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Awakening Spring in Autumn: Opportunities and Challenges of Women and Men at Mid-Life

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Overview

With the greying of populations throughout the world, a book that provides intergeneration and cross-cultural perspectives on these years of Autumn would be welcomed—especially if these perspectives are being offered by both women and men. We are pleased to be able to offer this book with rich narratives and multiple insights, building on three historic narratives from three of the most influential regions on our world: Europe, China and India. Our book not only identified the challenges associated with the senior years of life, it also offers opportunities, actions to be taken and life-enriching changes to be made—hence the title “Awakening Spring in Autumn.” As the authors of this book, we come with a diversity not only of perspectives, but also of professional experiences. Our work ranges from that of personal psychotherapy to international corporate consulting and coaching. We also enter this writing enterprise with rich, inter-disciplinary expertise in such areas as literature, philosophy, and the arts. This expertise is evident in the many images we present and narratives we explore.

The analyses offered in Awakening Spring in Autumn span the many decades of senior adulthood. This is an important feature of our book, given that we now know that there are multiple stages of life even after 45. This has become increasingly apparent as men and women live longer lives. Instead of focusing on a specific decade of life or perpetuating the myths of a “mid-life crisis” and existential preparation for death after the mid-century, we focus on the diversity of life experiences during middle adulthood (45 to 65 years old)–biological, psychological and interpersonal. We know that everyone matures in their own unique way; yet all men and women around the world confront many of the same opportunities and challenges.

In this book, we bring together an analysis of the Autumnal years based on different perspectives from the deep, introspective work (at many levels) in which all three of us are involved. We weave together mythic tales, classic poems and legendary stories from Western and Asian cultures to further illuminate and expand our exploration. Through this book, we seek to affirm the appropriateness of hopes and fears felt by those currently living in Autumn, as well as inspire those who are about to enter Autumn, and honor those who have been generative during these Autumnal years (and can now reflect back on these years with new insights).

With the aging world population, this book can serve as a uniquely helpful and sought-after guide for individuals and organizations wishing to better understand this phase of life as it is being lived by those they love, respect and serve. Our book can also help to equip those now in the midst of their Autumnal years with perspectives and practices that enable them (together with other Autumnal colleagues) to walk with assurance through the years of Autumn. At its heart, this book is a realistic view of life in middle adulthood. There are no rose-tinted glasses or dark shades—but there are the bright and diverse colors of Autumn and there is the opportunity for a reawakening of Spring.

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