Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The List Recommends:

The holidays are over, so why can’t I stop baking? It’s very hard to get back to work when there’s enough sour cream left in the refrigerator to make another walnut spice cake. I have tons of work to do, and yet I keep sticking my head in the fridge to avoid it.

I decided to start fresh with the easiest, most enjoyable task on my plate: writing a grad-school recommendation for my writer friend Pat, who’s getting an MFA in Creative Nonfiction and starting a second career as a teacher.

It’s the third recommendation I’ve written in three months, but unlike the other two, who were former students of mine, Pat’s was easy. We’ve worked together many times; I’ve edited her work at both magazines and websites. She also contributed a fabulous essay to a collection on midlife relationships that I edited, Over the Hill and Between the Sheets.

I knew exactly what to say about how graceful and thoughtful a writer she is, and how committed she is to taking her craft to the next level. But the exciting part for me was being part of the process that’s going to take her to the next level.

It’s thrilling to watch someone you know and love transform her life. Not just to switch jobs (Shake-up #55), but to find a new passion. Pat’s doing it at 50; my sister did it a few years ago at 44. That’s when she totally gave up on her law career and started teaching history and law at a specialized high school in New York City. She loves it.

I know so many women who are itching to start over. I certainly am—it’s part of the reason I wrote The List. At a certain point, things start to get old (note I said “things,” not “we”) and we miss the energy that comes with finding inspiration, taking a risk, and being petrified of failing. I’ll happily take that chance . . . as soon as I figure out what I want to do.

What about you? Are you out looking for new passion in your work or personal life? Or have you found it already? Let’s hear it.


Laura Lee Carter said...

Hello Gail!

This is the queen of the midlife shake up! Online I'm known as the "Midlife Crisis Queen" for changing just about everything in my life around age 46.Go check me out at:

I also have a new book out: Midlife Magic: Becoming The Person You Are Inside. It's about how liberating it is to let go of all the old rules and finally blossom in midlife. BTW, I love your idea of going out for drinks in mid-afternoon!!!

I'd love to review "The List" on my blog...any chance you would take a look at my book for me?

Cheers, Laura Lee Carter

gail belsky said...

Sure...the more midlife motivation the merrier! So what were some of your shakeups?