Why We Can't Sleep: Women's New Midlife Crisis PDF å


Why We Can't Sleep: Women's New Midlife Crisis Sleepy Can t sleep Wonder about others sleeping habits The author primarily focuses on Generation X women.but.if you find yourself awake in the middle of the night.you won t feel alone after reading this book Ha I read this during the middle of the night.Ada Calhoun did her research She interviewed thousands of women around the country We get insights about what concerns Generation X womensingle women divorce women women with or without children women working three Sleepy Can t sleep Wonder about others sleeping habits The author primarily focuses on Generation X women.but.if you find yourself awake in the middle of the night.you won t feel alone after reading this book Ha I read this during the middle of the night.Ada Calhoun did her research She interviewed thousands of women around the country We get insights about what concerns Generation X womensingle women divorce women women with or without children women working three jobs women who had gotten a good education and women who stayed in shape These women woke in the middle of the night wondering about alternate life choices they might have made in their lives or had fears about aging money etcThey have been hit hard financially and dismissed culturally They have lots of debt They re squeezed on both sides by children and aging parents The grim state of adulthood is hitting them hard Many are exhausted and bewildered Generation X women were the first women raised from birth hearing the clich having it all they thought they could have careers and a rich home life They were an experiment in crafting a higher achieving,fulfilling, andwell rounded version of the American women By midlife, many found that the experiment was largely failing The boomer generation said they were the first to hear they could have it all but it wasn t until Gen X arrived that it was a main stream expectation Millennials claim they re supposed to have it all , too They have crushing student loan debts They are experiencing social and economic inequality, poisonous political polarization, and a rapidly changing world More opportunity has not necessarily lead to greater happiness or satisfaction.One in four middle aged American women is on antidepressants Nearly 60% of those born between 1965 and 1979 described themselves as stressed I felt sad for many Gen X women Yet, I felt I understood their struggles and concerns I lived through many of the same issues when younger, too Many Generation X women had confusing feelings that they were embarrassed to talk about Generation X women reported being unhappy, depressed or exhausted.They felt they needed to apologize for whining Intellectually they understood that they were lucky The women were fighting with how they really felt vs what they felt they should feel It s a hard place to be stuck in On an up note the cycles of life shine through Many of the concerns for women in their 20 s, 30 s, 40 s, even 50 s.magically begin to clear up Things get better Inner peace is around the corner Older post menopausal women may havewrinkles but a calmness experience hits them in ways they were not able to experience as easily when they were young ambitious driven with grand desires I related with the authors findings about women in their 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s Middle aged women have perspective enough to see what s important and what isn t Agree Just the other day an interesting article came out about how reading at night helped people fall to sleep I posted the article on Facebook fitting with reading this book.I got funny responses from my middle aged female friends saying things like not me..they kept on reading through the nightnothing depressing about it.Kudos to Ada Calhoun for her extensive research exploring this topic I found it heartwarming to connect with women around the world who shared authentically Thank you Grove Atlantic, Netgalley, and Ada Calhoun Generation Xers represent people born largely between 1965 and 1980 and represent a smaller generation than either the Baby Boomers that preceded them or the Millennials that followed Calhoun interviewed a number of women in this age group and cites a plethora of statistics that show that this is an anxious group of women On one hand, they havejob opportunities than their mothers, but only up to a point They havestudent loan debt, credit card debt, and child care costs Juggling w Generation Xers represent people born largely between 1965 and 1980 and represent a smaller generation than either the Baby Boomers that preceded them or the Millennials that followed Calhoun interviewed a number of women in this age group and cites a plethora of statistics that show that this is an anxious group of women On one hand, they havejob opportunities than their mothers, but only up to a point They havestudent loan debt, credit card debt, and child care costs Juggling work, marriage and children does not leave much time for themselves Recommend 3.5 starsSelf help books have always been a bit of a hit and miss for me, which is why I m very selective when it comes to choosing books from this genre to read Of course, first and foremost, the subject matter needs to be interesting and also relevant to my current situation on this count, Ada Calhoun s newest bookWhy We Can t Sleepdid deliver, however in some ways, it also fell a bit short of expectations for me.As a member of Generation X like the author herself , it s refreshing 3.5 starsSelf help