Over 50 & Thriving Series

Discovering a literary lifestyle after 50

April 5, 2018
Discovering a literary lifestyle after 50

Discovering a literary lifestyle after 50

 

Literary lifestyle?  When I first saw this I was intrigued with what my next guest in the Over 50 & Thriving Series was going to talk about in relation to Thriving.  Obviously books and if you are like me I devour them!

My guest writer, this week, is Wendy Staton from The Art of ‘Why Not’?.  Wendy was one of my first blogging friends and I still have a beautiful Christmas Tree ornament she sent me in our first year of friendship.

Wendy has started a wonderful Facebook group which is really like a ‘Book Club’ and I think it is an inventive idea to encourage us all to re-discover the love of books and to really discuss them.  You can find details of her group, website and other social media links at the end of her post.

Discovering a literary lifestyle after 50

 

Discovering a literary lifestyle after 50

 

When Sue first asked me to join her Over 50 & Thriving Guest Series, I admit I was a little hesitant. Not because of the “over 50” part; I’ve got that one covered. Rather, it was the “thriving” aspect that was giving me pause. You see, although I’ve been doing quite a lot during the past several months, I worried how much of it could really be considered “thriving.”

 

There was, however, an important fact I was forgetting:

I don’t need to be blazing a course that changes the world in order to thrive. The things that bring me joy don’t usually glitter. They are, actually, quite likely to be simple pleasures that fulfill the needs of a particular season of my life. I’m guessing that, perhaps, you feel much the same way?

 

One of the great aspects of being a woman is how we each find enjoyment in so many different pursuits. As our seasons change, so do our interests. The “over 50” stage of life often means having time to explore those pastimes more deeply, sometimes as a result of a major life change — empty nest, retirement, relationships, even health. Don’t fear that big change; embrace it, explore it, thrive in it…even when events don’t go as you planned.

 

Eighteen months ago I put away my teacher’s chalk and made some pretty lofty personal goals for the coming year. One month later, life crept in. A perfect storm of unforeseen circumstances altered most of my plans, and those circumstances and plans are still in flux. That’s not a bad thing; as a matter of fact, I’ve experienced many wonderful surprises! I did, however, need to stop, reassess, and pivot.

 

Part of my personal pivot resulted after a few months of house-bound down time, followed by several months of frequent travel. A wonderful consequence of both was a burst in my reading life. I thoroughly enjoyed scaling my own personal Mt. Must Read! This extrovert loved getting lost in the stories, however, I didn’t want to do it alone all the time. On the contrary, I wanted to take these literary journeys with friends.

Cue the bookclubs!

Nerdy? Dull? Gasp, lazy?? Please don’t write me off as the boring high school lit teacher, yet! We are not a group of brainiacs, we don’t dissect the hidden meanings of a book, we don’t even have a set format. We gather in living rooms, restaurants, coffee shops. We eat packaged cookies and drink water with no fanfare. Or we theme our snacks and decorations with the book. Sometimes we serve an entire meal based on the book we just read (á la Julia Child and her delicious memoir My Life In France!).

It is remarkable to watch the conversation go from hesitant to quite deep, often unexpectedly and with great emotion. The laughter and bonding that can occur between women who are so different in age, background, and interests is a wonder. When we each see our own 20-year-old selves in a character on the page, we don’t see how different we are, we see how much we are the same. As C. S. Lewis so famously expressed, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’”

Discovering a literary lifestyle after 50

I was surprised by the enjoyment I found in this monthly bookish gathering of women and the friendships we’ve formed in our diversity. I found myself wanting more, so I started my own online book club. Since then, I’ve continued to climb my impossible-to-summit Mt. Must Read. I’ve been entertained. I’ve wrestled with complicated issues that force me to articulate my values. I’ve laughed, cried, and been compelled to see things from another’s perspective.

Discovering a literary lifestyle after 50

So disregard all those stereotypes about “thriving.” What makes you thrive today may not look like it will next week. Therein, my friend, lies your opportunity.

Learn to pivot and discover those experiences you didn’t expect to enjoy!”

Thank you, Sue, for the opportunity to share in your current series! You are an inspiration to us all and a great example of learning to thrive where we are!

 

Meet Wendy

Wendy StatonWendy’s writing journey began as a way to document her “empty nest” endeavors to live her motto: “Every day, just a little bit better!” She encourages women to find extraordinary moments in the midst of ordinary days by living intentionally in whatever season God has placed them.

Married over 25 years and mom to one adult daughter, her current happy place is in and around all things water. Or in a book. Or both. You can find her sharing her stories in the following places.

Connect with Wendy

Blog:                http://TheArtOfWhyNot.com
Facebook:       https://www.facebook.com/TheArtOfWhyNot/
Prose & Pastime Facebook Group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1004483679681627/
Instagram:       https://www.instagram.com/wendy_staton/
Pinterest:         https://www.pinterest.com/wendydayz/
Twitter:          https://twitter.com/wendyrstaton

Do you belong to a book club?  If not, why not join Wendy’s on Facebook?

