The world is filled with need. If I am to be of some use, I must first rise to the challenge of my own rebirth and growth, must engage in the gradual, demanding process of discovering the person I am meant to be now and taking up the work I am called to do.
“Go into yourself, and see how deep the place is from which your life flows,” the poet Rainer Maria Rilke once instructed an aspiring young writer. The advice might as easily have been written for a middle-aged woman contemplating her emptying nest. The work my friends seem compelled to undertake in their forties and fifties is no longer what they think they should do. It is what they feel, in their deepest souls, that they are meant to do. What the example of their lives suggests, what I desperately want to believe, is that once we have weathered these changes, honored our sorrows and released them, there is also great joy in moving on.
— Katrina Kenison, The Gift of an Ordinary Day, p. 284