books have always been a bit of a hit and miss for me, which is why I m very selective when it comes to choosing books from this genre to read Of course, first and foremost, the subject matter needs to be interesting and also relevant to my current situation on this count, Ada Calhoun s newest bookWhy We Can t Sleepdid deliver, however in some ways, it also fell a bit short of expectations for me.As a member of Generation X like the author herself , it s refreshing to read a book that was able to articulate so much of what I have experienced and felt for most of my life up to this point Many of the insights that Calhoun presented were spot on, to the point that I found myself nodding my head a lot in understanding and agreement In addition to being extremely well researched, with the material laid out in a format that was organized and easy to read, one of the things I appreciated most about this book was the author s approach to the subject matter through interviews with hundreds of women, most of them from Generation X, all of whom candidly shared their stories about their struggles and challenges, Calhoun was able to establish a sense of resonance with readers that other books on the same subject mostly lacked On a personal level, I m the type of reader who tends to shy away from books that I consider to be too scientific in nature, especially ones that are overloaded with a lot of facts, figures, statistics, etc., as I usually find these books boring and as a result, I lose focus really quickly This book was different in that Calhoun didn t just regurgitate a bunch of facts and results from studies to support them rather, she incorporated her own personal experiences as well as those of many other women from different walks of life to create aanecdotal read, which I feel worked well With that said though, I think one of the things this book lacked was, ironically, the self help portion, in that it didn t really present solutions on how to overcome the challenges that Generation X often faced overall Yes, Calhoun does talk about what worked for her, and with a few of the other women interviewed, she also covered how they ended up improving their particular situations, but a lot of it was very specific to them and their lives Basically, this book was insightful in terms of explaining the why portion, but it didn t really go into the what to do about how we re feeling portion, at least not in a way that was helpful in my circumstances Overall, I feel that this book is definitely worth a read, but I think how much readers would be able to relate to it depends on their personal situations which I believe is why the reviews for this book are all over the place I certainly got some things out of it mostly knowledge in that I found out some stuff I didn t know before , but as I said earlier, I also found quite a few things lacking I would still recommend this book, but with a warning not to go into it with too many pre established expectations if it works for you, then great, but if it doesn t, that should be fine too I was lucky to receive an early copy of this book from Edelweiss I have read a lot of books about women in today s society, but never one that examined the problem from a generational lens I did my master s research paper on generations in the workplace, specifically the library, and it was really interesting to get a new perspective on it Calhoun is a member of Generation X, and so the book focuses mostly on that generation, but there is plenty of context from the other generations as well I was lucky to receive an early copy of this book from Edelweiss I have read a lot of books about women in today s society, but never one that examined the problem from a generational lens I did my master s research paper on generations in the workplace, specifically the library, and it was really interesting to get a new perspective on it Calhoun is a member of Generation X, and so the book focuses mostly on that generation, but there is plenty of context from the other generations as well It was a really eye opening way to look at the multiple disconnects in American middle class society, and the takeaway is also that Generation X is stronger than they think Having dealt with a lot of crap in their young lives, hitting the workforce at the time of some major recessions, and now being in debt and squeezed between young kids and aging parents and yet they keep pressing on, working hard, showing the world that they have something to offer I myself am an early Millennial, one year away from being Gen X sometimes we re known as the Oregon Trail Generation because we were the last kids to grow up without the Internet, but we did have computers, and we had Oregon Trail So I learned some things about growing up in the 70s, while also relating to the world of the 80s, which I vaguely remember from my young childhood Although there aren t easy answers to the conundrums here, the book sheds light on them and offers perspective Although Calhoun does talk about her life my favorite anecdote was about British Club it s less a memoir than some of the other books on this topicof thorough, researched journalism, which is refreshing I do love a good memoir and an author s perspective, but it was nice to see a different approach I ve finally finished this book, which is basically a pity dump for upper middle class 40 something, privileged white women Wow, what a lot of navel gazing and self absorption The author finished writing this book as she turned 42, which I don t even consider midlife I