This image, which appeared on the cover of the first issue of Ms. Magazine in December 1971, is still quite accurate despite the 46-year age gap. Of course, some of the pictures could be updated. The typewriter might be a MacBook Air 2, and the rotary phone would probably by an iphone7, but the fundamental thesis put forth in Jane O’Reilly’s “The Housewife’s Moment of Truth” is still relevant and continues to build on the revolutionary themes presented almost 50 years prior. Women in the workforce today still do not have equal pay for equal work. Oh, it is better sure, but not equal. Modern husbands are far more involved in taking care of the children and helping with housework then their fathers or grandfathers. But, do you know any women who would not appreciate more help? We females do not ask for help as much as we should, I am the poster woman for this trait!
To read Jane O’Reilly’s full article from 1971, click here
In my quest for answers to the great mid life questions I have done what I always do, read a lot of books. Some have been tremendously helpful and others have missed (my) mark entirely. I am sure that others would find the publications that I have not connected with as invaluable. Which is what is so great about our literary offerings, there is, literally, something for everyone. I would like to share two books that my husband and I have found quite valuable in our search for “what’s next?”
Author, Dr. Tina B. Tessina, has several publications targeting women’s issues and providing marital advice. In “The ten Smartest Decisions A Woman Can Make After forty,” she chronicles case studies from real women who are at a variety of life stages. There will be several stories that most women will be able to relate to in their present state and can easily empathize with as they move forward. The book is a bit of a checklist, encouraging the reader to take stock of where they are currently strong and identifying areas that one may need to bolster. Tessina encourages journaling, like many other self-help publications, as a means of assessing those areas that may need tending, such as finances and personal friendships. Personally, I found this to be a great guide in asking pertinent questions and exploring avenues to secure a strong foundation moving forward in general. However, I did not find the focus of this book to be as helpful in the overarching question of “what’s next?” I would recommend this publication to women who are approaching mid life, even if they feel secure in their present marital status, or employment, because you never know when that status could change and that change is usually emotional and can be quite traumatic. It would be best to have these points addressed before you need them! Invest in your own security, how can that be a bad thing! You are worth the time!
This book is a recommendation from my husband. Stephen Cope takes a more spiritual approach in “The Great Work of Your Life.” He explains the concept of Dharma, which is akin to a calling of sorts. One does not choose his or her Dharma but rather it is what you are meant to do. Cope profiles individuals, both famous and the everyday man, to illustrate how one comes to the understanding that when you release the bindings of traditionally measured success, and achieving specific goals, you will find joy in the mastery process. Personal fulfillment is attained through the joy of the process. Essentially if you do what you are truly meant to, not what you define as success through the eyes of others, you will be actualized. The trick here, of course, is to identify your Dharma and embrace it fully. One must make decisions and/or take risks to align your life with your Dharma. Cope believes that it is better to fail at your Dharma then to be successful in a less fulfilling role. Cope draws his lessons from the Bhavagad Gita, if you are familiar with that work you know that indecision can be paralyzing. I think that is a great metaphor when looking at the “What’s next?” question that stops many of us from moving forward in any meaningful way.
I hope these reviews have been helpful and I will be posting more as I am currently reading several other publications on these topics.