The Hippo


May 26, 2020








Cheryl Richardson presents Waking Up in Winter 

Where: Gibson’s Bookstore, 45 S. Main St., Concord 
When: Thursday, Feb. 22, 5:30 p.m. 
More info:

Winter reflections
Cheryl Richardson gets personal in new self-help book

By Angie Sykeny

 For years, Cheryl Richardson has been teaching people the importance of self-care and how to live a more fulfilling life. In her seventh book, Waking Up in Winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife, released in December, she shares that message through the lens of her own experiences, with memoir and excerpts from her personal journals. 

Richardson will discuss the book at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord on Thursday, Feb. 22. 
“Many of us are bombarded with motivational and inspirational messages and information and how-tos,” Richardson said, “but I thought, instead of just telling people how to live a more awake, meaningful life, I’ll take them on a journey with me and show them how I did it.” 
The “winter” referenced in the book title is a metaphor for the “hibernation periods” in life, she said, during which a person can reevaluate their relationships and friendships, home, career, activities and other areas of their life. For Richardson, that period came when she reached her 50s. 
“I realized that I had more years behind me than ahead of me, so I decided to look at what is important to me, what doesn’t matter anymore, and what behaviors and habits and qualities of character needed to change as I entered the next stage in my life,” she said. “I hope that by sharing the intimate details of that process [in the book], it will inspire people to question their lives in a similar way.” 
The book is applicable not only to people entering midlife, but to people of any age who are at a turning point, whether they’re in their late 20s looking for direction, their late 30s or early 40s feeling burned out, or their 70s or 80s considering the next stage of their lives. That turning point may also be a major life event, such as the death of a loved one, the beginning or end of a marriage, entering an empty nest, losing a job or the diagnoses of an illness. 
“These are the wake-up calls that invite us to look more carefully at the lives that we live,” Richardson said. “They wake us up to a revelation of what really matters.” 
The best way for a person to start the process of reexamining their life, Richardson said, is to ask themselves the question, “If this was my last day on earth, would I be happy with how I lived my life?” Then, they should set aside a significant amount of time to explore that question, either through writing in a journal or talking with a life coach or therapist. 
“Taking that time to reflect on our lives ultimately allows us to feel more fulfilled and satisfied with how we’re living and creates meaning in our lives,” she said. 
Sharing her personal journals was not an easy decision for Richardson. Throughout the whole two years that she was compiling and editing them for the book, even up to the moment that she pressed “send” to share the book with her publisher, she felt self-conscious and had doubts about whether she could go through with putting her private musings out into the world, but after seeing the positive feedback from her readers, she’s glad she took the leap. 
“People have thanked me for letting them know that they aren’t alone in questioning their life, and for leading them to find what matters in their own life,” she said. “That has made it worth it.” 
During her visit to Gibson’s, Richardson will talk about the book and do some live coaching with the audience, answering questions and offering tips about what actions people can take to improve their lives. 
She is planning a follow-up book to include more of her personal journals. 

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