“If you wish to persuade me, you might think my thoughts, feel my feelings, and speak my words.” — Attributed to Cicero
To a degree, good books do this, which is why they generate an instant buzz and word of mouth, why they tend to be remembered, the way people tend to remember Sara Davidson’s Loose Change, her landmark book of coming of age in the 70s.
Davidson’s new book, Leap! What Will We Do with the Rest of Our Lives?, will also find an audience and have legs, we predict. The excerpt, published earlier in Newsweek, gives you an indication why we think so. She writes not as a keen observer and journalist, although she is both, but from inside 50+ angst, “the narrows, the rough passage to the next part of life.” Work dries up. Suddenly, despite awards and recognition for her hit shows, she “can’t get arrested.” Her nest empties and her lover leaves.
The narrows will no doubt ring a bell for many within the baby boom generation and for those of us who came before, although we may not have been quite so open about our vulnerabilities. Davidson’s candor is bracing. We, who have made a project of telling the good news about aging, admit that a lot of it is confusing, difficult and painful, and we don’t have very good guides about how to do it well.
Leap! What Will We Do with the Rest of Our Lives? will help. Although its focus is on the more aware, accomplished, successful segment of the boomer cohort who have the luxury of choice about their ‘next life,’ there are plenty of ah ha! moments for anyone willing to take some risks about the future. And a lot that will touch you and make you smile and nod in recognition. Davidson’s interviews with Carly Simon on her comeback; self-help guru, Joan Boryshenko on her fourth marriage; with Tom Hayden, about ‘putting [one’s] career drives down,’ and his former wife, Jane Fonda; with Bernard Lietaer (creator of the Euro); and with Jac Holzman, founder of Elektra Records, stand out for this reader. Holzman’s advice mirrors the 2young2retire credo:
“You don’t have to figure it all out. Pick something and do it. Take a look at what’s out there and see what you’d like to stand next to. Or if you don’t see anything . . . Wait till lightning strikes…Because it always does.” Amen.