Letters To My Younger Self®
“We don’t always have the wisdom we require at the time we need it. We struggle. We worry. Often, only later do our choices make sense to us,” says Ellyn Spragins in WHAT I KNOW NOW: Letters To My Younger Self® (Broadway Books; April 2006) The book contains letters from forty-one famous women reflecting on significant moments in their lives and sharing the advice they wish they had known at that time.
After losing her mother suddenly several years ago, Ellyn Spragins found herself asking questions about her mother’s life as she navigated her own. She was curious about how her mother felt during some of the key moments and how she would feel about them having the benefit of hindsight. This personal reflection is what ultimately propelled Spragins to approach women she admired and respected about what words of wisdom they wish they had known during pivotal times in their own lives.
Cokie Roberts, Queen Noor of Jordan, Macy Gray, and Ann Curry are just some of the many well-known contributors who participated in this deeply personal exercise. Others who also opened their hearts in WHAT I KNOW NOW include:
- Madeleine Albright, Former Secretary of State – addressing herself when she was still reeling from the breakup of her marriage of 23 years.
- Trisha Yearwood, Singer and Songwriter – encouraging herself in her early twenties not to look for validation from others.
- Heather Mills McCartney, Activist – learning to say “no” sometimes to people that just take and take and do not try to help themselves.
- Olympia Dukakis, Actress – encouraging herself to find some happiness in trying situations rather than just being bogged down with all of the difficult things she was faced with.
- Maya Angelou, Poet, Author, Playwright – telling herself at age 17 that she will succeed when she first left home with a newborn baby.
- Eileen Fisher, Clothing Designer and Entrepreneur – encouraging her younger self (early 20s) to embrace her independence and not to be afraid to be alone.
WHAT I KNOW NOW not only offers insight into the private lives of several inspiring women, but creates a springboard for readers to reflect on some of the important choices they made in their own lives. As Spragins says, “Choosing to grow during trying life passages can be lonely work. I hope this book will make that choice less solitary because you’ll be in the company of great women.”