Saturday, July 1, 2017

Book Report: 52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life

Okay, it was the title of this that caught my attention.  This book is written by Andrea Owen and she has overcome an eating disorder, alcoholism and divorce to emerge as a powerhouse in the life-coaching world.

In her introduction she made a statement that stirred me:
"I had spent our entire relationship, all thirteen years, suffocating myself. Building a life around someone else because I was simply desperate for love. Was it his fault?  No."

She then proceeds with the advice that you must take responsibility for your life.  A simple yet profound statement.  She deals a lot with how your attitude forms your being and how important it is to take negative thoughts and turn them into committed beliefs.  An example of this is to take the thought of "I'm fat, lazy and unattractive" into "I would love to lose weight by eating better and exercising."

In her section of allowing yourself to be alone I learned that personal autonomy is imperative for a healthy relationship.  To get to know yourself without anyone else, to find out what you really want in relationships, your life and your future.  And if your relationships are less than perfect it could be that you don't know yourself yet.

Here is a segment of what she promotes:

  • Take responsibility for yourself.
  • Forgive yourself for your past.
  • Own your story and at the same time love yourself for it.
  • Set healthy boundaries.
  • Go after what you want.
  • Believe you are worth what you want.
  • Take care of your physical, mental and emotional well-being.
  • Accept praise and compliments.
One of her nuggets was "don't complain about anything you're not willing to take action on".  This reminded me of a time in my past when a dear friend, after listening to me complain for the hundredth time how awful my husband was (not Left Brain but his predecessor)gave me the following tough love speech. "I will love you whatever choice you make, stay with him or divorce him, but until you're ready to actually do something about the situation... I don't want to hear about it anymore".  Wow.  I'd lost my sounding board for my pity party and had to put on my big girl panties.  And I did, I asked for a divorce within a week of that announcement.

I've always been a creative person and several friends have encouraged me to return to my sewing and dollmaking, something creative.  She points out in this book that "What might be creative for you is actually creating yourself. Creating that person you want to be, the person you were meant to be. And know that by doing that, you're actually creating your own revolution of sorts- by standing up for who you are and not who you think you should be".  This gave me a tingle since part of my exile to Arizona was to separate from being part of a couple to living alone to figure out just who the heck I was.  I'd lost sight of that while raising kids, caring for elderly parents, working at a job and being married.

At the end of her book she asks this question:
"What if, at the end of your life, there is a questionnaire. Which box do you want to check?
___I made everyone happy by not expressing my passionate opinion because I didn't want to offend anyone.
___I expressed my opinion and it meant something big to me.

This trying to find out who you are and what you really want is hard least for me.  I envy those who have clear thoughts on the matter...I've always been a slow learner.  But I think at age 65 it's time to work it out.  Wish me luck.

Long Live the Evolving Queen


  1. Is her advice only for women who are living alone? What about the women who are still living with their mates? Does she explain how to find ourselves while still being happy with our mate? She has a lot of good advice, but I don't hear where our partner comes in. The thing I miss the most about my marriage is the companionship. On the other hand, I'm not going to marry again just for that reason.

    I wish you well on your new journey. You have a wonderful day my friend. Hugs, Edna B.

  2. I'm following along with your journey of self discovery. I'm reading the book and found that up to chapter 18 it's been about bad relationships so I too have the question of how to find ourselves and be happy with our mates. I thought about it and realized that we have to first be happy with ourselves before we can fully be happy in a relationship. I also realized that there are relationships other then as a spouse that can be abusive, for me it's the relationship with my oldest brother. He's a very emotionally controlling and manipulative person and is always looking to create drama, something I do not want in my life. The suggestions offered in the first chapters are giving me perspective on that relationship.

    Hubby and I are together on this journey of self discovery as we have moved past the excitement of the newly retired into the day to day functioning outside our jobs. We do make a point of giving each other space and time for our own activities, but as a woman I have far more challenges in the self definition then he has. My dictated role for years as caregiver to multiple family members as well as the dictates of society have left me struggling to find who I am at this point in my life. I'll keep reading this book and travel with you in this journey of discovering who we really are and how we want to live our life. Best always, Mary