Excerpt: 'The Second Journey: The Road Back To Yourself'

Author Joan Anderson chronicles her trip to find her equilibrium and true self.

ByABC News via logo
April 27, 2008, 11:47 AM

April 28, 2008 — -- Author Joan Anderson found success with her first book, "A Year by the Sea," but with the bestselling title's success came an increased demand for her. Anderson went on tours and gave advice to women about how to find their true selves. All the while, she worked on a new book, took care of her husband, children, grandchildren and mother. She unknowingly had stretched herself too thin and, ironically, she was in a position where she needed to listen to the advice she doled out to others.

A serious intervention from friends and family finally awakened Anderson. Her latest book, "The Second Journey: The Road Back to Yourself," chronicles her quest to restore her own equilibrium and uncover her true self again.

Read an excerpt of "The Second Journey" below.


The actual arrival at a goal always creates a turmoil unconnected to any previous imaginings.


It is a glittering September morning, and I am sitting on a deck at the edge of a salt marsh, coffee cup in hand, feet up on the railing, relaxed and more than ready for a morning of catch-up with Ro and Susan, two of my closest friends on Cape Cod. I take a deep breath, gaze out at the marsh grass, now turning burnt orange as the sun climbs higher, and remember why I love the Cape so much—especially this particular spot, where if the wind is blowing just right, I can hear the roar of the Atlantic in the distance. Here, in a moment such as this, I feel an abiding sense of harmony. Everything is right with the world.

"So," Susan begins as soon as the basket of croissants has been around once, "you've finally made it to the porch—first time in three months." I turn sharply away from the landscape and toward the note of sarcasm I hear in her voice, and I am startled to see severe looks on both her and Ro's faces.

"What are you talking about?" I ask, and then I take a gulp of coffee and wait for an answer that is not forthcoming. I was in the mood for a long overdue social gathering, one of those leisurely mornings we used to share regularly before the chain of appearances associated with promoting my last book and writing the new one got in the way. But it is obvious that they are preparing to take me to task. I know the signs all too well. Lately it seems I can't keep anyone happy. At the end of August, after the annual family gathering, my kids left complaining that I had seemed distracted the whole time they were here; my ninety-one-year-old mother stops by every morning and sighs loudly when I remind her I have to work; and my agent is forever pestering me about impending deadlines. No matter how hard or how fast I pedal, I constantly feel as if I am slipping backward as I head uphill.

"You two know how much work I have right now," I say with more than a hint of frustration. Both used to hold high-pressure jobs before retiring to Cape Cod. Susan had been a television producer and Ro a marketing executive. Both women had also raised children and sustained marriages. They came to the Cape tired, worn out, and ready for adventure. We've kayaked, hiked the Cape's beaches, shopped, and shared a lifetime's worth of secrets. They are usually sympathetic to my schedule, and they are the first people I call when I am stuck and need a good trek through the woods to sort out my thoughts. So I am surprised at the sharpness in the air."This is about more than your work, Joan," Ro says. "If I lived in the three-ring circus you do, I wouldn't be able to produce a thing. That's what's got us worried—you seem to be your own worst enemy right now. You've become a glutton—always putting more on your plate than you can possibly handle—and the overload is killing you. For God's sakes, look at you. When was the last time you got your hair streaked—probably before your last book tour. You certainly don't take that kind of time just for yourself anymore."