New Passages : Mapping Your Life Across Time by Gail Sheehy

New Passages : Mapping Your Life Across Time by Gail Sheehy

The #1 New York Times bestselling book, Passages, had a profound impact on millions of readers. Now, its author, Gail Sheehy, is back with a follow-up called New Passages.

While attempting to write a sequel, Sheehy stumbled upon a groundbreaking revelation – the adult life cycle has been revolutionized. People are taking longer to mature and live much longer lives. In fact, a healthy fifty-year-old woman can now expect to reach her ninety-second birthday. Men are also experiencing a significant increase in their lifespan.

The traditional markers of adulthood, such as starting at twenty-one and ending at sixty-five, are no longer relevant. Sheehy introduces the concept of a “Second Adulthood” – a new phase in middle life that goes beyond the limitations of gender and the challenges of menopause. Instead of viewing forty-five as a decline, she encourages us to embrace it as the beginning of another life.

New Passages is not just a theoretical exploration. Sheehy supports her findings with extensive research, including personal and group interviews, national surveys, and data from fifty years of U.S. Census reports. Through her storytelling skills, she allows readers to connect with others who are going through similar life changes, helping us make sense of our own journeys.

This book emphasizes the power of customization in shaping our own life cycle. It challenges the prevailing pessimistic view of adult development and offers an optimistic perspective for navigating the complexities of today’s world.

New Passages has received high praise, with the Los Angeles Times Book Review stating that Sheehy’s ideas about life have never been so clearly articulated. The New York Times Book Review describes it as an insightful analysis grounded in both economic and psychological realities.

Prepare to have your perspective on adulthood forever altered by this remarkable book.

Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos into Confidence

Thanks for joining us on Wellness Talk Radio. I’m Chris Costello, and today we are honored to have Gail Shei, a world-renowned author with us. Gail has written 15 books, including three New York Times bestsellers. She was also an original contributor to New York Magazine and has won the New York Newswomen’s Club Front Page Award for journalism seven times. We’re excited to have you here today, Gail.

Thank you, Chris. It’s a pleasure to be here. I recently returned from Southern California, where I gave a talk for the Motion Picture & Television Fund. The audience consisted of caregivers, social workers, and care managers. It’s such a challenging role, and it’s heartwarming to see how receptive people are to finding guidance and making sense of it all.

Today, we will be discussing Gail’s new book, “Passages and Caregiving: Turning Chaos into Confidence”. This book tells the moving story of Gail’s 17-year journey as a caregiver for her husband, Clay Feler, who was a well-known New York editor. Let’s start by discussing their love story and the experience of caregiving.

It all started with a phone call Gail received while she was at the beauty salon. The doctor on the other end informed her that the cyst they had removed from Clay’s neck two years ago was actually cancer. This news completely changed their lives, and Gail had no idea how to navigate this new role as a caregiver. They decided to face it together, with Clay setting the tone and reassuring Gail that they would get through it.

Receiving such news out of the blue is a shock for many people, and it completely transforms their lives. Gail explains that most people don’t think of themselves as caregivers and are not prepared for this role. However, being a caregiver requires professional-level skills and can be overwhelming, especially for individuals with children and a job outside the home.

Gail emphasizes the importance of assessing how your loved one wants to deal with the situation and ensuring they don’t remain in denial. As a caregiver, it is crucial to become a good reporter, taking notes during important doctor consultations and seeking a doctor who can act as a medical quarterback. Gathering as much information as possible and involving other family members in the caregiving process is also essential.

Gail shares various resources available to create a Circle of Care, such as neighbors, friends, and support agencies like the Area Agency on Aging. She encourages caregivers to explore Medicare, Medicaid, and alternative care options while making time for self-care to prevent burnout.

During the interview, Gail discusses the significance of doctor-patient relationships and finding doctors who truly care for the well-being of their patients. She shares her experience with a geriatrician who formed a personal connection with Clay and took the time to understand who he was before his illness. This kind of compassionate care and communication can make a significant difference in the caregiving journey.

Furthermore, Gail explains the importance of living a fulfilling life despite the challenges of caregiving. She shares personal stories of how she and Clay continued to enjoy their passions, such as traveling to Paris or having romantic dinners at French restaurants. Creating beautiful memories and cherishing moments of joy helps alleviate the hardships of caregiving.

Gail also discusses the concept of the labyrinth, which she uses as a metaphor for caregiving. The path is not linear, and there are various turning points that caregivers must navigate. By being aware of these turning points, caregivers can better cope with the challenges and adjust their strategies accordingly.

The interview concludes with Gail discussing the book’s impact and the importance of seeking support and finding hope throughout the caregiving journey.

Gail’s personal stories and practical advice provide valuable insights for caregivers, reminding us all of the power of compassion, communication, and self-care in caregiving.

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