Wisdom from Anna Quindlen

I am reading Anna Quindlen’s new book Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, but, so far, I like the first paragraph best.

“It’s odd when I think of the arc of my life, from child to young woman to aging adult,” begins Quindlen, who is 59. “First I was who I was. Then I didn’t know who I was. Then I invented someone and became her. Then I began to like what I’d invented. And finally I was what I was again.”

After Quindlen read that paragraph during a National Public Radio interview on “Fresh Air,” Terry Gross asked about the person that Anna Quindlen invented.

Quindlen answered by referring to Gloria Steinem’s quote—“Women have been female impersonators for years.”  She said that Steinem was saying that we try to be a little thinner, a little sweeter and a little less combative than we really are so that we will conform to society’s expectations.

Women become “carefully manipulated versions of themselves,” Quindlen explained.

When we finally feel freer to be ourselves, we come to a “surprising conclusion,” Quindlen writes in her new book. “It’s that we’ve done a pretty good job of becoming ourselves, and that this is, in so many ways, the time of our lives.”

You can read more about Quindlen’s book here.