Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life

Author: AB Staff

Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life

Learning Purpose

Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally Really, Grow Up defines our journey less in chronological terms than in those hours when we obliged by consequences piling up in our lives, or from inner urgency, to ask ourselves: who am I, apart from my history, apart from my roles? What is my personal agenda for this stage of the journey? How do I honor my commitments and still grow as a person, as a soul?  And what wants to enter this world through me?

Asked consciously or not, these questions are asked in the unconscious of each of us. Sometimes they spill into the world in our relationships, in our children, in our disturbing dreams, in our self-medications. If we fail to address these questions more directly, then our self-separation will only increase, and our psyche will increase its protest. What is the price of change, and what is the price of not changing?

Something within each of us always knows what is right for us though we may have lost contact with that “knowing” a long time ago. But, as Hollis demonstrates, that “knowing” source within continues to reach out to us and ask for response.

The book Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life does not pretend to offer people answers. The author respects the autonomy of our personhood too much for that. However sincere, such “answers” would cause us to live someone else’s life, substitute their authority for ours. Hollis suggests that we ask better questions of ourselves in order to live our way into better answers. As he concludes, “Finding what supports you from within will link you to transcendence, reframe the perspectives received from your history, and provide the agenda of growth, purpose, and meaning that we are all meant to carry into the world and share with others.”

James Hollis, Ph. D. has been talking to people about their lives, their hopes, their losses, their agenda for decades now. In Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, he pulls together the recurrent threads of so many of those conversations. Among those threads are these recurring questions:

  1.   How did we get to the place we are in our lives?
  2.   What keeps us stuck, keeps us tripping over ourselves?
  3.   What is the difference between my job and my vocation (calling) as a human being?
  1.    What can I do to improve my relationships?
  2.    How do I move forward after loss, disappointment, disillusionment?
  1.    What is a “mature” spirituality, one that respects my experience and helps make sense of my life?
  1.    How do I recover my path, my compass, my personal authority, and live more authentically in the days ahead of me?

As a Jungian analyst, living in Washington, D. C., he has concluded that more people suffer from a disconnect from meaning than from any other source of injury. As creatures of adaptation, we inevitably get separated from ourselves and become strangers to ourselves. What happened to our dreams, our enthusiasm, our vision for ourselves? How do we avoid falling into the comfortable pits of cynicism or despair?

Buy Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally Really, Grow Up.

About the Author:

James Hollis is a Jungian analyst, executive director of the Jung Society in Washington, DC, and a bestselling author whose books include Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life and What Matters Most. He has traveled four continents giving presentations and workshops. He has witnessed what touches people, energizes them, what reminds them of something they know but perhaps forgotten, and finally, what challenges them to come back to their journey. For more information, visit