Elizabeth Gilbert eased me out of my mid-twenties crisis.

Her book Eat, Pray, Love, which you may have read because you like the Oprah book club or refused to read because you hate anything Oprah endorses (which is where most of my friends fall), helped me become comfortable with myself. Mostly in the fact that I don’t quite know myself well enough yet to be planning out the rest of my life, and that I should be okay with taking time to figure it all before rushing into a life others wanted me to pursue.

This is Gilbert’s memoir and it begins in the admission that she has found herself in a life that she is not happy, she had followed the path that others laid out and a path that she followed without self-discovery. Her marriage comes to an end and thus her exploits begin.

Without ruining the story, she decides to travel for a year, spending four month in each: Italy, India, and Indonesia. In Italy she learned to eat with a passion and enjoy pleasure without guilt. In India she learned to pray, discovering a heightened sense of spirituality and depth. In Indonesia she learned to love, not just romantically, but in other relationships as well.

If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend that you do (despite any Oprah qualms you may have). Also, if you are interested, I also recommend getting the audio book version, and while there is no way that an audio book can compare to holding it in your hands and marking inspiring things, books that are read by their authors have something special about them. Gilbert’s voice is so sincere and warm that you feel like you are talking to someone you’ve known for years. The first time I heard Maya Angelou recite one of her poems, I never thought I could read her poetry so plain again; Gilbert’s kind of like that. She also did a TED talk recently, which was also intriguing, here’s the link: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

This book helped me be okay with having conflicting desires and pursuing all of them at once to find my own path and way, in finding pleasure, God, and even love.

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