Our member, Risa Brown, does a book review on Joan Anderson's story of recalibrating her life once she thought she'd found herself set on the path of her dreams. Risa finds some personal resonance in Joan's tale of reassessing her dreams.
When Joan Anderson wrote A Year by the Sea, she showed us the steps she took to change her life. By discovering the value of being true to herself and her passions, she inspired her readers with the triumph she felt on her path to self-discovery.
At the opening of The Second Journey, Joan is ten years away from those lessons of self-awareness and they are growing dim. In the opening chapters, I’m taken aback by how out of control her life has gotten. Her business of self-improvement workshops ironically has her frazzled and over-committed. Her writing schedule pressures her to write more and write better. Her retired husband tempts her away from work, her aging mother demands her time and she needs to make family gatherings perfect for her growing family of daughters-in-law and grandchildren.
Where is the woman who found balance, who found the answers? This woman at the end of her rope sounds far too much like me. I, too, thought I’d found answers for myself in pursuing a long-held dream of freelance writing. Yet as my financial pressures grew, I felt my dream slipping away. Just because I’d identified my passion didn’t mean the future would be fixed, my course to happiness guaranteed.
Joan’s quest to find her way again emphasizes that no solution is permanent. She comes to realize that every so often, she must reevaluate. She hears her own advice from a group of women in her workshop and decides to retreat to solitude again. Circumstances have changed, her life is different, but she trusts that the wisdom is still in her to decide what is best for her.
Even though I am unable to retreat to Cape Cod and the Isle of Skye, like Joan, I allow myself solitude and make the most of it. Like Joan, I journal and walk and seek the beauty of nature. Like Joan, I listen to my inner voice. All my responsibilities are important but so is the dream nearest to my heart. Now and then, my life needs a tune-up, an adjustment, to find the balance that keeps me happy. Remembering that, I can make this stage of my life the sweetest, like Joan.