Every month, we bring you profiles of women across America whose commitment to health includes their mind, body, spirit, and community. These inspiring women share stories of how they’ve reinvented their lives and careers, embarked on exciting new life journeys, and found ways for themselves and their families to achieve optimal health.
SoL Sister: ‘Fierce with Age’ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., Los Angeles, California
Dr. Carol Orsborn is editor-in-chief of Fierce with Age: the Digest of Boomer Wisdom, Inspiration & Spirituality. She is a veteran journalist and author, having begun her career as a columnist writing about the Boomer generation for the Chicago Daily News and San Francisco Chronicle. She now blogs regularly for Huffington Post, NPR’s Next Avenue, and others.
The author of 21 books written for and about Baby Boomers, Dr. Orsborn’s next book, Fierce with Age: Chasing God and Squirrels in Brooklyn, will be published by Turner Publishing on Mother’s Day 2013. Fierce with Age relates her tumultuous year of transformation as she transitioned in to the “wild space beyond midlife.”
Taking a breather from her packed schedule, Dr. Orsborn shared some inspiration for those going through similar transitions in their lives:
1. You’ve had a remarkable career, with your experience ranging from journalism to advertising to spiritual and academic scholarship. Was this richly diverse professional journey by design or accident?
Our generation of men and women are experiencing what gerontologists are referring to as a “longevity bonus.” Career spans that used to start, peak and wane in twenty years can easily stretch to 40 or 50 years. From my perspective, my life has been an orderly progression, driven in equal parts by getting bored with the past and being curious about the future. To others, I supposed it may sometimes look like something more akin to chaos.
2. You’ve been writing about work/life balance as far back as the 1980′s. How has that conversation changed over the past 30 years, and what are some of the major trends you see now with respect to work/life balance concerns among women?
I’ve found it equal parts humbling and inspiring that every five or ten years or so, another generation of women “discover” the notion of life balance. I truly believe that leading-edge Boomers who began writing, talking, and teaching about simplicity back in the 80s were the original pioneers, as we were the first generation to feel the brunt of women’s liberation. Somehow, we were to take on ambition and careers, but never quite got to leave the traditional women’s roles behind. Frankly, we were exhausted most of the time but at least we grasped the notion theoretically. The biggest difference with women in their twenties to forties today is that it is far more acceptable for men to take on a bigger role in parenting, and much happier to share or even delegate the job of chief breadwinner to the woman. Ironically, the younger women I know are grateful for the help, but yearn for more time in traditional roles.
3. You are an expert on Baby Boomer women – a group you dubbed “the Ultimate Power Consumer” – and what these women think, do, and buy. What are Boomer women’s interests trending toward these days with respect to healthy food and beverages?
The biggest trend I see is that women of all ages, but certainly Boomer women, are interested in what I refer to as “multi-tasking” food and beverages. They don’t want to sacrifice taste, but they do want the nutritional, and in some cases, what amounts to medicinal benefits from their dietary choices. For instance, women who are concerned about breast cancer or diabetes (and most are concerned) will proactively read up about remedies, be it added fiber, vitamins, or supplements to add to their diets. At the same time, they will avoid “fake” foods and chemicals as much as possible. There is growing awareness, in particular, of the shadowy side of many low-calorie fats, sugars and chemical-based flavor and texture enhancers. Many of the women I know would prefer natural ingredients such as low-sugar or low-honey in drinks even if that means they have to cut back on portion sizes.
4. Spirituality – and squirrels – figure prominently in your forthcoming book. Tell us more about how the spirituality in your book relates to overall optimal health and well-being.
As I transited beyond midlife, I was confronted with all the negative stereotypes of aging. My memoir relates the ups and downs of the tumultuous year I spent facing, busting and ultimately triumphing over my fears about aging. Along the way, I nurtured a love-starved friend through a doomed affair with a younger man, wrestled with the meaning of an exploding fish and regained my passion for life at the side of my squirrel-crazed dog, Lucky.
When it comes to vital living, my 8-pound terrier was my mentor. Her love of chasing squirrels reminded me to enjoy the present moment without regrets. She never did catch a squirrel, but she never tired of the chase.
To learn more about Carol and her forthcoming book, visit www.fiercewithage.com or email her at carol(at)Fiercewithage.com. People who pre-order the book receive the complimentary Fierce with Age Online Retreat, three weeks of self-guided lessons delivered daily to your inbox, and helping you ensure that the next stage of your life will be as vital as all the stages that have come before.