What better way to spend a cold winter afternoon than snuggled on the couch by the fire with a really good book? Rarely do I have time to indulge in anything that requires “free time,” but in a recent attempt to carve out more “me” time, I managed, in the course of a few weeks to finish an outstanding book written by a Chatham resident who also happens to be a friend of mine and mother of my almost-three year old daughter’s love interest. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova is the story of Sarah, a working mother of three, who, like many of us, is so busy raising her kids and climbing the corporate ladder that she never stops to appreciate the important things in life. One day, when multi-tasking and making a business call on her cell phone in the car, Sarah gets into a near fatal accident resulting in a brain injury called left neglect, a condition whereby the individual behaves as if the left side of sensory space is non-existent. The book takes the reader through Sarah’s journey toward accepting her condition and the steps she takes to live with neglect and ultimately embrace a slower paced life and all the pleasure she had been missing before.
Though this is a story of a somewhat rare condition, it is a situation to which we can all relate. How many of us are on the fast track in a stressful career while simultaneously raising a family and paying the mortgage on a dream home in the suburbs? It is so easy to get caught up in the American dream that we often forget to enjoy life’s journey. Lisa Genova depicts this common tendency so beautifully, it is almost impossible not to read this book and promise yourself to take a step back and reflect.
Lisa admits she was once on the path that almost cost Sarah her life. But after leaving her stressful career in the consulting business, she built a new life on Cape Cod, a place many of us locals value a slower pace of life. With the Nantucket Sound serving as Chatham’s backdrop, stress on the island is a rarity, making it not only an idyllic place to live, but an perfect destination to unwind and get away from it all. So my advice this winter is to pick up a copy of Left Neglected, reserve a room at the Captains House Inn, and allow us to tend to your every need as you take the first step toward living a less stressful life.