Author: Vicki Ward
Reviewed by: Anne Holmes for NABBW This book is a handbook for living vibrantly after 50. It’s an excellent resource, for women, by women. And it validates the experiences of those of us who have crossed the timeline into the second half of life.
But it’s more than that, as it is peppered with quotes from women who took the Sistah Survey, which according to author Vicki Ward, was developed to reveal the essence of what it’s like to be a woman in the esteemed “Over 50 Club.”
While not scientific, Ward believes the survey is an effective tool for exploring how Boomer women perceive their life experiences, their goals and their feelings toward maturing. The respondents speak openly, sharing private thoughts and intimate emotions, while speaking out about how it feels to be a maturing woman experiencing life.
These personal truths, coupled with straight talk from experts in the fields of medicine, insurance, financial and retirement planning combine to create a powerful message about what it is like to be savvy, sassy and bold after 50.
Here are a few examples of the quotes:
- It was when I was divorced and living on my own, broke and wondering what my purpose in life was. It was when I decided no amount of “woe is me” is going to make my life livable. When I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and get up and do what needed to be done, then I could begin to dream a reality.”
- “As a young person I did what I thought would please my mom. When I got married, I did what I thought would please my husband. One day I woke up and realized I was living for others and not myself. I walked out of the marriage and began to do things that made me happy. It was hard at first, but it was the best thing I ever did.”
- “I did not know what I wanted until late and now I am slowly fulfilling those goals. I finally discovered the authentic me at about age 50.”
- “I’m still a work in progress. I’m clearer about what I don’t want at this time in my life.”
- “Young women, if you want to go to college go. If you want to work, fine, but get your own apartment, bank account, and car before you really get a man; he can come later.”
Reading the book reminds me of being a young girl listening in on the private conversation of a handful of cherished family elders. I would listen and learn, soaking everything in, and feeling so privileged to be gleaning these secrets – until someone would notice my presence, and shoo me away, with comments about “little pitchers with big ears.”
It’s no wonder that Norma D. Thomas notes in closing her foreword: “For women under 50, read the book and learn; for those over 50, read the book, learn, and have an “amen” experience.
By the way, if you’re wondering about the background of the Sistah Survey respondents, early in the book Ward explains that they ranged in age from 45 to 75, with 89 percent of the sistahs between the ages of 54 and 59. Most of the respondents were still employed and living in the US. From a matrimonial point of view: 33% were married, 61% single and 6% in a committed relationship.
In closing, I appreciated the abundant resources in the four appendices, but I would have preferred that it also include a copy of the actual Sistah Survey.