I’m delighted to be welcoming Sarah Dale to Jera’s Jamboree today.
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.
Forty? Fifty? The mixed pleasures of milestone birthdays
I am delighted to be asked to write this guest post as part of my book blog tour. I’m new to the whole concept of blog tours so this is an adventure for me, being ably guided by a very patient Shaz!
I was born in November 1964. This means the big Five-O is looming – fast. For a couple of years now, I have been increasingly aware of its approach, and I recognise the pattern of events from previous decades now.
Some of my friends get there first. I watch from the side-lines, and enthusiastically accept all party invitations. My parents’ significant wedding anniversaries signal an eighteen month countdown. I marvel at the fact that I can remember helping the same people to celebrate their twentieth, thirtieth and fortieth birthdays and anniversaries. People start asking how I’m going to celebrate mine (answer: I don’t know!). There’s a sense of being about to face another dizzying drop on life’s rollercoaster. It’s exciting – and scary.
Milestone birthdays often provoke mixed feelings. They are a public mark of time passing, and – more than birthdays usually do – can invite some reflection about what the past years have been about. There can be fears around time passing quickly and about what the future holds. There can be relief to get past difficult times. There might be a sense of achievement or a sense of feeling stuck. Sometimes people go into denial, refusing to celebrate or acknowledge their stage of life, and sometimes people go flat out to party till dawn. More than once.
Some of my friends were struggling with the whole notion of turning fifty, some embraced it whole-heartedly. I realised I didn’t really know how I felt about it. I had an underlying optimism that my best working years are still ahead of me (and I’m lucky to enjoy my work), but fears that this might be unrealistic. I started wondering how it had been for other women, and it occurred to me that there were few role models for most of us. It hasn’t been for very long, in historical terms, that women have had much choice about how they live in mid-life and beyond. We are increasingly hearing about celebrities who are reaching their sixties and beyond but what about women like us?
And this was what sparked my ideas for Bolder and Wiser. I set out to find twenty women who were at least ten years older than me, to ask them “what matters?” and “what doesn’t?” as they look back. They came from a wide range of backgrounds. The conversations were candid and fascinating. The women offered opinions on work, marriage, money, creativity, motherhood, domesticity, health, appearance and adventure. My assumptions were challenged. My optimism was boosted. I was shown a resilience that comes with age, and which is surely to be celebrated and shared.
The lessons are relevant to us at any age I think, although I wonder whether we are more receptive to them in that strangely turbulent time around a milestone birthday. As an aside, I’ve been surprised – and pleased – by how many men seem to be keen to read it too (some readers’ husbands and partners have snuck off with it apparently).
I am finding that it is a book that seems to connect people – me with the women I listened to, and with readers too. I find this to be a huge delight, as well as being humbling. We can all learn so much from each other. If it helps anyone to not only come to terms with, but to fully embrace, their next milestone, I shall feel as if I’ve succeeded!
The hardest milestone birthday for me was 30.
We have plenty of those milestone moments this year – I’ve had mine, one son has his 21st this year, the other his 18th and it’s my 25th wedding anniversary. Lots of time for reflection, letting go and moving forward. Oh yes and celebrating 🙂
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.
In this fascinating and celebratory book, Sarah talks to 20 inspiring women who have not only made it past 50, but are happy to be there.
These open and honest conversations, punctuated by Sarah’s observations about her own journey, reflect on friendship, work, health, creativity, marriage, motherhood, money – and whether you should stop dyeing your hair.
Bolder and Wiser is touring with Fiction Addiction Book Tours
|3rd March||Fab after Fifty|
|4th March||The Most Happy Reader|
|5th March||Brook Cottage Books|
|6th March||Kim The Bookworm|
|7th March||DizzyC’s Little Book Blog|
|10th March||Books with Wine and Chocolate|
|11th March||The Little Reader Library|
|12th March||Everything Books and Authors|
|13th March||Deal Sharing Aunt|
|14th March||Authors & Readers Book Corner|
The International giveaway on tour is 1 x paperback:
We hope you’ll join us!