Remember during grade school, when the boys and girls were separated into different classrooms and given “the talk” about what would soon take place with their changing bodies?

Do schools still do that, or are kids now left to figure these things out on their own via YouTube?

Lately I’ve been wondering why there isn’t a similar class or instruction manual to help we aging folk navigate the transition from youth to old age.

Things begin to change, and often without warning. Can we talk chin hairs, people?

That’s why I’m so grateful for The Wonder Years: 40 Women over 40 on Aging, Faith, Beauty, and Strength, edited by Leslie Leyland Fields.

And it’s releasing today.

In this collection of essays, the authors tackle a wide range of issues that most women will almost inevitably confront – including wrinkles, jiggly thighs, loss, and regret. They take on both the challenges and opportunities that arise as we age, and do so with humor, wisdom, hope, faith, and joy.

And while a number of the pieces dare to look directly into the reality of approaching death, The Wonder Years is by no means sad or morbid.

For example in her essay, “This is Forty,” Jen Pollock Michel writes:

To think of death is to properly appraise time, and brooding on life’s end has the unsung benefits of helping us to live purposely.

The idea of living purposely is very much what I had in mind when I walked away from my job as a copywriter.

And the opportunity to take in the wisdom of these authors could not have been more timely for me in getting ready to push “publish” and launch my third act.

This collection includes insights from a number of highly respected female voices such as: Madeleine L’Engle, Joni Eareckson Tada, Ann Voskamp, Elisabeth Elliott, and Luci Shaw – just to name a few.

I was also delighted to see pieces from women I’ve gotten to know via their online presence, and as friends, including Jennifer Dukes Lee, Laura Lee Brown, and Charity Singleton Craig.

The Wonder Years is the field manual I could have used twenty or so years ago in order to prepare me for what would soon take place.

Not only do I recommend this book to fellow sojourners in their forties, fifties, and beyond, but I’m also planning to gift copies to some of the younger women in my life.

It is my hope that they’ll take in the collected wisdom of these forty women so they can begin to look forward to their wonder years with faith, beauty, and strength.

I hope you’ll take a look for yourself.

Disclosure: Although I received an advance copy of The Wonder Years from the publisher, the opinions expressed above are my own.

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