I’ve been recommending this book lately, to everyone from my 25-year-old niece to my 60-something friends. Which is somewhat surprising, considering that I first read A Life of One’s Own 30 years ago.
What makes it stick with me? Joanna Field (pseudonym for Marion Milner) describes her journey of self-knowledge, starting in her late 20s, when she realized she had no idea who she was. Everything she knew about herself came from outside: from her parents, friends, culture.
So Milner decided to notice what made her happy and record it in a journal ( a great exercise for anyone interested in the inward journey). She found, as many of us do, that happiness is in the smallest things: a gust of wind, toes in the dirt, chocolate…
I learned that during the worst depression of my life. In fact, it was what saved me.
That’s why I love a phrase I read in a recent interview with a woman managing a rare and horrible illness. She said the only god she prays to these days is “the god of tiny pleasures.”