“Sometimes you have to give a little push, one way or the other, to get past the depression, low self-esteem, unhealthy relationships, procrastination, or whatever is holding you back from living your best life.” Mary Morrison
Mary Morrison was an adventurous young woman who dreamed of traveling to exotic places to help the poor. She was, in 1961, fascinated by John F. Kennedy’s Peace Corps and during her teen years traveled with streams of her peers from Europe to India. When she entered college in Southern California, the world was shifting into the women’s liberation movement. Morrison saw herself as a flower child. She made her own love beads, used a little pot, demonstrated against the Vietnam war and on Earth Day. Life was truly all about peace and love. And then one day the cute guy she loved proposed and she accepted. Joyfully, they married, and soon welcomed a son. As Morrison transformed into family, then work and university commitments, her earlier dreams of travel slipped away.
We enter Morrison’s story at mid-life after she lost her job in the Great Recession, losing her husband and suffering other losses. As she honors her son Matthew’s achievements – “…a college dropout garnering Tony, Golden Globe, and Emmy nominations for his work. He was living his dream,” she looks at her own life: on unemployment, single again, and no dreams in sight.
Morrison revisits her youthful dreams and muses about returning to a Third World country as a volunteer teacher. But is she too old now? What if she gets sick? What if the living conditions are horrific? And many other questions she would not be able to answer until she decided to return to Africa. There, she learns those answers and so much more. Morrison’s safari is a beautiful, courageous, and fascinating adventure that opens the door to lost dreams and finding the lioness within.
I treasured this story throughout as Morrison persisted courageously in the face of very difficult challenges. Her hard-won wisdom was a pleasure to share as each gradually evolved on her journey. Her easy, candid voice evoked a sense of warm companionship. If you enjoy memoirs that show a woman finding her pathway to her best life, I highly recommend Looking for the Lioness, the author’s first book. And please know that there are three final words in the last chapter: “…to be continued.”