Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book Review: Life in the Middle--The Search for a Satisfying and Significant Midlife by Marlene Legaspi-Munar

Ever stumbled upon a book which has inspired you to perceive life on a different way? I'd like to consider it as a fortunate stroke of serendipity because the book entitled Life in the Middle: The Search for a Satisfying and Significant Midlife came at a time when I needed it the most. Written by a fellow blogger/online writer Marlene Legaspi-Munar, who maintains a personal website at and a travel blog at Life in the Middle is a book that tackles the dreaded topic of aging, particularly the so-called midlife crisis that most people age forty to fifty somethings go through. Published by Cross Over Books, an imprint of Church Strengthening Ministry Publishing, Munar's book is truly an eye-opener for everyone not only those in the middle age but also for those people like me who's almost-but-not-quite getting there. 

Although I'm only turning 34 this year, I was surprised that I was able to relate well to the topics and situations discussed in Life in the Middle. I laughed at the funny anecdotes Munar shared on her book. I also felt touched in some parts of the book because I was able to connect the stories Munar shared with people I personally know who totally had the same experience. At the same time, Life in the Middle had given me a bird's eye view of what's in store for me in the next couple of years. Reading this book had given me valuable life lessons which I can make use when I reach that stage: my midlife years. I can confidently say that after absorbing everything there is and practically digested each chapter of this book, I have more or less an inkling or a clear notion how my life would become when I turn forty something. At least, reading Life in the Middle had made me prepare for my midlife years. 

Life in the Middle teaches one to embrace an ever-exciting life that awaits one the moment you turn forty. Munar's book says age 40+ opens up to a whole new world filled with blessings and opportunities by God's grace! With huge advantage to have years of experience behind you gives one an opportunity to share and look young enough for the youth to relate. Indeed, age is simply just a number. 

Munar also gave emphasis on Erik Erikson's theory of psychosocial development that includes generativity vs. stagnation which I think anyone can easily relate to. Munar had also given suggestions on what one can do to still earn some passive income or if you're brave enough, get a second career which you might be passionate about. While some (middle-aged) people may like having a daily routine in their lives--almost monotonous, others like to do something different that will give their lives an 'Ooomph!' that may propel them back to life. For some, the 'twilight years' may seem daunting. In Munar's book, Life in the Middle--she mentions a lot about keeping the faith in God, preparing for the future and to let tomorrow have worries of its own. 

As we age, our lifestyle and diets had to change as well. Our metabolism slows down, thus we should eat healthier--meaning more fruits and veggies. Gone are the days when you could eat anything with total abandon. This is the stage where those you used to enjoy will now be part of "prohibited foods". Most midlifers even had 'maintenance medicines' too. Munar even shared her personal experiences on her book as to how one's diet and lifestyle can affect one's health. She also cited the reasons why the pigs should not be eaten as foods according to the holy Bible.

 She also mentioned the physical changes comes with aging. At my age, I feel so old when strangers would call me "Nanay," "Mommy" or worse, "Manang"! Don't get me wrong there's nothing wrong with those-- for in the Philippines, calling someone older with those names is a sign of respect. I guess I am still uncomfortable being called as such because biologically speaking I am not yet a mother although I actually looked like one. I know I'd have to accept the fact that people will be calling me with such names but that would still have to wait. I also have a few silver streaks on my hair which I tend to cover up with hair dye. It's not that I want to defy aging, but I do think it is a little bit early for me. Growing old entails a lot of physical changes and this book will surely help you cope up and prepare. 

I abhor using an umbrella and I am so lazy putting on sunscreen/sunblock. But I guess that's why I have early signs of aging. I admit to having wrinkles and crow's feet near my eyes. My Mom on the other hand has very dry skin that needs shea butter all the time. Women's age can be determined via her neck and her hands. I guess I have to start practicing a beauty routine such as cleansing, toning and moisturizing and to stop being lazy in putting on sunblock in order to prevent these. As it is, it's best to be late than never. 

Munar also discussed memory lapses and gaps on her book, Life in the Middle. I don't know about you, but I had to admit that at my age now, I would have moments when I would have a rather difficult time expressing my thoughts.  It's like words couldn't exactly come and roll off but it's at the tip if my tongue. When this happens, words like 'Kuwan' or 'Yung ano...' would suffice. There were also times when I would be searching for say, my pen. I'd be looking everywhere but to no avail. Only to find out later that what I've been actually looking for had always been right there before me or worse, my pen's at the back of my ears or on top of my hair! Should I start taking a food supplement to further sharpen my memory? Nah! Munar advised to keep our minds active by doing exercises such as Sudoku puzzles, Crossword puzzles, brain teasers, could also be physical exercise like yoga, running, brisk walking and anything and everything that keep us alert and active. Munar even said it's best to have a buddy with you or a community to help motivate and encourage you. There's this feeling that you need to do something for this world, that you're able to find purpose and be able to contribute, say leave a legacy or some kind. You find solace in different society such as church orgs, old batchmates, a sport community (it could be golf, chess, tennis, bowling etc). 

