The Joy Document

Creating a Midlife of Surprise and Delight

The Joy Document

Creating a Midlife of Surprise and Delight

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Available November 19, 2024

Once you begin looking for joy, you can find it pretty much anywhere.

When Jennifer McGaha's grandmother was in her late eighties, Jennifer asked her what her favorite age so far had been. "Fifty-five," her grandmother answered, as though there were something magical about this stage of life, some deeper way of knowing from this vantage point. So, in her own fifty-fifth year, Jennifer began to take note. She jotted down her impressions of simple, everyday things that struck her as beautiful or humorous or intriguing and kept a list of all the accomplishments, large and small, that actually mattered to her.

These observations became Jennifer's Joy Document, a radical act of reclaiming joy and an exercise in paying attention. When you are determined to find joy, almost anything can become revelatory--an Earth Day Whole Foods errand, Claire Saffitz's fruitcake recipe, a harrowing ride in Twinkly Taxi, an evening picnic at Dvořák's Symphony No. 8, or cartwheels in the driveway. While many of us at midlife have found all the things we've strived for (the career, the better life, the organization tools), those things only go so far. And the search for something greater, something truer, begins. Through this lens, life after fifty becomes not the end or even the middle of life, but a new beginning, another grand adventure with endless opportunities to find joy. The Joy Document includes fifty rollicking and often humorous essays exploring the art of joy and inspiring the rest of us to do the same.


"In a culture that fears aging and perpetuates ideals of youthfulness over valuing the elderly, The Joy Document offers wisdom that honors the process of growing older. I admire Jennifer McGaha's insight on embracing life's simple moments with gratitude and joy. Despite facing loss and navigating through challenging times like a global crisis, there's still opportunity to find joy in the here and now."

Rainie Howard, author of The Love Habit and host of The Rainie Howard Show

"With her beautiful storytelling, Jennifer McGaha inspires us to join her in creating a light-filled life, through a commitment to curiosity, to mindful noticing, to gratitude, to joyful celebration. She epitomizes what it means to be a radiant rebel!"

Karen Walrond, author of Radiant Rebellion and The Lightmaker's Manifesto

"Jennifer McGaha is that trail partner who calls you back when you've marched ahead, to show you a lady slipper hidden under a fern. Her joys will open your eyes to your own."

Heather Newton, author of The Puppeteer's Daughters

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9798889830726
  • eBook ISBN 9798889830733
  • Dimensions 5.75 x 8.75
  • Pages 240
  • Publication Date November 19, 2024