Delightful characters. Inspiration.
I found all this and more in the very entertaining read, Wallflower in Bloom by Claire CookI was looking for a quick read, a no-nonsense, take-me-away read and this book sure delivered. The story is about a woman in her 40's, never been married, working in the family business of promoting her bigger-than-life, self-help guru brother, when Deidre gets a bizarre opportunity to take a leap of faith and leave everything behind, including her status as the family's proverbial wallflower. Add in some delightful humor and I had myself a book that I could not put down.
Even though ii is a fictional story, I found lots of inspiration for my own midlife quest:
1) The author is authentic because she had a mid life reinvention. Claire Cook didn't start her writing career until she was 45. At 50, she found herself walking the red carpet at the movie premiere of an adaptation of one her books. Her favorite saying, "Midlife rocks!" Through her main character, Claire gives this retrospect that answered for me why reinventing myself will be all worth it in the end: "So maybe it made sense to go for the biggest life you could handle, the one that had the highest highs to balance the lowest lows. Jump on. Buckle up. And when it was over, at least you'd be able to say, 'Oh well, that was fun.(page 236)
2) The main character is a mid-lifer, willing to take risks at this time of her life. I could totally relate to Deidre's inner voice constantly telling her, "Why change things up at this point of your life?" Deidre overcame her doubts and forged ahead doing something totally out of her comfort zone. "Sure I was scared. Shaking in my go-go boots scared. There were big risks, huge risks, but there was also the potential for some pretty huge personal satisfaction." (page 236) I can never know that personal satisfaction unless I give new pursuits a try.
3) The main character's inner strength and source of confidence came from her ability to use social media. Not only did this plot line provide a sense of relevance to today's world, it also provided encouragement for me as I try to maneuver and adapt to the social media world as a mid-life blogger. Said Deidre, "I built a social network empire. Became a truly amazing social media maven. A genius. A freakin guru." (page 236) Hey-- I'm a guru too!!
4) The book validated the importance of reevaluating my midlife status:"If midlife is the middle point, then even though there was a lot of water under the bridge, there was still plenty up ahead. And I had to admit, midlife was a helluva lot better than endlife. I had a lot of living left to do." (pg. 128-129)
When I picked up the book, I thought I was just going to be reading a fun novel. What I got, was that and so much more. Inspiring nuggets of support as I move forward, making the most of life after 50.
Have you found some hidden gems that encourage your mid-life adventure?