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Excerpted from It's Only Too Late If You Don't Start Now: How to Create Your Second Life After 40 by Barbara Sher. Copyright © 1998 by Barbara Sher. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"Do you think time is flying by too fast, stealing your years from you? You're going to find out the opposite."

Barbara Sher, It's Only Too Late If You Don't Start Now, Part 5

The trap has opened, and you're free. Fears of getting older or less beautiful, of not being wanted or successful all disappear. You don't have to walk out on your life and escape to the South Seas like a latter-day Gauguin because your feelings of being trapped are gone.

What will show up in their place? Your original self.

A self you haven't seen since childhood--if ever. It's who you were before puberty changed you forever and threw up a mountain range of aches and urgencies, so high you lost sight of the original creature you were. And this time, when that side of you returns, you'll have the know-how and independence you never had as a child. It's a new life, and this time you're going to have a lot of choice about how to live it.

Now that's a nice scenario, isn't it?

And you can have it.

Why waste those years trying to hang on to what you were--and what was never really you? A waste of time is a waste of talent. It's a waste of happiness. I can't leave you alone and let you come to your senses in your own good time. I have to do whatever I can to wake you up. That's why you're going to hear me saying it over and over, as strongly as I can: If you're dreading midlife, you have made a big mistake. Run, do not walk, to the first chapter of this book and start reading now.

Here's what you'll find.

Book One, "Nature and Instinct: Your First Life," is all about where you are now and how you got there.

In it you're going to have some major revelations about what's really been driving you all these years and why you now fear midlife. As a woman in one of my workshops said, "I feel like I've been let in on a terrible secret!" What's the secret? Well, here's a big piece of it: When you thought you were doing what you wanted, it was usually what nature wanted. In your early teens biology flipped the switch, and you jumped onto a treadmill; you started flying in search of what everyone else wanted: love, success, immortality. All at once they seemed so indisputably the only goals worth having. And you still want them today.

That's why you'll have some tough realizations ahead in Book One. Almost every one of your most cherished assumptions is going to be turned on its head. Do you think time is flying by too fast, stealing your years from you? You're going to find out the opposite. Do you think mortality takes your life away? You're going to see that it actually gives your life to you, like a birthday present. Everything you thought you understood--the meaning of aging, that to be beautiful is to be lucky, that romantic love is the greatest of all treasures, that success is the best and failure is the worst thing that can happen to you, even the real causes of your midlife crisis--is going to change forever.

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