Sunday, May 17, 2015

What to Read for a Female Mid-Life Crisis?

In my post, Ride of Your Life, I wrote about Ran Zilca’s book Ride of Your Life: A Coast-to-Coast Guide to Finding Inner Peace. He was turning 40, and had been successful in business and his personal life, but was unsure who he really was. I think that many people experience this type of feeling in midlife, where they know what they do and where they live, but not exactly sure who they are. It made him feel restless, so he went out to rediscover his identity, quiet the restlessness, and regain his inner peace.

In response to this post, I received the following comment from Ray:
I am going to seriously consider reading this book and hear is why. I am in the 40's and I wonder to myself more and more, who am I? I started to write the blog partly to answer that...... I think I need to read, and find my inner self, and come to some peace as well.

Thoughts on this? Or if one should try another book?
Oh what a comment. I have so many thoughts.

First should Ray read this book?
Sure go ahead, it can’t hurt. I read this one in a PDF format on my e-reader and think I’d have gotten more out of it if I’d read it in print. I love dog-earing pages to review later and wasn’t able to do that with this book. I think I missed a few points especially towards the end.

As for self-help books:
I don't usually finish them. I wasn't even able to finish The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey and How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnagie both of which are on a list of self-help books that stand the test of time at my local library.

Another interesting quote from Ride of your Life:
This one is from Dr. Jamie Pennebaker, Chair of the Psychology department at The University of Texas in Austin:

All of self-help is bullshit and probably most of psychology.

His recommendation:

Show me the money. Show me whatever you’ve got – does it work? Does it work for you? One thing I encourage everybody is to be their own inner scientist: you have to find out what’s really working.

Zilca feels most people are not always good at accessing how well it works for them. In response, Pennebaker suggest that people take their “life pulse” every day.

Well, then you start to measure. You start to write down how many hours of sleep you are getting. You write down how you feel today. Are you sick? What’s your body temperature? There are a million ways to evaluate how your life is going. And yes, we are all delusional about things, but measuring things is not a bad idea. What’s your heart rate and your blood pressure today? How many calories are you eating? How much exercise are you getting? How many fights have you gotten into with friends and coworkers? Make a list of things that are important to you – ideally, things that you can objectively measure. Take your life-pulse every day, see how it’s going. And if it does, that’s wonderful and if it doesn’t, get in line. Most things really don’t work. (Pgs. 82 and 83).
He then suggests using writing to gain clarity about events in your life, their meaning and the way you chose to respond.

So yes dear Ray, read this book and keep blogging it may work for you.

Other book recommendations:
Most of the books I’ve read on self-discovery were tailored towards career discovery.

Here are the ones that helped the most:
Dan Miller's book 48 Days To The Work You Love

Paul Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger's book Do What You Are

Tom Rath's book Strengths Finder 2.0

One of my favorite self-discovery books is Cheryl Strayed's Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar.

While searching for additional books covering female identity crisis I came across this article in Psychology Today What A Female Mid-Life Crisis Looks Like.  This article mirrors my experience perfectly:
The women in the article have not faced a crisis, but they are facing a mid-life quest for identity. For smart, goal-driven women, a mid-life crisis isn't about recovering lost youth. It's about discovering the application of their greatness. The problem is that no one has defined what "greatness" looks like so the quest has no specific destination.

If you are questioning what is next for your career and possibly, your life, this is a great time to talk to friends who might be going through a similar experience. One of the worst things busy women do is put their friendships on the back burner. There is no need to "tough it out on your own." Find a friend who is also interested in personal development who won't judge the struggle you are experiencing. A good coach can help as well.
I'm considering bringing back "The Savvy Reader Book Club" with a self acceptance or mid-life crisis theme.  Would you be interested?  For starters I'd suggest we read What A Female Mid-Life Crisis Looks Like.

What books would you recommend for a female mid-life crisis or acceptance book club?


  1. I really like the idea of taking your “life pulse” every day. That sounds like a great way to discover what's working in life and what is not :)

    1. Now I just have to remember to actually do it. Thanks for the comment.

  2. One of my favorite acceptance books is Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst. It's a Christian book, which I tend to want to run from, but I love it. It just makes me feel I am exactly who I was meant to be and it's ok to not know who that is sometimes. Very forgiving, helps with my main problem areas (I am a yeller) and the lady who wrote it is fairly engaging.

    1. Oh Jennifer this book sounds like a good one. Just recently we had a heated conversation with my husbands family over dissolving a partnership. I got a little testy. My husband had to cut me off and later said I wasn't at work - they are family. I couldn't help it though. I am so invested in the number we offered and couldn't afford to go higher. When one of them started questioning it I just snapped.

      I hope things are better for you.

  3. Get a Fitbit- it's an easy way to measure sleeping and exercising, a journal- write your thoughts daily, and a group of girlfriends- talk about your feelings. Sometimes doing works better than reading. Self-helps are harder to read. Thanks for sharing on the Small Victories Sunday link up.

    1. Thanks Rachel. I've been considering a Fitbit - to see if I really do sleep as bad as I think I do. I also think discussing what we are going through with friends is a great idea.

  4. Thank you SO MUCH for these recommendations. I just turned 36 and am not yet married and babyless in a shrinking circle of friends who are in the same position. I'm totally okay with that; but it is my reality and finding peace with who I am has been difficult. That said, I love to read books that address these mid-life issues and have added a few to my Goodreads list. Thanks!

    Following over from SITS Sharefest--hope you are enjoying your weekend! XOXO

    1. My Pixie Blog,
      I never had children. I don't have any real good reason why accept I was always more afraid of having them than not. I'm reading a good book on the choice to be childless - Selfish, Childless and Self-absorbed by Meghan Daum. I highly recommend it.