What type of books do you enjoy?  Join the conversation….

 

Click here to catch up on my previous guests in Over 50 & Thriving Series

Or you can subscribe here so you never miss a post and receive a FREE Copy of my latest e-book ’10 ways to start Thriving today’!

Don’t forget to post your Instagram photos using the hashtag #over50andthriving.

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31 Comments

  • Reply Jo Tracey April 5, 2018 at 08:18

    I’m an avid reader – I always have been – yet have never belonged to a book club. Partly because I had an image of people sitting around attempting to dissect hidden meanings or high brow prose. I also figured that they were only interested in reading serious or meaningful books – when I’m more interested in happy endings. I love the idea of one that themes food around the book being read – partly because food is almost a character in its own right in what I write myself (pun intended). I’m off to check out the online group 🙂 #teamlovinlife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 5, 2018 at 09:34

      Prose and Pastime is a lovely group Jo and Wendy is such a beautiful soul. I have to admit I haven’t taken part in any of the discussions but I just think the idea of an online book club is great. I’m reading a book Autumn Leaves (a thriller) because it is Autumn. Wendy gave me the idea of reading a book for each season so I’m trying to do that.

    • Reply Wendy | The Art of "Why Not?" April 6, 2018 at 12:01

      Hi, Jo Tracey! We are anything but high brow our book clubs, and we also love happy endings, haha! Not to say we won’t read and enjoy a less than happy story. I’m happy you decided to join Prose & Pastime, but please don’t let this month’s book scare you off (almost 600 pages!). As for food being a character in itself, oh YES! 🙂

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee April 5, 2018 at 08:27

    The Wednesday Club is perfect for this (see my blog post on it) – So far we’ve gone to an art exhibition, No lights, No Lycra and Pub Choir. Pottery is next up…it’s a good way to try things out on a regular basis. #Lovinglifelinky

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 5, 2018 at 09:31

      Hi Lydia I just read your post and love the idea! I’m also going to check out the book to read. What a fabulous idea xx

    • Reply Wendy | The Art of "Why Not?" April 6, 2018 at 12:02

      I need to find your post about the Wednesday Club, Lydia! It sounds like something I would enjoy! 🙂

  • Reply Raych Case April 5, 2018 at 09:09

    I started a book club last year and also do online reviews. I had to take this approach in order to find the time to get back into reading. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 5, 2018 at 09:26

      I love reading Raych and I did belong to a book club for a while. It certainly does get your focus back onto reading because you usually have to have read the book to either review or discuss at the book club. What authors do you like?

    • Reply Wendy | The Art of "Why Not?" April 6, 2018 at 12:06

      What a great site you have, Raych! As for being forced to start a book club and write reviews just to be able to read, boy, do I get it! With life these days, sometimes my book club book is the only one I get to read, but at least I get that.

  • Reply Min@WriteoftheMiddle April 5, 2018 at 10:58

    Thanks for introducing us to Wendy, Sue … and lovely to meet you Wendy! I have always loved reading – right back from the early days of primary school. I loved hearing your words on how reading and forming your book club and the friendships you’ve made have all contributed to your sense of thriving. 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 6, 2018 at 10:18

      I love reading Min and can get lost in a book for hours. Wendy and I have known each other through blogging because we started out around the same time about 3 years ago and we just clicked! I love her literary theme on her blog. 🙂

    • Reply Wendy | The Art of "Why Not?" April 6, 2018 at 12:10

      Nice to meet you, too, Min! I remember as early as 2nd grade having my nose stuck in a book every single spare minute (and some “not so spare” moments, haha!). Mobile devices and social media have made me less likely to grab a book, but I’m working on acting like a 7 year old again! 🙂

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl April 5, 2018 at 12:28

    ‘The things that bring me joy usually don’t glitter’. So very true. Thanks for sharing this piece of truth, Wendy. Your online book club is a great idea!

    SSG xxx

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 5, 2018 at 14:20

    I completely agree Wendy – everyone’s version of thriving is different. I’ve just commented on Sue’s FB page that I don’t really “get” the Fierce 50 movement – I don’t see being Fierce as Thriving, but others do – I’m more a peace and quiet thriver and I love reading. I used to belong to a book club a few years ago and it was a great group and some wonderful conversations arose during our meetings!

    Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au
    E for Enjoy Life Today

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 6, 2018 at 10:17

      I get where you are coming from Leanne with Forever Fierce. For me it is just being comfortable with who I am. I love reading too and I need to get that JB Robb series we discussed.

