Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy New....Life

A new year is often the time when we make changes whether they are conscious resolutions or inadvertent reactions to the weather, post-holidays blues or just plain boredom. But this is the year for us to reach higher than the usual lose weight, earn more money, and run a marathon. This is the year to consider a new life: the season to start a second life.
Be bold. Resolve to be the architect of your own destiny. And this is the site where you can do it. Think big. In the coming year or decade you may want to write a book, start your own business, commit to a global cause or cultural travel, humanize corporate establishments, save the environment or foster world peace (maybe not single-handedly but perhaps single-mindedly) and more possibilities that you are about to define. Embrace your second life—the one you were meant to live.

Keep calm. Change, especially big change, is exhilarating but also can be lonely and confounding especially for those who haven’t had to set their own agendas in the past. There’s no need to go this alone. Think of SecondLivesClub as the community that will help you make these choices and as the sounding board to fine-tune them. SLC is a support group where we can mentor and partner with each other and check each other’s progress all the way to success and fulfillment—and the (second) life we were meant to live. We are going with you so follow along by returning here in the days and weeks to come.

Maryl writes: A Christmas Rose

I made a reacquaintance last weekend at a Christmas party.  She’s a beautiful woman, as beautiful as her name, Rose, and stunning in a form fitting metallic-lace dress that just skimmed her shoulders.  I note her physical appearance only because I don’t remember her seeming so confident and comfortable with herself before.  Maybe it was me but then I learned more. 

She had recently sold her successful real estate business after 25 years because she didn’t want to be doing it when she turned 60. She didn’t dislike her career but had gotten into it when she was a single mother and needed to make a living fast. So it was more out of necessity than by choice. And now her husband and one daughter are self-sufficient and another daughter almost there. What’s Rose doing now? Yoga, not just doing yoga, but studying it with a guru and she loves it and is happy. She wants to open a yoga studio in the same town she sold real estate in. Why not? She already has the local connections….kind of blending the old with the new.

I believe Rose has the financial means to make this rather drastic change but I somehow feel that if she didn’t, she would find a way to follow her new passion. Rose inspired me. I wanted to share this little merry story as we head into the holidays. I wish I could also share a picture of her in that knock-out dress but instead I’ll post something also beautiful.

Any thoughts or comments?  Are you considering:
1)  Taking or studying yoga?  Find a studio at  
2)  Thinking of starting a local business.  Get a counselor at
3)  Wanting to learn about and grow Christmas Roses?  Read 

Caryl writes: Men Who Write Women--Part I

I am a big reader. My idea of a perfect day is a good book and nothing else to do. One day last week I was feeling a bit under the weather--and the weather itself was frightful: pouring rain, dreary skies, a wicked wind. I took to my bed. You know, you are living your second life when you can give yourself a day off without feeling guilty. (This takes years to achieve and shows real evolution.)

So I curled up with Jonathan Franzen's much praised and best- selling Freedom, a 562-page epic (one sentence at the beginning of part four is, in fact, 304 words long) on a new milleninium dysfunctional American family. (Note:  This is not to be confused with his earlier book, Corrections, another tome but this one is about a dysfunctional American family in the last years of the 20th century.  Franzen's narrator in Feedom is named  Patty Berglund. Patty is not only the mother of the family but also a character the author says is very much like himself.  That should have been a tip-off.
I'm not going to ruin the book for you but after my horizontal day knocking back 500 plus pages let me just say that the ending enraged me.   As the title states and the jacket notes confirm, the novel charts the mistakes, joys and struggles the Berglunds encounter trying to live an admirable life  in these confusing times with too much freedom  But Patty Berglund is no 21st century poster girl for enlightenment.  She's more a 50s icon, a leftover from the era of the Feminine Mystique but without the self-reflection.  Her brush  with freedom only brings her back to the stuck place women have worked decades to free themselves from
Maybe this is why Franzen likes Patty so much as a character. She permits him to write about a changing world where the roles women and men played in the past end up remarkably the same. Women in Franzen's novel still play a supporting role. You would think Oprah of all women would have learned that this is not an author that should carry  her sticker of approval.
Watch for Men Who Write Women--Part II coming soon.

Maryl writes: "Can We Talk?"

I don't want you to think I only blog about my reactions to films.  And I've seen a few fine films since my last blog so I myself don't quite get why I'm writing about "Joan Rivers:  A Piece of Work," which I saw last night on pay-per-view.  I suppose it's because Joan's on her second, third or fifth life.  I doubt she's counting; she just keeps going and going.  Besides comedy, Joan's done plays, films and jewely on QVC.  She takes almost every gig she's offered although she confessed that when they consider her, old age and plastic surgery are what they mostly see.  Of course, she continues to do the plastic surgery because her profession demands it.  Show business likes a pretty, young face!

Watching her last night, I wondered how she would have looked had she let herself age naturally?  Would she have been less funny or had less energy?  Somehow I don't think so.  But I don't fault her for those decisions.  You do what you think you have to do to keep yourself on top and not on the sideline.  Age is not the deterrent to starting a second life.  Guts and stamina are all you need.  In case you didn't know, Joan Rivers at 75 won the last Celebrity Apprentice competition that Donald Trump hosts.  She beat out a lot of other younger contestants because she was able to take on new challenges and meet them head on.  Something to be learned there.

1)  Watch “Joan Rivers:  A Piece of  Work,” available on 
     demand on cable and on DVD December 14. 
2)  Considering plastic surgery yourself?  Here’s a website to 
     provide some valuable information  and an article to help 
     with the decision making.                      
3)  Energy level seem low for your next life?  Here’s some hints on
     how to build up your stamina.

Caryl writes: Roses and Garlic and the Circle of Life

Fall is definitely here. The flowers stayed longer than usual this year but now only a single rose remains in my garden. All the leaves have been raked to the curb, giant piles inviting someone to jump in. I can still remember 2o-plus years ago when my younger then baby daughter buried yourself in a piles of brilliantly-covered leaves. There is something melancholy about this time of year–even though it punctuated with a trio of festive holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. But the days are shorter, the light gloomier, the soul seemingly heavier. I mourn the lone last rose I have brought indoors. But then two nights ago over a cup of lemon balm tea, my gardener gave me a present of a garlic bulb. I am planting it today so come spring it will show its clove-filled head. It makes me happier to put something new in the cold soil of my dormant garden and it reminds me that we need fallow periods because they precede fertile ones, that little babies become bright young women, that our older selves have new founts of knowledge and that every seasons continues to turn, turn, turn . . .

Maryl writes: The Kids Grow Up All Right

I recently saw a touching film, “The Kids Grow Up” not to be confused with “The Kids Are All Right” although there is a comparison to be made between the two.  Hard to believe since the first one is a personal documentary by NYC filmmaker Doug Block who lives with his wife and child in an apartment and the latter a Hollywood film starring two academy award winning actresses playing two moms in a suburban household in California.  The stories overlap when their daughters go away to college.  Although it was a bigger part of the NY story, the void left by their leaving had a similar impact on both families.  The NY father is distraught and keeps asking his friends how they dealt with their children leaving home.  The two moms are already having a family crisis of which this becomes a subset.  

And that brings me to my husband and my current empty-nest status.  I’ve heard of parents who have closed the bedroom door to their child’s room, have slept in their child’s bed or who have simply gone into a deep depression.  Me?  I think I’m all right.…. surprisingly.  I miss my baby girl tremendously – mostly I miss her preteen years.  I don’t miss her high school senior year supporting her getting into college (That’s another post for another time.)  I now have the time to be able to dig into various passions and challenges long sparking my mind but unable to focus on (yet another post).  Yeah, it’s a bit self centered but why not?  All in all, this mom (and dad) are all right....and growing too!

In a similar situation? Comments? You may also want to:
1) View the two films. “The Kids Grow Up” has already played 
    the film festivals circuit and in a few cities with some more 
    screening over the next two months. Netflix and DVD 
    availability unknown. You can check out the web site for more 
    information. "The Kids Are All Right" is available on demand 
    on cable and on DVD. 
2) Read a book on the subject. There’s a good selection of titles 
    at Amazon. 
3) Create or join a support group with parents from your child’s 
    former high school or current college. You’re not the only one 
    feeling this way.