guess I m an optimist but I m aiming higher than 84 I have a vivid memory of when I was 42 This memory rarely leaves me I was sitting in an empty lobby in a children s hospital with my 6 month old baby in my arms Two janit I ve finally finished this book, which is basically a pity dump for upper middle class 40 something, privileged white women Wow, what a lot of navel gazing and self absorption The author finished writing this book as she turned 42, which I don t even consider midlife I guess I m an optimist but I m aiming higher than 84 I have a vivid memory of when I was 42 This memory rarely leaves me I was sitting in an empty lobby in a children s hospital with my 6 month old baby in my arms Two janitors went by pushing garbage cans Over the loudspeaker, a woman said that business hours were over and recited a prayer that echoed through the emptied space Through two double doors, surgeons were performing emergency surgery on my 13 year old oldest child s jawline where sepsis had set in following surgery two weeks earlier Techs had been unable to find her veins for hours to get painkillers into her to try to control her incredible pain, and she d spent a feverish night in our tiny hometown hospital the night before where morphine didn t make a dent in her pain and a nurse angrily told her crying like that isn t going to make it any better We d rushed her to her oncologist an hour and a half away in the morning, who had recommended emergency surgery Only days before, we d found out that the large lump that the doctors had dismissed as a cyst was cancer, but it wasn t even the most dangerous medical reality because infection was spreading into her bloodstream and it could quickly turn fatal I had called my best friend in Nebraska the night before and said that I didn t even know how to feel when the fact that my child had cancer was not even the scariest thing we were dealing with The worry during those days was such an intense, visceral pain that it made it hard to breathe, much less sleep She beat the cancer and the sepsis but the years that followed led to evenmedical emergencies andsurgeries At only 21 now, our oldest child has had three surgeries above the neck for three separate medical issues, which doesn t even make a dent in the dozen other medical crises that have arisen.That keeps me awake at night.Worrying about whether my kids will even have a livable planet when they are my age keeps me up at night Seriously, the odds are against our children making it to middle age, according to an awful lot of scientists I was a little baffled by Calhoun s apparent complete lack of worry for her child or for younger generations.The deaths of an endless stream of good friends and family members keeps me up at night I ve lost my mother, father, aunts, grandparents and every relative but a distant mean aunt and a very nice cousin and his kids who live far away Friend after friend has died, yet another last week in a pretty gobsmackingly tragic way and my poor 21 year old was there when it happened.Grief keeps me up at night Deep, profound worry about my kids keeps me up at night To be honest, the election of Donald Trump and all that he did to vulnerable people caused me a fair number of sleepless nights And yeah, hot flashes do a bit of that too But mostly deep and profound worry about others keeps me up at night.But despite all that, I am a pretty happy and content person I really like my life It would be great if loved ones would stop dying and terrible things didn t keep me up at night with worry, but it s not about me Good grief It s other people that keep me from sleeping at 3 a.m., not the stuff in this book Some of Calhoun s points are valid in terms of caring for elderly parents and regrets, but for the most part she is so incredibly entitled and self absorbed that I hate read this book I know how lucky I am Women my age are terrified of being deported or of losing their children, are caring for kids with terminal illnesses, are buried in debt and facing homelessness, and living with diseases that fill their lives with pain and challenges This book highlights how incredibly lucky many modern American, white, middle class women are, not unlucky The irony is that only those on the outside will ever see that.I read a digital ARC of this book for the purpose of review I cannot believe I was blessed to read this AMAZING book before it was formally released I was invited to read this book through NetGalley Ada Calhoun s Why We Can t Sleep has become my bible, my battle cry, my feminist go to book for women my age I got so much out of reading this book The very second I picked up this book I literally absorbed each and every word and got angrier in the best possible way ,passionate, anddedicated to my own goals and missions I legitimatel I cannot believe I was blessed to read this AMAZING book before it was formally released I was invited to read this book through NetGalley Ada Calhoun s Why We Can t Sleep has become my bible, my battle cry, my feminist go to book for women my age I got so much out of reading this book The very second I picked up this book I literally absorbed each and every word and got angrier in the best possible way ,passionate, anddedicated to my own goals and missions I legitimately thought I was all alone I was relieved and felt vindicated in reading this book I enjoyed reading how the author interviewed many women of our generation and I liked how not every woman had their lives all mapped out The book was immensely relatable and any woman who grew up in