Jennifer Grant, one of my favorite authors and favorite people, has a new book out: When Did Everybody Else Get So Old: Indignities, Compromises and the Unexpected Grace of Midlife. It is a collection of essays that form a memoir of middle age.
Friends, if you are approaching your 40s, in the midst of your 40s, or try hard to pass for being in your 40s (that would be me!), I know you’re going to fall in love with this book. (I have a grandmother who will turn 100 next week, so I could argue that technically, “midlife” for me is my 50s!–but I digress)
No matter when you think it starts, midlife is a time of questions, including “when did everybody else get so old?” but also “what have I accomplished?” and “why is parenting teens so hard?” and “who is that woman looking back at me in the mirror?” and my absolute favorite from this book: “Was I destined to remain in the pleasant custody of the suburbs, standing in the grocery store aisles weighing the relative merits of different brands of dryer sheets and juice boxes?”
Yes, yes! Jennifer Grant brings this sort of finely crafted writing to the funny and also poignant questions that hit us in our 40s. Middle age need not be a time of crisis.
For me, my 40s were a time not of crisis, but of what I called awakening. A lot shifted in my life–and that’s pretty normal. Grant’s book captures so many facets of this season of life. For some of us, it can be a “second adolescence” in which we rebel just a bit, challenging the status quo, breaking the rules that perhaps have kept us smaller than we’re really supposed to be. Many of us stay small (physically, even, by warring with our bodies) but also with our ideas and opinions. We defer to others, we swallow our anger. Midlife makes us realize that we perhaps should not be afraid to take up space–physically, but also, relationally and emotionally. Some of us find our voice in midlife, and begin to say out loud what needs to be said. It can be a time in which we discover great freedom and newfound courage.
When Did Everybody Else Get So Old is funny, tender, thought-provoking and totally relatable–you need to get a copy not just for yourself but for the girlfriends who are journeying with you through this challenging but, as Grant reveals, meaningful season of life. Highly recommended!!
This book would make an excellent Mother’s Day gift!
Grant is the author of several books, including Momumental, WholeHearted Living, Love You More (an adoption memoir) and several others.