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on December 25, 2010
I enjoyed Composing A Life, but this book is even better. Particularly interesting is the section about people in their 60s returning to an earlier interest and, from the perspective of their adult experience and background, weaving it into the tapestry of the "active wisdom" stage of life. This has happened with several of my friends, colleagues and clients; they found it was perfect timing in their 60s to pursue a specific interest which improved their work or fulfilled them in a way unique to them.

I also liked the part about foundations achieving their their mission and passing out of existence. The author was involved for 30 years with a foundation that furthered her parents' work (Gregory Bateson's and Margaret Mead's) but decided it was time to let it go and move on: "mission accomplished."

Bateson's "three affirmations" for the active wisdom stage are noteworthy. Though we might have phrased it differently, the concept will resonate for many of us.

Kathleen Burt, Archetypes of the Zodiac;[[ASIN:0981393934 Beyond the Mask: The Rising Sign - Part I: Aries - Virgo] Part II Libra-Pisces.
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on January 7, 2011
I was first introduced to Catherine Bateson at my nieces high school graduation where COMPOSING A LIFE was the gift to all the graduates of a small private girls academy from the schools principal. The intention was to help the young woman begin leading reflective lives. As we sat on the lawn with the Rockies in the distance I started to peruse my nieces copy of the book, and it has been part of my permanent library ever since. The pages are dog eared from reading and rereading.
Twenty years have passed and just as I had begun to reflect on my life as one of the "elders", along comes COMPOSING A FURTHER LIFE broaden and deepen my thinking, and in such a joyful way!

I then proceeded to buy this book for 8 of my friends and to suggest it for my book club. COMPOSING A FURTHER LIFE should be a gift to everyone entering the Age of Active Wisdom!
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on November 19, 2010
The bonus years of life Bateson calls "Adulthood II." This added dimension beyond childrearing, job, and responsibilities allows the creative individuals profiled to focus their earlier accomplishments in satisfying ways. Erik Erikson's life stages are now augmented with a period after self-actualization and growth maturing into wisdom. Now is the time for service, spiritual pursuits, teaching, and not just for golf. The retirement age of sixty-five was defined a century ago when "life expectancy at birth was about forty-five." Today eighty-five is the new sixty-five. "We have changed the shape and meaning of a lifetime in ways we do not yet fully understand." This marvelous book explores case studies in the lives of interesting and accomplished people: it is a master class in optimizing the benefits of longevity.
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on February 28, 2011
As thousands of us in the Baby Boom generation reach retirement age each day, the big question becomes "What next?" And here's the perfect book that helped me have that conversation with myself.

"Conversation" is a key word in this book in two senses. Bateson isn't laying out a specific course of action but is rather exploring the options for the next chapter in our lives and how to approach it with all the creativity and wisdom we've garnered thus far in our journey. In other words, her questions sparked conversations with myself that led me to some unexpected opportunities of what to do next with my life, now that I have these "bonus years" to look forward to.

The book is also, literally, a series of conversations as Bateson interviews a wide range of people who have found unusual ways of living their "Adulthood II," as Bateson calls it. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book as it helped me see the parallels between the interviewees and myself. Talking with folks as diverse as your average Joe and Josephine to Jane Fonda, this is where I found the audio version of the book especially delightful. Sevanne Kassarjian's skilled voice finds just the right tone to bring each of these characters to life; a great aid in seeing the rich palette of people Bateson has so carefully selected.
Composing a Further Life: The Age of Active Wisdom By Mary Catherine Bateson(A)/Sevanne Kassarjian(N) [Audiobook]
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on May 22, 2011
Mary Catherine Bateson is just enough older than I to keep writing books which effectively capture my current stage of life and help me to think more meaningfully about it. Her book Composing a Life has stayed with me for twenty years. This book, Composing a Further Life, develops the compelling thesis of an additional life stage which she calls Adulthood II. As in the earlier book she presents the thesis through specific life histories, including her own. I found the thesis itself stronger material than some of the interviews, and particularly found the book's close somewhat preachy and circular, as though she could not say enough to get across points in which she fervently believes. Still, I appreciate very much this original contribution to the literature on aging.
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on April 29, 2012
This is an exceptionally well-written exploration, with many interviews and examples, of what to do with yourself when you don't know what to do with yourself. This is not a "guidebook" but an offering of possibilities to absorb, think about, and discuss before taking steps forward in life.
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on April 26, 2013
I found this book perfect for the "retirement" stage in life. I am not ready to sit in a rocking chair in my retirement but am not sure which direction I want to put my energy. As I work through the book insightful questions prod me into thinking. I highly recommend it.
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on May 3, 2014
This is a wonderful follow-up to Mary Catherine Bateson's "Composing a Life." She does a wonderful job unpacking the second adulthood that many individuals experience now. She frames second adulthood as more than simply waiting to die, but as a time to re-imagine your life and its possibilities.
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on May 2, 2014
All of Dr. Bateson's books are wonderful reads. Her insights into a changing world and changing culture along with her directions for activating our natural wisdom as the new breed of seniors is hopeful and exciting. Climate change! We can be helpful. Need to know how to instantly bond with your grandchild...she has a secret trick...and it works! I have recommended this book to many friends and I recommend it to you with a guarantee that you will learn something and enjoy it at the same time.
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on July 22, 2015
Fascinating book - written by the daughter of two famous people, Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson. Ms.Bateson writes with an uncommon awareness of how people live and what is important in life (anthropology background shapes this, I imagine). Since I (like everyone else) am aging, I am actively considering how to live the best life that I can. Ms. Bateson really resonates with me.
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