Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Mojo at Every Age and Stage of Life

This is going to be a quick posting, one I'd like to write more about, but this week I have been waylaid by a stomach bug and my better instincts are saying "go to bed early while you can."

I am usually annoyed by Newsweek's section on The Boomer Files, mostly because I think the whole magazine could be considered to be The Boomer Files, but this week, following the three pages of pointless soundbites on "Celeb Boomers: 3 Things to Do Before Death" we finally come on a substantial gem, a preview of Sara Davidson's upcoming book Leap! What Will We Do With the Rest of Our Lives?

Though she was a best-selling author, journalist and screenwriter, Davidson found that at age 57, she was at home with no kids and no work. Unable to get hired to write in Hollywood, she entered a phase that she called "the narrows," "the rough passage to the next part of life. In the narrows, you're in the dark, stripped of what you you thought was your identity." That resonated strongly with my perception of the early days of motherhood. Life offers many transitions that call for a mojo recharge! Davidson gathered the courage and energy journey to reinvent herself. As she tried new things, she gave up her expectations of what she thought this phase of life would be like, and embraced the unknown. Some paths were dead-ends, and some hoped-for opportunities were closed off. Finally, she felt the courage and commitment needed to write her new book.

What strikes me most about Davidson's story is that she had to work her way through many discouraging situations before she could find her new path. Even as she was turned down for writing jobs, she created a writing opportunity for herself. Even when others were telling her "You can't," she did it anyway. If she had given up sooner, her story might have sounded like failure. But she kept moving until she found a way forward.

Davidson says that everyone goes through the narrows. In Leap! she interviews over 150 people about this transition. Each person's journey will be different, but Davidson offers hope to her fellow travelers. She says, "I can tell you that there's sunlight and air on the other side. What became clear for me may be utterly different than for you....Expectancy is in the air. The country ahead, from the scouting I've done, is not arid but rich and unpredictable, and I've come to be half in love with uncertainty."

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