U-Turn: What If You Woke Up One Morning and Realized You Were Living the Wrong Life? (Paperback) Review

U-Turn: What If You Woke Up One Morning and Realized You Were Living the Wrong LifeAfter hitting forty in 2006 I had the usual male "mid-life crisis."Buying a Harley three years before hadn't headed my mantastrophe off at the pass, and I began to ask various questions:Am I doing what I should be doing?Do I really believe in the faith of my youth?How come forty doesn't look like I imagined it would be at twenty?I looked for some good books to help me with my angst, and when I laid eyes upon "U-Turn: What If You Woke Up One Morning and Realized You Were Living the Wrong Life?" I eagerly grabbed it.I'm glad I did, because it was a catalyst for a major quest that resulted in a momentous U-turn.

Bruce Grierson indicates that a strong gut feeling is a sign that a potential U-turn is on the horizon.Symptoms can include anxiety, asking deep questions, and perhaps even an epiphany.However, we have to decide whether or not to acknowledge the gut feeling.If we put our head in the sand, then the U-turn can be smothered.But if we run with the gut, then we're on the path to course correction. In my case, it appears that the alarm of my "social clock" was blaring at full volume.I wasn't where I'd hoped to be, so I had to get there somehow - and I was ready to take a chance (an important aspect of the process).However, I wasn't sure what specific steps to implement.So for awhile, I kept reading, pondering, and arguing with myself over my next move.

As I continued through his book, I was afraid that Mr. Grierson's thesis would peter out and I'd be left high and dry.I'd had that happen before in books where the author's point merited an essay at best.Thankfully, that didn't happen with "U-Turn."He was able to propel his subject matter forward using different and interesting perspectives in each chapter.For example, "The Likely Candidate" asks if there is a U-turn "type"; "The Change of Heart" looks at emotion's role in change; and "The Parole Board's Dilemma" differentiates true U-turns from bogus ones.Page after page I found gold, and as I read I became surer that I needed to obey my gut and act decisively.But what should I do?

Eventually, the answer came to me within the text.Mr. Grierson mentions how taking a life-assessment time-out at the age of forty benefits a man."U-Turn" was one of two books I read that discussed this idea, and it seemed like a sign.So in the summer of 2007 I took a leave of absence from my job to walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain, a trek I had long considered doing.I stepped off from St. Jean Pied-de-Port on July 14th, and 500 miles later on August 24th I walked into Santiago, Spain.The Camino was worth the risk and effort because it stripped me down to a basic level and gave me plenty of time to silence my social clock and work through my pressing issues.

After I returned, I felt like I had completed an important quest.I'd done something arduous that people write books about, and I wasn't the same person as when I left.And what about my own U-turn?Well, the Camino led to that too.The major problem I wrestled with on the Way was my waning Christian faith.Over the years I had struggled with various problematic doctrines, infernal dogmas, and the disparity between faith and experience.Ironically, walking a religious pilgrimage trail served to lead me away from my long-held Christianity.Soon after returning from Spain, I left the Church and became an agnostic.

My fortieth birthday led to a couple of critical events, and reading "U-Turn" was an integral part of that process.It was one of the most helpful life-alteration books I read during my mid-life crisis.Another significant one was the humorous and insightful "Fat, Forty, and Fired" by Nigel Marsh.I recommend both titles for anyone who is reconsidering his or her life's road and looking for the off-ramp.

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