the 1980s will understand all of the references, will understand about the laissez faire manner in which we were raised by our parents and handled by teachers and administration We inherited a lot of negative things that we had no idea would reverberate for so many years to come I, too, grew up believing that I was entitled to the American Dream I, too, wanted to have it all but nearing 40, I have nothing This was not from lack of trying We were lied to as kids We were raised, brainwashed, really, into thinking that every single person would grow up to be successful and to believe that we would all be married by 30, have two point five kids, live in a big house in an affluent area, and have a slew of cats and dogs I have none of those I never got married, I only recently decided to take the leap and finally pursue my dream even though I am so, so poor and often regret my decision I have no kids, no desire to have them, and spent too many years trying to please others and trying to fit into some mold that other people tried shoving me in I ve only recently grown the huevos to finally say enough is enough and to fight for what I want in life This book is a testament to women of our generation to keep fighting for what we want in life Happiness really is relative and we have to fight for what happiness feels like by our own definition, not by what society claims will make us happy I liked how Ms Calhoun discusses the repercussions of feminism I like exploring the idea of what the first wave of feminists had envisioned and what feminism looks like now I feel that because of this movement, women who do not have the personality or disposition to hold a traditional full time job that is demanding and lucrative is seen as weak, lazy, or unambitious I like exploring the concept that feminism has many layers and that having that job does not make youof a woman, and not having that job, does not make you less of one.My dissertation was about the recession implications of employment challenges faced by single, educated, childless women in the United States I wrote this at a time where I could not get enough people to participate in my study I feel that my topic was way ahead of its time but feel I d makeprogress with this topic now Women are braver now,confident, and are paving their own futures regardless of perceived societal norms More women are opting to marry later, if at all, and are opting to have children later, or not at all I feel that I spent my whole life taking care of other people At this phase in my life, I m choosing to be selfish and to take care of myself for once and that doesn t involve getting married or having children I m at peace with my decision Yes, I worry about my future Yes, I worry about not having a pension, 401k, decent health insurance, a man to grow old with to help me financially, etc I worry about those things every day But this book allowed me to feel how I feel without judgment, without fear, and with relief that others feel and think similarly to how I feel I am so privileged to be able to have read this book early What an amazing read and worth reading if you are a Generation X, middle aged woman, who is still trying to figure out why the hell we can t sleep When Ada Calhoun found herself in the throes of a midlife crisis, she thought that she had no right to complain She was married with children and a good career So why did she feel miserable And why did it seem that other Generation X women were miserable, too Calhoun decided to find some answers She looked into housing costs, HR trends, credit card debt averages, and divorce data At every turn, she saw a pattern sandwiched between the Boomers and the Millennials, Gen X women were facing new problems as they entered middle age, problems that were being largely overlookedSpeaking with women across America about their experiences as the generation raised to have it all, Calhoun found that most were exhausted, terrified about money, under employed, and overwhelmed Instead of being heard, they were told instead to lean in, take me time, or make a chore chart to get their lives and homes in orderIn Why We Can t Sleep, Calhoun opens up the cultural and political contexts of Gen X s predicament and offers solutions for how to pull oneself out of the abyss and keep the next generation of women from falling in The result is reassuring, empowering, and essential reading for all middle aged women, and anyone who hopes to understand them Boomers deserve full credit for blazing trails while facing unchecked sexism and macroaggressions and for trying to raise children while giving up their own dreams But Gen Xers entered life with having it all not as a bright new option but as a mandatory social condition Confession being born in 1981, this classifies me as a very old Millennial and not a Gen Xer But I figure I had a crush on Zach Morris as a kid, so, you know, I m close enough to Calhoun s target demographic to warrantBoomers deserve full credit for blazing trails while facing unchecked sexism and macroaggressions and for trying to raise children while giving up their own dreams But Gen Xers entered life with having it all not as a bright new option but as a mandatory social condition Confession being born in 1981, this classifies me as a very old Millennial and not a Gen Xer But I figure I had a crush on Zach Morris as a kid, so, you know, I m close enough to Calhoun s target demographic to warrant reading this book and subsequently writing this review.The good this book was well researched Calhoun gives