Why We Can't Sleep

Why We Can't Sleep

Women's New Midlife Crisis

eBook - 2020
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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 overlooked.
Speaking 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 their issues being heard, they were told instead to lean in, take "me-time," or make a chore chart to get their lives and homes in order.
In 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.

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CareyMacaulay
May 05, 2020

"When the tough things happen -- parents get sick, relationships go sour, careers stall -- we might ask ourselves if the situation is a prison or a school: a place to escape or one in which to learn."

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CareyMacaulay
May 05, 2020

"The world ignores middle-aged women at its peril."

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CareyMacaulay
May 05, 2020

"'I remember after my second kid was born,' said one friend of mine, 'and putting on three pounds every year, and thinking, Huh, this isn't that great ... Okay, these are the things I'm going to do to work out and blah, blah, blah, and then at some point being like, Can I actually just be a mom? Can I not have to be a MILF? I'm just about to hit forty, so I'm solid MILF material, but also could I just be a squishy mom? Do we ever get permission to look forty rather than twenty, to just be old? And not even old, but 'Yeah, I popped a couple out, give me a break.' I don't want to go to Pilates. I don't remember all our moms looking that good at forty.'"

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CareyMacaulay
May 05, 2020

"This is the time of life when we learn that we don't have to be pleasing; the work now is just to become more ourselves."

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CareyMacaulay
May 05, 2020

"I'm just saying, I guess, there's another version, after this version, to look forward to. Because of wisdom or hormones or just enough years going by. If you live long enough you quit chasing the things that hurt you; you eventually learn to hear the sound of your own voice."

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CareyMacaulay
May 05, 2020

"... hormones are affected by diet, stress, exercise, and sleep. While it's not easy for all of us to maintain a healthy weight, sleep eight hours a night, or go back in time and spend our whole lives eating a soy-rich diet, it's nice to know that at least theoretically some of that might help."

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CareyMacaulay
May 05, 2020

"'Why am I irritable at work?' she says, 'Well, you don't just have work. You have work at work and work at home and work in the family and work in the community.'"

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CareyMacaulay
May 05, 2020

"Money is weird, because it's a primary source of stress, and nobody's allowed to talk about it."

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CareyMacaulay
May 05, 2020

"You know how to do this already: love when it's difficult. It's a superpower. You just need to use it for yourself, too." Min Jin Lee

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sjb333
Oct 05, 2020

A must read for GenX women

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talariah
Jun 30, 2020

Didn’t finish. Gen X complaints

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CareyMacaulay
May 05, 2020

So, this was a surprise. I thought this was about sleep but it was more about women of a certain age -- my age -- and what makes us tick. The economics, our education, even our early years as free-range kids. It was a very well researched walk down memory lane, if that memory lane was from a United States perspective. Much of her writing did overlap with the Canadian identity, but, of course, not all. It was also glaringly obvious that although the book was published this year, 2020, it is already out of date due to the current situation. That is not a criticism -- it is just how non-fiction will be read now -- through the lenses of the current global pandemic. Then there was this: "Eerily, Strauss and Howe predicted a 2020 crisis brought about by Boomers, one for which Gen X will 'provide able on-site managers and behind-the-scenes facilitators, the ones whose quick decisions could spell the difference between triumph and tragedy ... In an age of rising social intolerance, the very incorrigibility of midlife 13ers will at times be a national blessing.'" Talk about eerie! I know in Canada, those calm, knowledgeable faces of Covid-19 are female: Dr. Theresa Tam, Dr. Bonnie Henry, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, to name a few. (That is not to diss Nova Scotia's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Robert Strang, who is also a calm voice of reason and is doing an amazing job!)

I especially loved the Midlife Crisis Mixed Tape at the end of the book. I listened to some of the songs yesterday while I was puttering around the house and it was amazing -- new favourites, old favourites, and all-around nostalgic goodness 🤗 Her reference bibliography at the back of the book has caused my TBR to expand exponentially.

IndyPL_LeahK Mar 31, 2020

Ada Calhoun in Why We Can't Sleep explores Generation X middle class women facing midlife. In a nutshell, the book is an accurate description of the 4 am wake up so many Gen X women experience filled with anxiety about "money, relationships, work, and existential despair." Known for being morose and the most distraught generation, this book may be the perfect read to make you feel less alone. In other words, everyone is miserable, exhausted, and working harder for less money. And even when Gen X women reach success in some areas of their life, it still doesn't feel like enough. Filled with personal narratives of women, citations from a multitude of books and articles, and heavy on statistics and research to back her claims, Calhoun also includes her own personal struggles and insecurities. Fittingly, Calhoun ends with her own "Midlife Crisis Mixtape."

debwalker Jan 07, 2020

When GenX hits midlife....

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