Advanced Search

Evanston RoundTable | Evanston, IL
NU-OLLI-Rethink


home : opinion : opinion/editorial
July 17, 2018

3/21/2018 4:52:00 PM
More Room:Surviving the Jolt
By Les Jacobson


Everyone experiences tragedy and trauma. They are unavoidable, no matter how blessed a person’s life is.

And everyone will suffer as a result. But most people recover and go on to lead relatively stable, happy lives. Others even transcend their traumas, inspired in some fashion to change how they live in order to help others.

How people manage to overcome life’s suffering is the subject of Evanston author Mark Miller’s powerful new book, “Jolt: Stories of Trauma and Transformation,”   published in February by Post Hill Press.

Mr. Miller is a Chicago journalist who has worked at Crain’s, the Sun-Times and the Tribune, where he launched Satisfaction magazine about retirement. After the magazine folded he continued writing about aging and retirement for Reuters and other news syndicates, and his articles have also appeared in AARP magazine and the New York Times.

In 2010 he published his first book, “The Hard Times Guide to Retirement Security: Practical Strategies for Money, Work, and Living.”

“Jolt” grew out of his work on retirement. “I grew interested in midlife career transitions, of people reinventing themselves to serve a greater social purpose.”

He said he noticed a pattern. “Often some traumatic event triggered a change and made people re-evaluate their life.” Mr. Miller discovered there is a rigorous field of research in the psychology of “post-traumatic growth” and set out to find and profile such survivors.

The work resulted in “Surviving the Jolt,” a 2015 article for AARP magazine. “The piece got a good reception, but I felt I had only scratched the surface.”  He spent the next two years doing further research and identifying the many first-person accounts  for the new book.

These accounts are riveting.  A New York couple whose 25-year-old son died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. A Detroit couple whose 7-year-old daughter was abducted and murdered on a family camping trip. A Chicago man burned almost to death in a freak on-the-job fire. A Detroit woman reduced almost to homelessness after her husband lost all their money. And many more.

The wonder is not that these stories abound: of course they do.  As Mr. Miller says, “they were hiding in plain sight.” The wonder is that in each case, the people in his book not only survived but grew from their tragedies and found in them the impetus to achieve great change, to grant forgiveness, to start charitable organizations, and generally to make the world a better place.

“These people didn’t regain their old life, but they were able to start a new life,” he said. And for many, the new life was a blessing they could never have imagined without the jolt.

Of course, not everyone manages to pivot from tragedy to transcendence. But a surprising number of people do.

These are among the many important lessons in “Jolt.”







Article Comment Submission Form

The RoundTable will try to post comments within a few hours, but there may be a longer delay at times. Comments containing mean-spirited, libelous or ad hominem attacks will not be posted.

Note: Your full name is required. Your telephone number and e-mail will not be posted. You may type your comments in the space below, or you may type them in a word document and cut and paste them in the space below.

Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   



Click to View Upcoming Events
<July>
SMTWTFS
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        
Submit Event







HomeVideosCommunity PostsObituariesClassifiedsAdvertiseAbout UsContact UsLife
NU-OLLI-Rethink

Copyright 2008-17 - Evanston RoundTable LLC, Evanston, IL 60202, 847-864-7741, All Rights Reserved


Software © 1998-2018 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved


: