I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the series I’m working on right now. The WinterJacked series masquerades as a paranormal romance, a romantic fantasy, or a contemporary chick-lit/women’s fiction hybrid. It doesn’t seem to live comfortably in any of these genres, though, because its genre hasn’t caught on yet. I’m talking about the peculiar area of women’s fiction and romance that features characters in their Second Adulthood.
We’ve got Young Adult, and we’ve got New Adult, but if you ask a romance author about an older heroine, you’ll find that either they’ve had to fight tooth and nail for, or have just been flat-out denied, the ability to make their main characters anything over thirty. If you do find it, it’s been “slipped in” or the book ends up being an “issue” book . But it’s here, and it’s real, and there are people out there seeking it. This I know, because I seek it myself.
Second adulthood isn’t a new concept to the nonfiction crowd. Authors like Suzanne Braun Levine and Justine Musk embrace and embody the revolutionary concept of what boils down to living “the rest of your life.” Women, in particular, are coming to embrace the understanding that life isn’t “over” once you have that ring on your finger or that nursery decorated. Or that youngster’s college tuition paid for, or you have achieved a certain elevation on the corporate ladder, even (because hey, we are a diverse lot here in Athena’s brain). That these milestones are, in fact, milestones, as opposed to Finish Lines, and You Are Not Done Yet.
This understanding is only now starting to sink into our media. We’ve known for ages that even after you’ve reached your “accomplishments” milestone, you still have all this…life…left before you still. Traditionally, you’re supposed to fade into the background and become Supporting Cast for the younger set, mentoring, babysitting, or providing the backdrop onto which they shine their brilliance.
But what if we didn’t? What if, instead, we shifted into a higher gear? Actually planned for that second adulthood where we’ve achieved our first-stage accomplishments and still expect to live. What if we didn’t worry so much about clinging to our position, our status, or our life plans that were developed when we, ourselves, were only half-developed? What if we understood–and let the world know to understand–that the life path you picture should only include half your life?
If you knew then what you know now, would you make different choices? What if, now that you know what you know now, you get to keep making choices?
You think you’re done? Not even close.