    • Reply Wendy | The Art of "Why Not?" April 6, 2018 at 12:16

      Leanne, my version of thriving varies week to week and even day to day! I wish I could say I’m kidding, haha! I’ve been stuck at home working frantically to get our house ready to sell for several weeks and have listened to several audio books in the process. While that’s been great, I could sure use a little girlfriend time to get my “thrive” going right now! 😉

  • Reply Debbie Harris April 5, 2018 at 21:34

    I love reading too and belong to a book club which is fun despite some of the books not being to everyone’s taste. It makes for good discussion though! I’ve just joined Wendy’s online book club too. Great post about a different kind of thriving Sue., thanks for introducing Wendy.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 6, 2018 at 10:15

      Book clubs really open our minds to other books even though sometimes they aren’t really what we would like to read. I loved Wendy’s idea about Thriving and to date I haven’t had anyone write duplicate ideas – there is a lot of thriving to be done that is for sure!

    • Reply Wendy | The Art of "Why Not?" April 6, 2018 at 12:22

      Hi, Deb! Thanks for joining P&P! I’ve never been in a book club where we all agree on a book. And I admit I’ve chosen a couple of duds for my club. In my IRL club, we take turns selecting the book; whoever picks the book leads the discussion. That way we are guaranteed to read at least one book we want to, haha! After making book selections based on reviews and recommendations last year and ending up with some less than stellar ones, I compiled a list and asked the members of P&P to vote on their top 12. At least now if we have a dud, it’s not all on me! 😉

  • Reply Pat April 6, 2018 at 02:04

    I’ve contemplated joining a book club, but the books I enjoy tend to be written by what many consider the mindless pop-romance or pop-mystery writers. I struggle with getting involved in many of the books everyone reads…. Goldfinch has been about 30% read for months on my nightstand! Joining a club is still a possible activity…for me it would need to be face-to-face so it supports that socialization component I need as well.

    I agree that reading (and writing) are aspects of thriving, if they are things you love.

    Thanks Sue for introducing us to Wendy.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 6, 2018 at 09:24

      Oh there is definitely a place for pop-romance or pop-mystery writers Pat. Book clubs are good for helping you step out of your comfort zone and discover new authours. I don’t belong to one now Pat, although I still belong to Wendy’s online one just not a good attendee at the moment.

    • Reply Wendy | The Art of "Why Not?" April 6, 2018 at 12:24

      Nice to meet you, Pat! We take turns choosing books in one of my clubs, and we’ve had a few pop-books — we’ve all enjoyed them! Book clubs don’t have to be hard — thank goodness! — because then it would no longer be fun! 🙂

      • Reply Pat April 8, 2018 at 02:49

        I’m keeping finding a book club on my Possibilities list for the future. But you’ve definitely inspired me to try some different books/authors as well.

  • Reply Wendy | The Art of "Why Not?" April 6, 2018 at 12:31

    Sue, thank you so much for the opportunity to reflect on what it means to thrive at this point in my life, and the chance to write about it! I’ve enjoyed reading this series, and loved what you said about getting no “repeats!” My lifestyle lately feels less literary and more home improvement, but at least audiobooks are keeping me going through all the painting, cleaning, and purging. As soon as this house is on the market, I think I’m going to spend an entire day with a book and a constantly refilled cup of something good, haha! 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 6, 2018 at 16:28

      It was my pleasure Wendy! We have been blogging friends since the beginning and I am such a fan of your new niche for your website and online bookclub. Exciting times ahead for you and thank you for showing us how to thrive by reading – I can always get lost in a book for hours!

  • Reply Kathy Marris April 6, 2018 at 17:19

    Wendy this is so fabulous, I grinned and cheered as I read your story about finding your niche in life after retiring and being an empty nester. I do love books, but I find my busy lifestyle sometimes finds me too exhausted to read at the end of a busy day. Recently I read a couple of great books when I was on holidays. I like a lot of different genres, but mostly I like something well written with a good story and nothing too mushy. I was a member of a book club a few years ago but found it hard to get into the click of the group of teachers. All they ever did was talk about teaching! #TeamLovinLife

  • Reply Jennifer Jones April 6, 2018 at 20:35

    Wendy I love your Theiving post. I’m going to check out your online Bookclub. I belong to 2 book clubs. One that has been going for 10 years. It’s really precious to me. The other is one I started 2 years ago in a small community. It has a different dynamic to the first bitcalso brings me joy.

  • Reply Michele April 7, 2018 at 23:05

    Wendy, I love that a book club makes you thrive. Perfect for a lit. Teacher! Reading is something I love and always wanted to do more of in my next life. It is truly one of life’s great pleasures!

  • Reply Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle April 12, 2018 at 19:37

    A lovely post Wendy, I like your idea of thriving. I feel like I am thriving and content but to others, it looks a bit boring. I have learned enough from you wonderful ladies to know that I do not have to conform to other peoples way of ‘thriving.’
    After sorting all your stuff, painting and cleaning to sell your house, Wendy, you will need more than a day reading, more like a week . . . enjoy.
    Thanks Sue and Wendy, love you both.

    Kathleen

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