Reading Life in the Middle reminds me of an Uncle who got married late at the age of 54. Munar did mention the term "nagmumurang kamyas or kamatis" in her book. I could vividly recall how my Uncle tried so hard to look 'young' for his wife who just turned only 30 at the time. With his receding hairline (almost bald) he tried to resort into using a dye on his hair but since he's only had a few strands, he looked really ridiculous with black dye on his scalp. He got so frustrated to get the look he wanted to achieve that he had his hair bald instead. Nowadays, my Uncle, who's in his Andropause stage (Male's version of menopause) still sports that bald look and has gotten used to the fact that his daughter (only four years old) is often mistaken as his granddaughter. 

Munar also mentioned about creating a "Bucket List"--these are basically composed of either your dreams or the things you'd want to do and accomplish before you die. Morbid as it may sound, but I know a lot of people has one because they feel good each time they cross an item on their list. One good example is my Mom who had just successfully conquered her fear of heights at 56, after she was hung on a harness and fiercely took the breathtaking 150m zip line with the majestic Taal Volcano as backdrop. "I never even thought I could do it, I am so glad and happy that I did!,"exclaimed my Mom. She is a proof that it is never too late to do something in your life. You just have to put your focus into it. On the other hand, an Aunt decided to lead a more active life in her mid-fiftys. She considered herself a late-bloomer. Once she discovered her interest in running marathons, she has never looked back. "I loved the adrenaline rush that comes with running. It keeps me fit, healthy and happy--what with the endorphins it releases (also known as the happy hormone)," she enthuses. And guess what at her age, she's able to received medals and awards from running. 

These are the some of the middle aged women who made their bucket list and successfully fulfilled whatever it is that their hearts desired. 

       A photo of my mom in a zipline

My Aunt in her fifties proudly displays her 21k medal.

Munar's Life in the Middle will be guiding you and help you towards achieving your life goals. The book gives one an idea on how to survive and overcome midlife crisis, and at the same time fought back the intricacies that comes with it. What I love most about this book is that it is like a close friend whom you could trust and bare your soul with. At the end of each chapter, it has reflections and suggestions which could really help any mid-lifer to adjust to the new life that he/she is about to take. With Munar's Life in the Middle book in hand, and with God at the center of my life, I know I would be looking forward to the time when my back would gracefully curve and all of my hair strands would become salt and pepper as I happily sat on a rocking chair. A time when I would no longer yearn nor care about material things, but only the simplest things could bring me immense joy. 

In a nutshell, Munar's Life in the Middle is an inspiring book for the middle-aged longing and in search for life's purpose. It is a perfect gift for people groping in the dark looking for clues on what to do with their lives in that age. The book gives one his sense of purpose, of his surroundings, of what life is really meant for him. With God at the helm of your life, the book motivates one to grow old in wisdom and in grace and to accept that aging is simply a part of life--and that we should just learn to embrace it. 

The book Life in the Middle: The Search for a Satisfying and Significant Midlife by Marlene Legaspi-Munar published by Cross Over Books, CSM Publishing is a available at all National Bookstore nationwide and PCBS stores. 

For more information on other inspiring books by Church Strengthening Ministry Publishing, please log on to or email:

Special thanks to Church Strengthening Ministry Publishing, the author Ms. Marlene Legaspi-Munar, Ms. Riza Pilapil-Rivera, CSM Inc. Marketing Specialist and Ms. Demi Barbra Angeles. 


  1. I think this book is for everyone who has no idea what to do with their life.. I remember I had this question somewhere in college.. It's true, that most of people are middle-age when they realise that what they do it's not quite what they would like to do..

  2. soon i'll be singing the same song and writing the same lines hehehe :)

  3. This indeed seems like a good book to read,in my relax time I would love to give it a try,anyway congrtaz to your aunt.

  4. We think about these things a lot as we are getting older but we never really take the time to write them down. Writing them down makes it clearer for us what we want to achieve or improve in our lives.

  5. although I still have a few years to go, i would really love to read this book soon, am sure i will get a lot of inspiration in it! love your review! ^_^

  6. It looks like a really insightful books as midlife feels like being stuck in between two era and yet you don't belong to either so it can be confusing and difficult.


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