facts, figures, and stats that she pulled from a variety of studies, and she has the citations to prove it She also interviewed a large smattering of different Gen X ladies to gain their insights for this bookThey are single and partnered, mothers and childless, black and white and Asian and Latina, gay and straight, liberal and conservative, evangelical and atheist, and they hail from nearly every state, including Alaska They live in the country, the city, and the suburbs They work, don t work, did work, will work, and have careers that include photographer, priest, tech executive, lawyer, doctor, teacher, and telephone company manager They range in dress size from 0 to 28 Some are having an okay time of middle age many are struggling in one way or anotherAdditionally, I appreciated how this book was organized into different sections from caregiving to job instability to money to being single and childless to post divorce This way, it was easier for me to skim through the sections that were less relevant to my life raising kiddos yawn and focuson the ME sections I mean, I am a selfish Millennial, after all.The not so good although well researched, I wouldn t say I necessarily learned anything new nor earth shattering from reading this book Gen Xer ladies grew up hearing they could have it all and this book shows that being told you re supposed to be kick a at everything leads to ladies feeling like they re failing at somethingOur lives can begin to feel like the latter seconds of a game of Tetris, where the descending pieces pile up faster and fasterAlso, although there was a lot of information on Why We Can t Sleep but not so much information on What To Do To Help Us Sleep Calhoun does share a few tidbits in the final chapter of what s helped her, but they re very tailored specifically to her life and her situation Additionally, and this is on me, I m just not the biggest fan of self help books which this book kinda sorta is Although it wasn t particularly long at less than 300 pages, it felt like the same information was repeated over and over which is a trait I find in a lot of self help books Lastly, I found this book to be rather depressing Regardless of if the Gen X ladies interviewed for this book were mothers, childless, married, single, gay, straight, the breadwinners, or jobless, they were all stressed out and unhappy on some levelThings are so much better than they were decades ago, but they can be bad and better at the same time Thanks to NetGally for an ARC of Why We Can t Sleep in exchange for my honest review I loved Calhoun s book about wedding toasts This one felt forced to me I could not relateto a book I am gen x also struggling with sleep But I am not sure the answers in here are right or at least new There s a lot in here about structural issues like fair pay and second shift stuff and a lot of personal stories She points out that wine drinking has become this generation s self help philosophy This seems true, but I m not sure it s unique to this generation I appreciate her artic I loved Calhoun s book about wedding toasts This one felt forced to me I could not relateto a book I am gen x also struggling with sleep But I am not sure the answers in here are right or at least new There s a lot in here about structural issues like fair pay and second shift stuff and a lot of personal stories She points out that wine drinking has become this generation s self help philosophy This seems true, but I m not sure it s unique to this generation I appreciate her articulating how the midlife crisis in women presents differently than in men mostly because we have too many people to look after to leave the family and buy a sports car I would have liked to see that exploredwith some psychiatric professionals and studies, but as she notes, it just hasn t been studied as much She brings up peri menopause for a second and then just leaves it I think we probably needmedical work on what is happening hormonally to women of a certain age which is younger than women of that certain other age Parts of it made me angry It is all about how Gen X women have it worse than women of any other generation, which is of course BS If she had just focused on our challenges and not tried to make it a who had worst contest, it would have been great book The challenges and differences were on point, but when she says and that s why ours is worse , I wanted to throw the book across the room.Also, it was very white hetero upper middle class centric, and the lack of understanding of diverse view Parts of it made me angry It is all about how Gen X women have it worse than women of any other generation, which is of course BS If she had just focused on our challenges and not tried to make it a who had worst contest, it would have been great book The challenges and differences were on point, but when she says and that s why ours is worse , I wanted to throw the book across the room.Also, it was very white hetero upper middle class centric, and the lack of understanding of diverse views really irritated me in fact, don t bother to read it It s flaws really outweighed its plusses


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About the Author: Ada Calhoun

Award winning journalist Ada Calhoun is the author of the NYC history St Marks Is Dead, chosen by Kirkus and the Boston Globe as one of the best books of 2015 the essay collection Wedding Toasts I ll Never Give, named by W magazine one of the best 10 memoirs of 2017 and Why We Can t Sleep Women s New Midlife Crisis, coming out January, 7, 2020.