It’s still Fall even though we are revving up for the holidays. I am a little late in the season for my Fall Book Wise selection, but I think some good books are just worth waiting for! I read Jennifer Louden’s first book ‘The Comfort Queen’s Guide to Life’ many years ago and through a little serendipity I came across her latest book ‘Why Bother’ published in 2020. 2020 was a difficult year of navigating the covid crisis and we were all ‘under the weather’ in one shape or another. I missed her book release then, but I am so happy to share it with you now. Never too late for inspiring wellness wisdom!
As an integrative health coach passionate about healthy longevity I am focused on developing a healthy mindset so we can activate a healthy lifestyle. As we age it is just as important to fine tune our ‘mindset’ as it is to take care of our changing bodies. This book is a must read for anyone going through changes or disruptions in their life, so you don’t have to be 40+ to read it, but I do think anyone over 40 in the mid-stages of their life will find ‘Why Bother’ particularly enriching and inspirational. It is around this time in our lives we begin to become reflective, or a bit worn out from our life experiences. The ‘Why Bother’ negative mindset can sneak in and permeate if we don’t reset, clear out the cobwebs, and start anew.
I think the timing of a New Year ahead is the perfect time to read “Why Bother’ and step into the next chapter of our lives with a passion for life and a desire to flourish wherever we are on the journey of life. Aging well is primarily a fine balance between mindset and self-care and part of being healthy and well is ‘the desire to be well”. What this looks like will be different for each of us, but the tools and inspiration in ‘Why Bother’ Discover the Desire for What’s Next’ is meaningful and applicable to all of us! Ready to get your positive why bother on? Enjoy the Q&A and cultivate wellness wisdom with Jennifer Louden.
Laura Connolly, CHC, Healthy Longevity Coach
Founder of World Wise Beauty
Coach Lauroly Q- Let’s start with the title of the book ‘Why Bother’ Discover the Desire for What’s Next.” What a great title! I found this paragraph from your book a good way to start talking about your wise and inspirational book. You say, “Grappling with ‘why bother’ is how you go beyond your known horizon, past the familiar shape of what no longer works and is squeezing you dry, and into the fresh territory of ‘what if’ and ‘I wonder’.
There are so many women in the 40+ stages of life who are dealing with the ‘why bother’ syndrome. But in fact, it is a very human experience. It’s just that women have so many layers of social conditioning that compound or make difficult the creative art of renewal and becoming.
Your book covers it all so well, and dives deep into the personal issues and sociological influences that even you struggled with as a successful self-help author. In the book you talk about how the brain is wired to make meaning and it does that by constructing an ongoing narrative about why you do what you do, and why it matters. Can you explain how we can get trapped or stuck in our own ‘why bother’ cages?
Coach Lauroly Q- You write “the places where you cling to your identity must be released again and again. But what if you spend your whole life trying to create your identity authentically and independent of assigned roles from family and society? How do you release the parts of you that may have never been seen or appreciated to begin with? The parts of us that have been struggling to ‘breathe and exist’. This is a recurring theme at World Wise Beauty, being and becoming ‘comfortable in your own skin’.
For example, I’ve had to let go of being someone who was admired in my community for having a seemingly happy marriage and move into a new identity of being someone who was divorced. When I didn’t publish a book for over 10 years (I wrote several that didn’t work), after having so much success as a writer, I had to learn how to be someone who wasn’t publishing—who was I now? When I started coaching writers, that was a new identity, one that sounds easy to take up, but I had stories in my head that real writers don’t coach other writers. We have to let our view of ourselves change or we get trapped.
Coach Lauroly Q– I loved the concept of the “Emotional Immune System and how it plays a role in sometimes getting us stuck. You remind us in the book to pay attention and tune in to the “self-protective whispers of our emotional immune system”. I immediately got the term as I understand the workings of our immune system as an integrative health coach. Our immune system works for us in many ways but when it perceives a threat it doesn’t recognize, it can go into overdrive and overreact. What is at the center of our emotional immune system? Is it our ego, our sense of identity, and self? For women there are so many threats to activate our emotional immune system!
You are brilliant at keeping yourself defended and the trick to bothering again is to learn to try new things in ways that feel safer. Not confident, not ready, not clear that everything will work out, nope. Simply a tad safer to take the next step.
Coach Lauroly Q– I thought it was so important that you explored anger in terms of excavating and clearing so we can embrace our desires and what’s next phase in life. You share in your book “the cost of not being able to express your anger is enormous”.
I remember when I was diagnosed with an early-stage cancer, and everyone was putting a positive spin on the experience. I wanted to be gracious and ‘act like’ it was all perfectly okay. But the truth was, I was angry, and it was not okay. I wasn’t angry at the good intentioned people but just the expectation from everyone that I go through the treatment experience unaffected. People would say “be positive or it could be worse”. Fortunately, I went to see a therapist where I could express my anger about the experience safely and openly.
Who wouldn’t we be angry if we are conditioned and silenced to doubt what we see, what we feel, what we experience, and what we value? How does anger inform us and help us clarify our desires for what’s next?
If you ignore your anger, you can fall into why bother because you are ignoring the fullness of your human experience. You are cutting off being fully alive and telling yourself you aren’t allowed to feel what you feel. You may end up betraying your values as well as your basic needs for boundaries, self-care, and space to be fully yourself.
Coach Lauroly Q- I’d like to share this quote from your book because there is so much wisdom baked into a few words. Can you share what this means in terms of your ‘why bother’ concepts?
“What’s next is ‘code’ for loving life again and letting life love you.”
What’s next is about learning to open as fully as possible to the experience of being alive. It sounds so dumb when I write it but it’s profound when you feel it, when you relax into it. And then, paradoxically, it’s easier to take the actions that matter to you. And not be so attached to the outcomes. It’s about making space for the unbelievable miracle of being here, right this very second.
Lauroly closing: Thank you so much for joining me, Jennifer. This book is right up there with one of your first books I loved ‘The Comfort Queen’s Guide to Life’. I think your recent ‘Why Bother’ book resonates even more today, as we all face down societal upheaval, and big existential issues like climate change. Your book is for anyone trying to find a way forward amidst turbulence in life, and anyone interested in flourishing through life’s changes for self-renewal and personal growth. The title keeps its promise! I would gift this book to everyone this year! To learn more about Jen’s other inspiring books visit her book shop.
Jennifer Louden closing: That is so kind. You know how much those kinds of compliments mean to a writer, thank you!