Rosalie Schwartz (left) and her book,
Rosalie Schwartz (left) and her book, "In the Blink of an Eye: A Personal Journey of Life and Lessons Learned" (right).

Throughout the 98-page book, Rosalie Schwartz gives forth what she calls “pearls of wisdom,” little sayings that virtually anyone can live their life by.

Rosalie Schwartz, an 84-year-old retired psychotherapist, always wanted to write a book. It was only a matter of putting pen to paper. Her plan was to share her life’s lessons with the world and other tidbits of wisdom she had picked up along the way.

When the pandemic hit last March, Schwartz realized it was the perfect opportunity to finally get started on the project she always had in the back of her mind. Over the course of the past year, she put together her book, In the Blink of an Eye: A Personal Journey of Life and Lessons Learned.

Throughout the 98-page book, which was released in February on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle format, the Metro Detroit-based writer gives forth what she calls “pearls of wisdom,” little sayings that virtually anyone can live their life by. She has also decided to donate all proceeds to local food banks and community members in need.

Quotes like “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen more than we speak” and “It’s hard to be a person” are connected back to Schwartz’ memories and life experiences, explaining how they correlate and what others can learn from her story. They pull from both her personal life and career, which Schwartz began later than most.

As her children grew older, she made the decision to go back to school at the age of 40. “I fell in love with it,” she recalls of her education at the University of Michigan. Previously, Schwartz didn’t have post-secondary education. “I had the best of both worlds. I was able to raise my children and then go back to school and back to work.”

She received an undergraduate degree in social work and built a career working in the public sector. For 20 years, she worked at an agency as a therapist and later a program director. Then, Schwartz transitioned into private practice for another 20 years, retiring just two years ago at the age of 82.

“During the past many years, I thought to myself that when I had some time, I was going to write a book and share my experiences of life,” Schwartz recalls.

Helping people learn life skills was second nature for the retired psychotherapist, who helped counsel hundreds throughout her career. She even developed the term “pearls of wisdom” alongside her grandchildren, to whom she would send a different “pearl” each week as they attended college.

Concern for the Hungry

Throughout the COVID-19 shutdown, Schwartz made it a point to sit down and work on her book. She wrote for months until it was finally finished. Then, during a visit to Temple Israel, the synagogue she attends, she noticed a long line of people in cars.

“I didn’t know what they were doing,” she explains. Schwartz spoke to her rabbi, who mentioned the line of cars was there for a food drive. Temple Israel members were dropping off food that would later be donated to different food banks in need.

Schwartz learned the drive happened monthly, which gave her an idea. “My heart was breaking when I watched television and saw all these people standing in line for food,” she says of the pandemic, which had tremendous financial impact on many families, including in the local community. “That was a motivation for me to complete this book, so I could donate the proceeds to the food banks.”

Though Schwartz says it’s a smaller book, she notes she was anxious to complete it instead of taking more time to build it out further, which she believes she could have done. However, she wanted to help the community as soon as possible and already has a strong start on donations.

Since the book’s release in February, Schwartz has been collecting money (and will continue to do so with all future proceeds) that she aims to split between Yad Ezra, Gleaners Community Food Bank and Forgotten Harvest. In the meantime, she explains she’ll continue writing more life lessons.

“That’s my plan,” she says. “It was a labor of love.”