book number thirteen of 2015: what i know now, letters to my younger self [ellyn spragins].

for many years i was strictly a fiction aficionado. it’s not that i had anything against non-fiction works, it’s just that for some reason they didn’t really appeal to me. however, in recent years my tastes have evolved, and i have slowly been incorporating more and more non-fiction reads into my rotation.

my most recent foray into the non-fiction world was ellyn spragins’ what i know now: letters to my younger self, a collection of letters successful women have written to their younger selves. from madeleine albright and senator barbara boxer, from phylicia rashad and olympia dukakis, and from wendy walker and maya angelou, there is more wisdom and reflection contained in this quick read than in many i have come across before. i caught myself highlighting something in nearly every letter, and i related to so much of what these women wrote regarding life, love, work, and family.

spragins was moved to write this after the death of her mother. she was struggling to learn how to navigate life without the advice and guidance of her mother, and she became interested in what kind of advice successful women would give to their younger selves to get through tough times. the collection of women she assembled includes politicians, writers, activists, entrepreneurs, and artists, and they all write to themselves at turning points in their lives.

some of the letters are short bullet lists of things they wish they had known at that time. others are long tomes about how current situations will be overcome. but regardless of length or age, there is an underlying tone in every letter: you will get through this and come out better on the other side. that one line is something i struggle with whenever i find myself in a difficult or unwelcome situation, and somehow it makes it better knowing that even these famous and powerful women faced their own adversities.

i breezed through this book in about 10 days, and although there were a few letters i didn’t really get in to, there were many i could relate to and enjoyed reading. it was an interesting read, and one i’m glad i decided to pick up.

you should understand that being different is fantastic. in fact, rejoice in all those things that make you different. ultimately, it’s not how you look or what group you’re in that will determine your success in the world. i think you can carve new territory, you can do something completely out of the box, and if it is an act of love and goodness, it will be completely embraced — as bizarre as that may seem. if you can have faith in your real self, you’ll suffer less. you won’t waste valuable time that could be spent on more important things. – ann curry

so go kick some ass. don’t take no for an answer. work hard, play hard, fight hard, and love hard. break some rules and raise a little hell. and at the end of every day, ask yourself if you have any regrets. i guarantee you, you will rarely regret the things you did do, and mostly regret the things you didn’t do. so do it. do it all. learn french. get a piano. write your one-person show. fall in love more often. love the journey, not just the result. – camryn manheim

the key elements in life are time and people: what are you spending your time on and whom are you spending it with? – trish mcevoy

my goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 // average rating is 3.40 [if i were allowed, i would probably rate it a 3.5].

crossing off the popsugar reading list: a book by a female author.

next up: chai, chai by bishwanath ghosh.


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