Women Over 50—Gifts of the Second Season
I love the book, Gift From the Sea. Although it was originally written in the 1950s, Anne Morrow Lindbergh exhibited a life-force and style that was far ahead of her time. Or, maybe not. Perhaps, I’m just flaunting the bravado and self-indulgent pride we boomers are known for. Maybe our mothers and the women of their age group were not as housebound and repressed as we imagined. Maybe they knew secrets at midlife that might prove important lessons for each one of us. At any rate, Lindbergh certainly did.
Having known great tragedy in her life, the kidnapping and murder of her twenty-month-old son, she must have experienced her share of soul searching. This reflects beautifully in her writing; there is a depth of spirit and self-revelation on every page.
Gift From the Sea is about women, relationships, and growing older—all examined through comparison to various seashells. Throughout, Lindbergh reminds us of the gifts we often overlook, but which are so essential to our nature and inner wellbeing.
Describing midlife, she writes: “We Americans, with our terrific emphasis on youth, action, and material success, certainly tend to belittle the afternoon of life and even to pretend it never comes. We push the clock back and try to prolong the morning, over-reaching and over-straining ourselves in the unnatural effort… In our breathless attempts we often miss the flowering that waits for afternoon.”
I treasure this passage and I treasure this book. As I look at the pages, yellowed with time, it is a true gift. It was my mother’s and I inherited it after she died. Yes, perhaps she did have her own important secrets at midlife and, now, she’s passing these down to me.