If Not Now when: Reclaiming Ourselves at Midlife

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Press:Grand Central Pub Grand Central Publishing (February 1, 2002)
Publication Date:2002-2
Author Name:Marston, Stephanie


With wisdom and insight, noted family therapist Marston helps women to discover a greater sense of wholeness and fulfillment as they navigate what is one of the most powerful and extraordinary stages in life--midlife.


Self-Help,Mid-Life,Health, Fitness & Dieting,Aging,Politics & Social Sciences,Social Sciences,Gender Studies

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Comment List (Total:13)

  •     When was the last time you took care of you? When did you last look at yourself and find all the beauty in you? When was the last time you lived your passions and dreams?
  •     I loved this book. It is one of the most insightful and encouraging books I've read on how to make midlife a rich and meaningful time. I tend to think that what I experience in my life is just about me. This book has shown me that it's as much about "us" as "me." It has allowed me to see that midlife for women has some common themes that we all share. This book validated my experience. It's a book that inspires the renewal of lost promises with ourselves. It gives a clear and exciting voice to all the feelings we women struggle to express. I feel a sigh of relief-somebody gets it!! Each chapter was worth the price of admission.
  •     This book was great to read as I just turned 40 and was beginning to wonder what to do with my life!
  •     I was so lost...then I found this book. Finally a book that makes sense of it all, love the humor. If you are seeking answers to midlife change, I highly recommend this...
  •     I was very pleased to read this book and find for myself a place where some positive spiritual energy is given on midlife.
  •     I just finished reading If Not Now, When? and it is the best I have read about women and midlife and I've read a lot.
  •     Have you ever read a book that was really a lengthened magazine article? That's this book. I ordered it on the heels of reading Martha Beck's excellent "Finding Your Own North...
  •     Stephanie Marston is one of the most sought-after experts on women and midlife. She interviewed a large number of women for this book and combined it with her own experience for a book that sheds a lot of light on what it means to be a woman during that mystical and misunderstood phase of life, menopause.In one part of the book, the author describes how she goes through her closet, tossing out designer high heels that pinch, clothes that are too tight in the waist, that itch, and replaces them with comfortable clothes that reflected her new feelings about herself. This is a wonderful metaphor for what many of the women in "If Not Now, When?" go through in their relationships. Marriages are suddenly confining, "going-along-to-get-along" no longer works. Passive acceptance of all kinds of things, from being the chief organizer of holiday dinners to shutting an eye to infidelity is no longer tolerable. Women who are at the age of menopause may feel a simultaneous burst of anger and liberations. It's not all bad. In fact, it can be pretty darn good!This book talks about the psychology of maturity for women. It expands on what Christine Northrup calls "the lifting of the veil of hormones" and shows what positive changes lie ahead for women who may have suppressed their true identity for most of their lives. Women who once relied on beauty to manipulate the world look in the mirror and realize that despite the best that exercise, diet, cosmetics and surgery can give them, they are no longer youthful goddesses. Their entire way of dealing with and being dealt with changesMarston describes how women are socialized from birth to bury part of their true selves, to be "good girls," to willingly lose games to boys, to place their light under a bushel. This is why girls who do well in elementary school suddenly drop behind the boys as they go to middle school and reach menarche. A quote in the book from Emily Hancock remarks that there is a "buried core of women's identity...a root identity that gets cut off in the process of growing up female." At the time of menopause, women begin to regain this identity, fueled by the lifting of the veil of hormones and the completion of the phase of life where motherhood and physical attractions are the main thing women are valued for.There are 40 million women, baby boomers, facing menopause. Up until now, medicine has viewed menopause, like childbirth, as a medical condition to be "treated." Now women are redefining what it means to be a complete, mature woman and they are a powerful presence. If you are a woman of any age old or young, this book will be of incredible value to provide insights into what it means to be a woman and to be yourself.
  •     Don't read this book unless you're ready to be challenged with some very important questions we need to ask ourselves to prepare for the next years of our lives.
  •     I agree with Cathy Goodwin's observations about the shortcomings of this book. I simply couldn't relate to the women profiled and their comfortable lives.
  •     Comfortable and easy to read book filled with inspirational stories and encouragement. This is not your typical self-help book for women.
  •     As a career coach who works with midlife career changers, I was hoping to get some insights from this book. I will put it on my website as a resource for midlife women. However, most of my female clients will not find themselves in this book.Marston writes to women who are secure financially but not emotionally -- the ideal target market for a therapist. Yet many midlife women find themselves facing career dilemmas. They may be laid off or simply find their work unrewarding. They may be financially stressed, with college-bound children and divorce-bound husbands. Some are widowed, tragically, or faced with aging parents who demand time and money. Relatives crawl out of the woodwork, hoping for handouts.Marston does describe one woman feels helpless when losing her job -- but a few pages later she's happily set up in a new business and already has her first large order! Stories like these can create unrealistic expectations. I talk to women who get laid off after twenty-plus years, blow through their severance, and start a business from necessity, not self-fulfillment. The corporate world is not kind to midlife women. And while a few do find orders flooding in, most struggle with marketing dilemmas. After living comfortably with a husband or corporate security blanket, many women are completely unprepared to take the big step to business ownership.So, while I appreciated the insights of this book, I found myself thinking, "Who has time to do all this self-reflection?" And the section on beauty misses a key point. We can be as self-accepting as we please...I also felt the book painted a rosy picture of friendships (not everyone has reached middle age with close "gal pals"). I find that many midlife women turn to family -- parents, siblings, grown children -- and have less time or interest in friendship. Others find they want to distance themselves from family but get calls for everything from money to signatures on cremation permission. I'd like to see more stories of conflict and resolution.Don't get me wrong: I think the book has valuable insights for many women. It's well-written and the stories, despite their magical qualities, entertain. The chapters on sex and relationships seemed right on. But if you're not a comfortably-off aging yuppie, you might find many of these insights irrelevant.
  •     Love this book! A fun light guidefor any woman entering the next chapter in their life. Lots of info in a easy read.

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