Maria Olsen, author of 50 After 50: Reframing the Next Chapter of your Life , will be sharing her ideas at the Jeudevine Library in Hardwick on Monday, July 30 at 7 PM.


At age 50, Maria Leonard Olsen drank her way out of her 25-year marriage. She had, against advice, put all her eggs in the motherhood basket, willfully derailing her successful law career. She was depressed and stuck. So when she turned 50, her gift to herself was to go on a crusade to make the most of whatever time she had left. She set out to do 50 new things that were significant, at least to her. The list spanned physical challenges, adventure travel, and lifestyle changes. This work follows the work she did to overcome addiction and trauma to accomplish those 50 new things and shows readers how to make their own action lists – whether it be joining a knitting club or hiking the Himalayas, every item has significance for each individual and speaks to her needs and desires. Readers will hear about Maria’s adventures and the rewards of each.

Olsen will also talk about another book she has written: Not the Cleaver Family: The New Normal in Modern American Families, a book based on hundreds of interviews with the people changing the norm of what a family looks like in the US. The contemporary American family has changed drastically. Same-sex marriage is no longer uncommon. Couples are affirmatively choosing to have one child (a choice that may have elicited sympathy in our parent's generation), or to be child-free. Sperm banks allow women to have their own children without a partner. A mom, a dad, and 2.5 children is no longer the norm. The stories in this book bring these families alive to us.

Maria Leonard Olsen is an attorney, women writing/empowerment retreat leader, public speaker, and a cohost of the “Inside Out ” radio show on WPFW, FM 89.3, in Washington, D.C. Olsen was appointed by President Clinton as Special Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General and has served on the boards of Children's National Medical Center BOV, the Alzheimer's Association, the Nepal Youth Fund and Girls Up, and empowerment organization for middle school-aged girls. She has written for the Washington Post, Washingtonian, Bethesda Magazine, Parenting, and other outlets. Olsen also counsels women recovering from addiction and trauma

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