Just Push Play—on Midlife!
Society is experiencing an unprecedented demographic surge, with more women between the ages of 45 and 65 than ever before in history. Midlife women number 4.5 million in Canada and 16 million in the United States. Over the next fifteen years, midlife women will comprise over half the female population. These early and late boomers didn’t follow their mothers’ rules for dating, marriage and motherhood, so why should they now be happy to follow an outdated script for midlife?
An enormous number of women are searching for a different approach to midlife and seeking clarity on this next chapter of their lives. This audience represents a vast market for a self-help book that goes beyond health and fitness issues to re-examine a woman’s purpose in midlife. Just Push Play—on Midlife! is an interactive journal to help women map their happiest, most fulfilling and most playful midlife.
Just Push Play arises from two best friends’ search for answers as they navigated middle age. In the middle of our lives, we discovered that the “middle years,” as currently defined, were not big enough to hold all the passion, purpose and play we wished to experience. So we set about redefining our identities and life goals. Both of us are natural storytellers who draw on our career expertise. Leigh Morrow, an investigative reporter in both radio and TV for more than twenty-five years, learned the art of entertaining while also informing her audience. Crystal Buchan worked as a legislative editor and, for two decades, as a family lawyer, witnessing the power of midlife women re-creating their lives after separation and divorce.
As co-authors we wrote the manuscript separately, not showing each other our work until we were finished. We then took a week and locked ourselves in a hotel room on Kauai (well, we did do some dancing!), where we used masking tape, and the walls, to paste together the nine chapters we had previously created as the framework for the book. We ended up finding out hidden parts about ourselves and each other—quite surprising for us both, since we have been close for over 35 years.
At a time when women in midlife are more savvy, more financially stable and more connected than ever before, they still face society’s outdated expectations that with age they will step back, pipe down and be content to be “invisible.” Just Push Play will strike a chord with the large number of women who are searching for a different—dare we say louder—approach to midlife.
In short, easy-to-digest personal essays, we share our own midlife dreams, disappointments and discoveries, including stories about not becoming our mothers, about overcoming fear and jumping into the unknown. Whether making Friday the official day of the week for midlife, diving into the deep pools of Japanese philosophies wabi-sabi and kintsugi, or finding inspiration in difficult midlife transitions such as emptying our parents’ homes or clearing out our own nests, we create a new mindset to take us through these middle years.
Just Push Play is intended to remind readers of the diaries and scrapbooks they created as young girls. Each chapter contains lively illustrations, discovery projects and playful activities designed to spark readers’ creativity and self-reflection. In line with Keri Smith’s popular book Living Out Loud: Activities to Fuel a Creative Life and the subsequent Wreck This Journal series, Just Push Play encourages out-of-the-box creativity—for the specific audience of midlife women.
The book’s wide margins and casual format provide plenty of room for jotting notes, journaling, colouring, gluing, cutting and even ripping out some pages, as part of the book’s creative play. Keepsakes, such as the letters readers are encouraged to write to their mother or their future self, are stored in a back pocket of the book, to be read later or shared. This playbook incorporates many activities women love to do—from writing and journaling, to making notes and short lists, to creating drawings, coloured paintings, detailed letters, and quick, snappy answers to self-discovery prompts.
As best-selling mystery author Louise Penny, age 57, recently stated in Zoomer, “Now’s our time. There’s so much crap that adheres to us as we go through life, all the rules we’ve picked up from childhood onward, that it’s hard to set those aside and get to the heart of what we really like rather than what we’re told we have to be.” Just Push Play will help women tune in to themselves and hear the murmurs of their heart.
It will also create, in one book, a detailed account of their midlife journey, just as their ancestors recorded their pilgrimages or transatlantic voyages to new lands. In this digital age, our playbook may well speak to the need for midlife women, who grew up with autograph books and secret diaries, to hold a pen, collect their thoughts on paper, write a letter and save this book, in the back of their closet, for those who come after us to read and understand.