Books on aging make up a vast category for publishers, with hundreds of titles available on how to live longer and look younger. This season, religion and spirituality publishers are entering the fray with books about how to add more meaning and purpose to life, specifically at middle age. The titles provide spiritual advice on how to avoid the notorious midlife crisis, and find the positive aspects of a time some have dubbed “the wrong side of 40.”
Your Best Age Is Now
Ludwig, a psychotherapist, cites the latest data from scientific research on topics including physiology and psychology in order to debunk myths about middle age. “The truth is, women in their forties, fifties, and even sixties are living younger, vibrant lives,” she writes. “Midlife is a time in our lives when we begin to rethink the life choices we’ve made, evaluate our impact on others, and decide what we want to do with the rest of our life’s journey.” The book, which also explores how aging can be a spiritual opportunity, features interviews with “midlife mentors” such as Kathie Lee Gifford and Suzanne Somers.
Midlife Is Not a Crisis
Astrologer and horoscope columnist Bell uses astrology’s life cycles—or the “power years” that arrive at specific ages—as a roadmap to the challenges and rewards of growing older. Four of the six life cycles occur during middle age and can lead to positive changes, according to Bell. The book “offers information but also inspiration about each decade: how to prepare and how to prosper, thrive, and evolve in the second half of life,” she writes in the introduction.
When Did Everybody Else Get So Old?
Grant, a former health and family columnist for the Chicago Tribune, reflects on her turbulent forties in this memoir, sharing stories about loss, disillusionment, and a crisis of faith. Acknowledging the difficulties she faced, Grant builds a case that grace and confidence can be found in midlife. “In middle age, like the mature pines in the [Scottish mountain range] Cairngorms, we’ve gotten ourselves more sorted out,” she writes. “Our roots deeper and trunks stronger than when we were young, we can stand tall, poised to help the rest of the forest thrive.”
Aging Starts in Your Mind
Catholic monk and musician Wolf, who led the Order of Saint Benedict as Abbot Primate from 2000-2016, weighs questions and concerns about getting older, including fears about death. He touts the benefits of aging, such as freedom from greed and egotism. Drawing on teachings in the Bible, Wolf argues that faith can help those in mid-life accept the paradoxes of the aging process. “The soul doesn't age,” he writes. “It's timeless and measures itself by a different standard than the body.”