cover image Learning to Love Midlife: 12 Reasons Why Life Gets Better with Age

Learning to Love Midlife: 12 Reasons Why Life Gets Better with Age

Chip Conley. Little Brown Spark, $28 (240p) ISBN 978-0-316-56702-2

Conley (Wisdom at Work), cofounder of the Modern Elder Academy, a “midlife wisdom school,” celebrates in this sage outing the joys of midlife, a period with a “colossal branding problem.” According to the author, the life stage between ages 35 and 75 is similar to a chrysalis—“a bit dark, gooey, and solitary” but potentially transformative as one looks inward, takes stock of the “mindsets, identities... and choices” they’ve accumulated, sheds what no longer fits, and prepares “to butterfly” into a truer version of themselves. Conley explains that while healthy aging “requires us to move our bodies,” it’s also a chance to abandon the “short-term vanity” that often locks people into an obsessive pursuit of physical perfection in their earlier years. Elsewhere, he details how developing “a discernment for what matters” can help former people pleasers separate what they value from what they don’t. (He urges readers to ask themselves, “Over the course of my life, how important is this?”) While Conley sometimes hits his message a bit too hard (“For many of us, life begins at 50. Before that, life is just a dress rehearsal”), his astute and well-informed insights are sure to uplift. It’s a welcome corrective to ageism. (Jan.)