We may not all have that opportunity, but Anderson is brave to openly share her story and will no doubt continue shaping and changing women's lives with her truth.

Make note of some of the “counterfeit destinations” we’re drawn to when seeking happiness, often because: “We think something is a prize just because we don’t have it."

With renewed spirit, Anderson recognizes:

Many of us inhibit our capacity for growth because the culture encourages us to live lives of uniformity. … Yet more and more, I come in contact with women, particularly in midlife — that uneasy and ill-defined period — who do not want merely to be stagnant but rather desire to be generative. … Today’s woman has the urge to go against the prevailing currents, step out of line.

Besides being a powerful companion for people, especially women, in life’s transitions, The Second Journey includes interesting Appendix material helpful in understanding the types of second journeys people may experience, and an itinerary for what life’s second journey may look, like with its good and bad stages along the way.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Joan Anderson in Chicago. She’s as real as her writing, and cares greatly about her readers. The deeper message in her books is a hope that women will take time to care for themselves, in body, mind, and spirit. Those wishing to change, and move toward “being a determined, impassioned pilgrim on her own individual path” can benefit from The Second Journey.

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