Sunday, January 8, 2023

"Living the Life Unexpected" by Jody Day (re-read)

"Living the Life Unexpected" by Jody Day is (quite rightly) regarded by many childless women as the "bible" for learning to live without the children we always thought we would have someday.  I own and have read all three editions of the book (including the original "Rocking the Life Unexpected," crowdfunded by childless women from around the world and self-published by Jody in 2013).  

Each time I've read the book, I've noticed things I hadn't before and gained new insights about myself, my childless life and the world around me.  Over the past year, I've been re-reading the book again, chapter by chapter, working through (many of) the exercises (something I hadn't really done on past readings)  and discussing them at monthly Zoom calls in the company of a small group of other childless women from around the world, all of us members of the private online support community that Jody founded more than a decade ago. 

(Mid-2022, Jody handed over the leadership of the community to Katy Seppi of Chasing Creation, and the group changed its name from Gateway Women to Lighthouse Women. Jody has retained the rights to the Gateway Women name for her other work in the childless community going forward. Among her current projects (and future book subjects!): an exploration of what it means to age as a woman without children today.) 

This book -- known within the community by the acronym "LTLU" -- remains an invaluable resource for involuntarily childless women (and men), worthy of multiple re-reads.  It contains a mixture of personal stories, history, statistics and guidance, as well as questions and exercises designed to get you thinking in new ways about childlessness and what your life might look like, going forward. You don't HAVE to do the exercises, of course -- there is still plenty of benefit to be gained from reading the book without doing them -- but they're a great way to explore your thoughts and gain new insights -- and working through the book with other childless women, as I've been doing over the past year, is a fabulous way to gain new perspectives (and get to know some wonderful other childless women better, too!). 

As we've now completed all 12 chapters and our year-long exploration of the book, I am counting this as a(nother) re-read. My original rating of 5 stars on Goodreads still stands.  :)  

You can find my previous (2020) review of this book here, and my 2014 review of the original "Rocking the Life Unexpected" here

For more information on Jody Day, Gateway Women and "Living the Life Unexpected," check out the Gateway Women website, which includes a link to the introduction and the first chapter of this book. There's also a link there to the private Lighthouse Women online community. A new round of LTLU member discussions is expected to start there shortly! -- and I'll back for another round!  :)    

This was Book #2 read to date in 2023 (and Book #2 finished in January), bringing me to 4% (!) of my 2022 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 45 books. I am (for the moment, anyway...!) 2 books ahead of schedule. :)  You can find reviews of all my books read to date in 2023 tagged as "2023 books."  

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