Perhaps you’ve seen that Lincoln commercial featuring Matthew McConaughey: Shortly before the commercial ends, he speaks these words:
“You just gotta find that balance, where taking care of yourself takes care of more than just yourself. That’s the sweet spot.”
I bring up the commercial because, after seeing it this morning, I was instantly reminded of a book I recently read.
That book, called Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, is a reflective book about the different roles a women takes on throughout her life. At different points she may be a daughter, a wife, a mother, a friend. No matter what stage a woman is in, Anne Morrow Lindbergh argues that she needs to take care of herself to take care of others.
Who Was Anne Morrow Lindbergh?
Perhaps you’re not familiar with Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s life. As the daughter of an ambassador, Anne married adventurer Charles Lindbergh when she was just 21 years old. Together, the pair flew around the world, charting new paths and exploring new countries. For Anne, life with Charles Lindbergh was exciting, but it was also difficult.
During their lifetime, the pair became one of the most famous couples in the world. Charles Lindbergh was known for his solo trip across the Atlantic Ocean, but Anne herself was an accomplished pilot. In 1930, Anne became the first woman to receive a glider’s pilot license, and in 1934 she became the first woman to win the National Geographic Society’s Hubbard Medal for her accomplishments in flight. Together, the two Lindbergh’s flew more than 40,000 miles and visited five continents. While they were in the air, everything was perfect.
It was on land where things became a bit more difficult. The married Lindbergh’s were greeted everywhere they went by extreme fanfare, which made it difficult for them to have any peace. In addition, Charles Lindbergh was said to have a controlling and somewhat domineering personality, which could have, at times, made life difficult for Anne.
One of the biggest struggles for the Lindberghs came in 1932, when their oldest son, Charles Lindbergh, Jr., was kidnapped from his nursery. A body believed to be that of the 20-month-old baby was eventually found more than a year later.
Anne went on to have five more children and eventually became a best-selling author. Perhaps it was the perspective she gained through her exhilarating adventures and heart-breaking losses that made it possible for Anne to produce such fantastic work in her inspiration memoir, Gift from the Sea.
About Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Best-Selling Book
Gift from the Sea was originally published in 1955, and today, more than 60 years later, a surprisingly huge portion of the book still rings true. Written during one of Anne’s vacations to Sanibel Island in Florida, the book is set up in chapters which reflect different phases of a woman’s life. Anne draws comparisons between different seashells and different roles women play throughout their on earth, and her ability to succinctly and accurately describe the needs of a modern woman is simply uncanny.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, one of the things Anne writes about in-depth is the need for a woman to take care of herself in order to take care of others. According to Anne, this involves spending time alone in a quiet space while reflecting on life in order to recenter. She also writes in-depth about the ebb and flow of relationships, the different ways men and women receive validation from the world, and the trend toward overabundance by the consumer.
Before reading this book, I looked around Amazon to find out what others thought about it. I was afraid that, having been written so long ago, the world may have changed too much for the book to apply to my current life. What I found surprised me. Here’s what one reviewer had to say:
A book “every woman should read. What amazed me about this book was its timeliness, or should I say, timelessness. That a middle-aged Caucasian woman, writing during the 50’s, could strike such a deeply-felt chord of sisterhood with me, a 30-something African-American woman living at the brink of a new millennium, is truly the mark of a gifted writer.”
As if this writing, Gift from the Sea has 395 five-star reviews on the site and only 12 negative reviews. Apparently, I’m not the only one who loved this book.
It’s a short and quick read — only 130 pages — and it could easily be read in an hour. Resist the temptation to shoot through it. Take your time and read Gift from the Sea slowly, soaking in all the wisdom and knowledge this experienced woman has to share from an earlier era.