Quotes by Gail Sheehy

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Gail Sheehy is an American writer and lecturer, most notable for her books on life and the life cycle. Her second book, Passages, has been called "a road map of adult life". Several of her books continue the theme of passages through life's stages, including menopause and what she calls "Second Adulthood".

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All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another!

There is no more defiant denial of one man's ability to possess one woman exclusively than the prostitute who refuses to redeemed.
When men reach their sixties and retire, they go to pieces. Women go right on cooking.
The secret of a leader lies in the tests he has faced over the whole course of his life and the habit of action he develops in meeting those tests.
We hear the haunting presentiment of a dutiful middle age in the current reluctance of young people to select any option except the one they feel will impinge upon them the least.
To be tested is good. The challenged life may be the best therapist.
Other characteristics of healthy centenarians, garnered from a number of studies, are these: Most have high native intelligence, a keen interest in current events, a good memory, and few illnesses. They tend to be early risers, sleeping on average between six and seven hours. Most drink coffee, follow no special diets, but generally prefer diets high in protein, low in fat. There is no uniformity in their drinking habits, but they use less medication in their lifetimes than many old people use in a week. They prefer living in the present, with changes, and are usually religious in the broad sense.
Retirement used to be the square that one landed on in the playing board of life roughly five years before one expired, the reward for thirty-five or more years of hard work, when a pencil pusher could enjoy a paid mortgage, a cruise or two, and a golden wedding anniversary while waiting around to die. Today the question is not so much when is ideal retirement age as how does one define retirement.
The central myth is that menopause is a time in a woman's life when she goes batty for a few years--subject to wild rages and deep depressions--and after it she mourns her lost youth and fades into the wood-work. In truth, menopause is a bridge to the most vital and liberated period in a woman's life.
The best gift for making a conscious, disciplined trip through menopause is postmenopausal zest. This is a special, buoyant sort of energy, fueled in part by the change in ratio of testosterone to estrogen. . . . Once a woman has come through the menopausal passage, she can say good-bye to pregnancy fears and monthly mood swings. Now that she is no longer confined by society's narrow definition of woman as sex object and breeder, she is freer to integrate the masculine and feminine aspects of her nature. She can now claim the license to say what she truly thinks.
An attractive woman friend confided that when she turned 50, she felt like one of those park statues that turn green, weather-streaked, and crumbly, the kind that no one, not even the people on the benches right in front of it, notices anymore.
The age of 50 seems to represent a sort of tollgate, beyond which, having chosen the route and the traveling companions, one expects to be on the same road for a long, long time. Thus people who find themselves approaching 50, unattached--either divorced or never married--are particularly prone to playing out a perpetual middlescence.
How to put an age label on true middle age is a hot potato. Working-class men describe themselves as middle-aged at 40 and old by 60. Business executives and professionals, by contrast, do not see themselves as reaching middle age until 50, and old age means 70 to them.
It is almost universal to have a hurry-up feeling as we hit 40. The first little fissures appear in our physical shells. Damn, why is the type in the phone book so small? Students start calling you "mister." (Behind your back you know they're probably calling you "that old fart.")
Looking at ourselves in cold, hard evolutionary terms, we are all relatively useless after 30. All a species needs to survive is to reproduce itself, which is easily possible at the age of 15, and fifteen years more to raise the next generation to reproductive age. Certainly by 40, when both the male testes and the female ovaries begin to show the changes of age, we are, from an evolutionary point of view, thoroughly disposable.
Impatient with devoting ourselves to the "shoulds," a new vitality springs from within as we approach 30. Men and women alike speak of feeling too narrow and restricted. They blame all sorts of things, but what the restrictions boil down to are the outgrowth of career and personal choices of the twenties. They may have been choices perfectly suited to that stage. But now the fit feels different. Some inner aspect that was left out is striving to be taken into account. Important new choices must be made, and commitments altered or deepened. The work involves great change, turmoil, and often crisis--a simultaneous feeling of rock bottom and the urge to bust out.
People used to think at 45: How do I prepare myself for the next promotion? Now they have to think: How do I prepare myself to make another start if/when I'm pitched over the side? Companies today treat employees as disposable resources.

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