“Roar Into the Second Half of Your Life (Before It’s Too Late)” by Michael Clinton, Beyond Words / Atria $26, 205 pages

You thought you’d be back by now.

When you left your job last year, they said they’d call you when things opened up, but here we are, 18 months in, and you’re still sitting at home. It’s finally occurred to you that you’re not going back, and you have mixed feelings. Is this a blessing in disguise or, as in “Roar” by Michael Clinton, is it an opportunity to sink your teeth into?

For most of your life, you’ve held down a job, 20 years, 30 years? Forty years, and the pandemic showed you that it’s time to shuffle things, or perhaps retire. That’s a word Michael Clinton hates, by the way. “Rewire” is a much better word, he says, or “refire.”

Both sound more empowering, don’t they? Empowering, but also filled with opportunity. Now’s your chance to step back and ROAR. Says Clinton:

“REIMAGINE yourself

OWN who you are

ACT on what’s next

REASSESS your relationships to get you there”

First, remember what you wanted to “be” when you were 10, and reconnect with that feeling. Dream of the future a couple years hence, and start saving money, making moves, or taking action to get there; it won’t happen magically. Journal your thoughts and ideas, including the kind of legacy you hope to leave.

Never be ashamed of where you come from or how you got to where you are. Recall the best and worst relationships you’ve had, own your strengths as well as your weaknesses, and be honest! Don’t even lie when people ask your age. Remember that your financial security is in your hands; schedule a “SWOT” analysis regularly, to be sure you’re not off-track.

“Act courageous” and have no regrets. Try new things. Make life changes now; do what Clinton calls “life layering.”

And finally, put it all together: stop speaking of yourself disparagingly. Gather the people you want to support you, and ensure that they do. Build a life that’s “parallel” to work, so you can seamlessly ease from the latter and into the former.

To be sure, “Roar” isn’t a bad book. Pointers are clearly stated inside but most don’t need a lot of explanation: they’re common things, commonsensical and sprinkled inside illustrative anecdotes that are actually quite entertaining. You might find some nuggets to use, a couple of tidbits that’ll help you on your “second half” of life but let’s be honest: chances are that if you’re over 55, you’ve already thought about (and even tried!) much of what you’ll read here. So is entertainment what you want? Probably not entirely, and the frequent name-dropping in the stories sometimes mars the relevance of what’s presented. Wealth and fame, alas, aren’t the most realistic touchstones anymore.

Still, if you’re really, truly rudderless at this time in your life and you need help finding direction and wind for your sails, author and media advisor Michael Clinton’s advice may offer some help. If you’re good in that department, though, and you see “Roar” on the shelf, just put it back.

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Contact book reviewer Terri Schlichenmeyer at or at


I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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