First of all, I have to apologize to Mary Wagner for taking so long to review her book. Time flies by just too darn fast! I've managed to read her collection of essays, and found them thoughtful and full of realizations that do truly only come to us when we've been through a few things. Those things? Life changes, career changes, marriages ending, and moving from your 20's through your 30's and into your 40's.
I look back at myself in my early 20's and think that if I met my younger self on the street, what would I say to her? I think it would be: "Don't be afraid to ask questions. Live life to the fullest. Don't worry about making mistakes. Speak up for yourself--no one else will. Travel! And love will find you, even if it takes awhile." oh--and "You'll never ever regret not getting a tattoo." Reading Mary's essays on her life gave me some food for thought.
Mary is in her 40's, divorced, and after years of being a freelance journalist and mom of 4 kids, she went back to law school and became a lawyer. In the meantime, she got a divorce and learned that there is something powerful in being a woman and not being afraid to wield a power tool. There is a certain feeling of pride and accomplishment when you can take care of yourself. Yes, it's always easier to have that man around to help out, but knowing you can do it yourself is a powerful confidence booster.
One particular essay talks about being kind and it really hit home for me. As Mary says, "That if you have something good to say about someone, say it sooner rather than later, because you just never know what shores that encouragement will carry them to." Offering advice to someone who's struggling with a life change; telling someone to "Go for it!" and leading by example can work miracles. My niece said something wonderful to me the other night that made me feel like I am doing something right. My sister died a few years ago, and I have unofficially stepped into being the Auntie/Mom that my two nieces need. Yes, they're adults, but they still need a Mom figure. And that's me. And she let me know they see it, appreciate it, and it makes them feel like someone is looking out for them when they feel disconnected and a bit lost without their Mom to keep connections to family alive. That meant a lot to me. And I'm pretty sure my sister is smiling.
So read Mary's essays. They are entertaining, thoughtful, and show a woman who has become comfortable in her skin.
Rating: 7/10 for a look at a woman who juggles it all, and keeps moving forward.
Available in paperback