From a renowned sociologist, the wisdom of saying goodbye
Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot is enthralled by exits: long farewells, quick goodbyes, sudden endings, the ordinary and the extraordinary. There’s a relationship, she attests, between small goodbyes and our ability “to master and mark the larger farewells.”
In Exit, her tenth book, she explores the ways we leave one thing and move on to the next; how we anticipate, define, and reflect on our departures; our epiphanies that something is over and done with. The result is an enthusiastic, uplifting lesson about ourselves and the role of transition in our lives.
Lawrence-Lightfoot, a sociologist and a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has interviewed more than a dozen women and men in states of major change, and she paints their portraits with sympathy and insight: a gay man who finds home and wholeness after coming out; a sixteen-year-old boy forced to leave Iran in the midst of the violent civil war; a Catholic priest who leaves the church he has always been devoted to, he life he has loved, and the work that has been deeply fulfilling; an anthropologist who carefully stages her departure from he “field” after four years of research; and many more.
Too often, Lawrence-Lightfoot believes, we exalt new beginnings t the expense of learning from our goodbyes. Exit finds isdom and perspective in the possibility of moving on and marks the start of a new conversation, to help us discover how we might make our exits with purpose and dignity.
To win a copy of Exit: The Endings That Set Us Free by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with "EXIT" as the subject. Make sure to include your name and mailing address in the US only. This contest is open to all adults over 18 years of age. One entry per email address, please. Your email address will not be shared or sold to anyone. All entries, including names, email addresses and mailing addresses, will be purged after winner is notified. This contest ends June 18, 2012. Good luck!