For My Next Act
Women Scripting Life After FiftyBook - 2004
In For My Next Act . . . Karen Baar looks at the challenges and opportunities facing women as they struggle to come to grips with their own mortality, unrealized dreams, the myth of the empty nest, aging parents, and raging hormones. Using her own highly personal and emotional story as a jumping off point, and weaving in the personal stories of dozens of midlife women with interviews of medical, psychological, and social experts, she compares and contrasts life before and after 50, offering readers a clear-eyed perspective on the way life changes for women as their roles and relationships evolve.
Take, for example, Diana, who, at 56, had to rebuild her career and her sense of self after leaving her high-powered advertising job; she now runs her own ad firm. Or consider Erica, who, since turning 50, abandoned her career, left her husband, and became a full-time writer. And meet Gloria, who took a year's leave of absence as a teacher to become a tai chi instructor, and Stephanie, who earned her Ph.D. at 47 and is now nationally recognized in her field.
From these interviews and from further research, Baar realized that most women emerge from their 50s feeling better about themselves, experiencing higher levels of happiness and satisfaction than women at all other stages of life. She found that the hormones, the departing children, the successes, the failures, and the urge to fulfill undeveloped parts of themselves are all colliding, forcing them to reckon with their lives. But the good news is that for most women, life's second act is not awinding down but rather a complex new beginning--which often turns out to be even more fulfilling than the first act.
The 50-something women in these pages, like the author herself, are excited, ambitious, and full of creative ideas. Some have concrete plans for the next act of their lives, while others are still figuring out the path. What they have in common, though, is that each is optimistically focused on the future. Growing up as the first major wave of emancipated women, they're still breaking ground today. This book will encourage readers to plunge bravely into this time of life and become the heroines of their own stories.