If you’re a forty-to-forever woman who’s interested in aging well, don’t miss this motivating and inspiring book.
Join New York Times bestselling author Claire Cook on a transformative journey that will help you shake off all those worries about getting older and embrace what can be the most vibrant, creative and empowering chapter of your life.
Claire wrote her first book in her minivan at 45. At 50, she walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the adaptation of her novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. With another milestone birthday on the horizon, she was old enough to know the signs: “It was time to get my act together. Again.”
Shine On: How To Grow Awesome Instead of Old speaks to midlife women everywhere and is filled with Claire’s trademark humor, heart, honesty and encouragement.
“A veritable fountain of exciting and practical suggestions for women who want to make sure that even though one cannot help growing older, she can indeed keep from growing old.”—Pamela Kramer, Examiner
“I highly recommend this new book. You’re never too old to get started!”—Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
“Full of inspirational quotes as well as practical suggestions, this is a perfect book to begin a new year on the right foot.”—Looking on the Sunnyside
“Dedicated to “forty-to-forever women,” Shine On offers sage advice not just on aging well, but living well. With her trademark wit and honesty, Claire Cook covers everything from big picture motivation on following your dreams and remembering to have fun, to practical, hands-on tips on fitness, healthy eating, and her favorite beauty products . . . Claire Cook’s wisdom, candor, and effervescent enthusiasm shine on in every word she writes.”—Book Perfume
© 2016 Claire Cook. All rights reserved.
Excerpted from Shine On: How To Grow Awesome Instead of Old
For forty-to-forever women everywhere—
Grow awesome along with me.
The best is yet to be.
As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.―Marianne Williamson
Flipping the Switch
The thing about life is that it sneaks up on you.
Especially if you’re as good at denial as I am.
So there I was, reinvention to the left of me, reinvention to the right of me. Reinvention is the story of my own life. It’s my passion, my life’s work. I wrote my first novel in my minivan at 45. At 50, I walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the movie adaptation of my most well known book, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack.
I’d gone on to write thirteen novels, turned Must Love Dogs into a series. Reinvented my publishing career and become a New York Times bestselling author under my own steam. I’d even written my first nonfiction book, Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (without getting lost along the way), to share everything I’d learned on my own reinvention journey that might help other women in theirs.
I was strong. I was invincible. I was—.
Getting older by the nanosecond.
As Dr. Seuss said, “How did it get so late so soon?”
A milestone birthday is on my horizon and I’m not sure what to make of it. How to deal with it, or even if I want to. What it means. What it could mean.
Further complicating things, if I’m really honest with myself I don’t like how I’m feeling physically, not to mention what I see when I forget to look away and accidentally catch myself in the mirror. And given the way the years are flying by, the startling disconnect between who I am on the inside and the stranger I see reflected back at me doesn’t seem likely to get better.
And, oh, those existential questions. Who am I? What am I here for? What do I want my life to be? What do I want to look like? (Okay, maybe that last one isn’t quite existential.) Wouldn’t you think we could ask and answer these big questions once, or even twice, in our lifetime and then shift into cruise control?
I’m old enough to know the signs: It’s time to get my act together.
As I ponder some more, I realize that what I really, really want to do is figure out how to grow awesome instead of old. How to shine on, and hopefully on and on and on. And because the comment I hear most often from my readers is, hands down, Ohmigod, you’re writing my life, I figure that if I’m struggling with all this stuff, I’m not alone.
So let’s do this. Let’s figure it out together.
Just so you know, my definition of midlife is anytime from 40’s-on-the-horizon until we die. I have absolutely no intention of ever calling myself part of whatever the next category is. Upper middle age? Lower old age? Endlife?
So for the purposes of this book, and maybe even for the purposes of our lives, let’s think of midlife as the forty-to-forever stage.
I’m picturing us standing at the crossroads of awesome and old. It’s not quite as nice a place to be as that corner in Winslow, Arizona made famous by The Eagles in “Take It Easy.” A song that, by the way, is now playing nonstop in my head.
Friends of mine once drove cross-country just to stand at that corner, which has been commemorated by Standin’ on the Corner Park. Two days later they finally pulled off Route 66, “Take It Easy” blaring, singing along at the top of their lungs, only to find a detour around the legendary spot. They circled around and around, trying unsuccessfully to get closer, which made for an entirely different kind of song. Sheryl Crow’s “Detour?” Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game?”
So if we’re going to have an epiphany, or even two or three, as we reinvent our lives to grow awesome instead of old, we should choose our breakthrough locations carefully, right?
I start considering the epic possibilities. I could follow the inspirational breadcrumbs and spend a year in Provence—or more likely six days and five nights if I can find a really good deal. I could eat my way through Italy, meditate my way through India. I could hike the Pacific Crest Trail, at least as far as my fear of heights and my trusty walking sneakers can take me.
I could walk Spain’s Camino de Santiago, one of the most famous pilgrimage routes in the world. I once did a book event that included speaking to a large group and having lunch with a smaller gathering of women afterward. One of my luncheon tablemates had just retired after thirty-some years of teaching. She told me that she was leaving the following week to walk “The Camino” with her husband, a longtime dream of theirs. They’d signed up for a tour from Leon to Santiago that would require them to walk five to eight hours a day for two weeks straight.
There was nothing about this woman that exactly screamed fit. “Wow,” I said. “Good for you. So what are you doing to get ready for it?”
She rolled her eyes. “You sound just like my husband. He’s been training every day for months. I’ll be fine. I’ll just take my time.”
It’s been a few years, but right now I imagine heading off to Spain only to find this lovely woman still sitting along the side of the road. Maybe we could walk together.
Instead, I decide that I’m not feeling very epic or high drama right now. I want to make this awesome thing work within the confines of my everyday life. To see if I can figure it out without having to book a flight, pack my bags.
What I really want to do is to find myself without having to lose myself. Or maybe in a way I’ve already lost myself, so I might as well just cut to the chase and find myself again. Sort of a reinvention staycation, something we can all afford, something that doesn’t involve leaving behind our oversize containers of shampoo and conditioner as well as our favorite pillows.
It’s official. At least the first leg of this journey needs to happen at home. That way when we do decide to go somewhere, we can take our awesomeness with us.
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What some of my awesome readers have to say about Shine On:
“If you do one thing for yourself this holiday season, it should be to buy this book.”—Donna
“Claire Cook’s newest book, Shine On, has arrived at the perfect moment in my life.”—Sheilah
“This exciting narrative offers a ‘guide’ to keep and refer to for advice and suggestions.”—Nancy
“Thank goodness Claire Cook managed to show up just in the nick of time to help guide me through the next transition.”—Candace
“Don’t just read this book, keep it on your nightstand to use for reference.”—Sharon
“With her trademark wit and honesty, Claire helps us move from good intentions to positive results.”—Beth
“Shine On was one of the best books I’ve read in 2015!”—Kristin
“Forward looking and optimistic, it’s the perfect book to usher in the new year.”—Violet