"So, the cure to everything – conflict resolution, world peace, happiness – all resides within us right now; latent, untapped material, waiting to burst forth."

Several aspects of the author's life play into the guidance she provides in this highly engaging, realistic compendium of memoir, experience, and advice. Her older sister Angie was born with physical disabilities that affected her breathing and caused the amputation of one leg. Angie's life was always imperiled, yet she refused to see herself as different from or envious of others not so afflicted. Instead, she compared her situation to enjoying see birds fly without wishing to be one. Young Schmidt realized early on that it "could've just as easily been me," grateful for her blessings. Another focal point for learning life's lessons came when Schmidt and her family had to oversee their mother's care when she developed dementia. Moving her from home to home was an unpredictable and often discouraging responsibility, along with seeing her slipping away mentally and physically. The author's job as a supervisor also encompassed many revelations about how we interact, how we should treat ourselves, and what our work lives can mean in a larger terrain of cultivating positive relationships.

Schmidt came to understand that she would need to gather wisdom from many sources in order to become an effective, adult person and helpfully shares that wisdom here. She suggests wise but simple fixes such as trying to get an extra hour's sleep every night, thinking positive thoughts about those we love when we go to bed, and recognizing and reminding ourselves again and again that we are not alone, that others have similar or worse suffering, and that we can exercise charity at any given moment, even knowing it may never be repaid. She places particular stress on healthy eating and has provided a full chapter of family recipes, mainly vegetarian, ending her text with directions for making date bars to be served "with love."

Author Schmidt felt compelled to write a book about becoming an adult after creating an earlier work about her youthful trials and successes. In addition to writing prose and poetry (some of which are included in this book), Schmidt is a self-described "philosopher, publisher, and blogger" with a wide range of knowledge from realms of arts and sciences. She uses her knowledge of geology, for example, to remind readers that though much of the earth was created by sudden, gigantic upheaval such as floods and earthquakes, there have been millions of years of quiet, gradual shifting and changing. This thought can encourage us to be patient as events evolve in our lives. She has drawn from a wide range of source materials and provides thirty pages of useful references. Happily and successfully sharing her Christian and Jewish heritage equally with her wife, she explores the relative similarities between most world religions, advising readers to consider this when they wish to choose a spiritual path. Using homespun humor, intellectual acumen, verifiable data, and her own engaging psychological theories, Schmidt has constructed a thought-provoking examination of what produces happiness and how we can change our lives to widen our enjoyment and effectiveness within our daily, individual spheres.

A 2021 Eric Hoffer Book Award Category Finalist.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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