'I suspect we would all be surprised by what we discovered if we took any group of twenty women over sixty and listened to them properly.'
'The whole concept of older women with energy, choice, education, and much closer to equal status with men is therefore relative new, and still evolving. There isn't much of a road map. The generation I've been interviewing is at the cutting edge. It feels important to me to hear what they have to say about it.'
As I read, through chapters including thoughts on marriage, parenthood, work, amongst many others, I was invigorated by some of the wonderful, sage advice these women have been kind enough to share, passing on the wisdom of their varied experiences as they look back. In particular, I loved the 'what matters' and 'what doesn't' summaries of each chapter, as well as the 'advice for younger women' and also the section introducing the women, because it was so interesting to read about their backgrounds. Sarah Dale even asked each of them to recommend a couple of favourite books, which also appealed to this fellow bookworm.
I would certainly recommend this book, it's definitely worth your time whether read all at once or dipped in and out of, the author has skillfully collated the results of her interviews and integrated these with reflections on her own experience to produce a thoughtful and inspiring read with thoughts from intelligent, lively, strong and courageous women. Also as a younger woman who doesn't have many older women in her daily life, and who is prone to worrying and indecision, it has offered me the chance to share in some valuable life experience, as well as some things to really think about and some great advice that I think could improve my life, and I genuinely thank the author, and the women who collaborated in this work, for this.
I'll leave you with a few quotes from some of the advice for younger women that I loved and which struck me as particularly wise:
'Don't let anybody (yourself included) stop you from trying what you always wanted to explore or experience.'
'Life is a learning curve and the more you know the more you realise how little you know and how much is left to learn.'
'Never think you've left something too late, that the chance has passed you by.'
'Enjoy being young and don't be too concerned with how you look because you will look back and realise you were lovely and fresh.'
Hit 50 yet? Sarah Dale is about to. This impending event set her wondering about successful ageing, what life looks like for women who have been there and done that, and what adventures are to be had on the other side of 50.
Sarah is a practising occupational psychologist and accredited coach. She designed the structured coaching programme, Creating Focus®, and is the author of Keeping Your Spirits Up, a guide to facing the challenges of modern life. She lives in Nottingham with her husband, two daughters and step-son. Her moments of leisure are spent Nordic walking, reading fiction and frequenting coffee shops, the more independent the better. She secretly loves a good jigsaw.
You can find out more about Sarah Dale on her website, www.creatingfocus.org or by following her on twitter (@creatingfocus) or on Facebook (Sarah Dale – author).