Courage and Croissants: Inspiring Joyful Living – A Story and Life Guidebook
Authors: Suzanne Saxe-Roux, Ed.D  and Jean P. Roux, Ph.D.
http://www.healthyjoyfulliving.com/reserve-book-now/
Reviewed by: Anne Holmes for the NABBW

This book, by real life husband and wife team Suzanne Saxe-Roux Ed. D and Jean P. Roux, Ph.D. is both a story and a life guidebook.

Courage and CroissantsAs the book opens, authors Suzanne and Jean are a dual-career professional couple living in San Francisco with their young daughter,  Zoe Pascale, who was born to them after 17 years of marriage. At first glance, it might seem that they were living the American Dream. But, the dream wasn’t working for them, just as it hasn’t worked for so many of us Baby Boomers.

As the book opens, Suzanne\’s business partner has just died of cancer, their daughter was born prematurely, and they found themselves working basically to pay the bills and not a whole lot more.

The authors decided they needed time to reprioritize what was important and to relearn what living a healthy joyful life was.

They decided a change of location might help them get started — and eventually decided to spend a year living in the south of France, a country they had visited frequently.

As Suzanne writes, ” Sure, some would call the decision insane, irresponsible, and selfish; others would see it as an adventure of a lifetime. We knew that the choice was ours to make, no one else\’s. It was a choice between this and a continuing series of mid-life crises that could cost us dearly. It soon came down to the simple question, “If not now, when?”

The term “American Dream,” in case you weren’t familiar with its origins, was a term coined in 1931 by James Turslow Adams in his book, The Epic of America. It was based upon the belief that with hard work and determination, anyone can prosper and achieve anything and everything they wanted. With this hard work ethic, there was a secondary belief that parents would be able to easily provide more for their children than they themselves ever had: a bigger house, education, opportunity, and better jobs.

The idea is still alive, but many things have changed since 1931. Today there is a growing belief that the American Dream of devoting your life to your work in order to reap the rewards is no longer valid. The cost to one’s family, one’s health, and one’s own well-being can be sustained only for a period of time, not for the forty years – at minimum – that most of us will work.

Beyond that, many of us are waking up to realize that even if we do manage to do our part: marry, forge a career and maintain a marriage over this period of time while managing to successfully raise our children, there is no longer any guarantee that our employers and our leaders will do theirs.

  • After all, we have lived through recession after recession, layoff after layoff, companies taking away retirements, benefits, and our overall security.
  • Not to mention that another part of the dream was built on our trust in the growth of the GNP, the finance markets, the stock markets, and our leaders.

But getting back to the book… This is the story of a couple who went in search of a way to take back control over their lives in order to regain the simple joys of living that so many of us have lost. They actually quit their jobs and took the risk to go in search of what was truly important to them.

At this book’s heart is a story about their love of family and their desire for quality of life.

The book is divided into two sections:

The first section is the story of their journey and the lessons they learned. In it:

  • Part I chronicles their lives leading up to their decision to make a change.
  • Part II details their transition into a new life – and out of their comfort zone.
  • Part III  contains vignettes from their time in France, broken into themes of creativity, sensuality, healthy living and travel
  • Part IV deals with their transition back to the United States and their efforts to grow into the next phase of life.

The second section features 15 “Life Guidebook Tips,” and explores topics such as:

  • Recognize What is Not Working in Your Life
  • Determine Your Options
  • Figure Out How to Fund Your Dreams
  • Surrender Your Fears

This is a great book for anyone who is asking themselves questions like:

  • Is my lifestyle working for me? How can I change it for the better?
  • What have I put off doing that I truly want to do before I die?
  • What steps can I take to simplify my life today?
  • Will my current lifestyle ever allow me to take a big risk, do something completely spontaneous or spur of the moment?
NABBW Contributing Author