Amanda's Reviews > How to Save Your Own Life: 15 Lessons on Finding Hope in Unexpected Places

How to Save Your Own Life by Michael Gates Gill
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May 30, 10

bookshelves: arc, asked, own, non-fiction
Read in January, 2010

Michael Gates Gill had been working for over twenty-five years as an ad agency director. He was born into a life of privilege and being in the Yale crowd, pretty much given his job and that was that. In one fail swoop -- he loses his job, his marriage, has a child outside of his marriage, and is diagnosed with a brain tumor. I mean...wow. And sometimes I think I have it hard! Down and out, he manages to get a job at Starbucks and his eyes are opened to a world where deadlines and blackberries are out, and being happy and helpful are in.

Honestly, the first two chapters were the best ones for me. For some strange reason, this book fell into my lap at the best time. Right now, my husband and I are contemplating a lot of changes. My husband has a master's degree in mechanical engineering and after working in the field for some years, he just has never enjoyed it and usually just plain hates it. So he's thinking about going back to school for something he actually wants to do. How scary but exciting! Actually, yesterday he put in his two weeks at work.

We are also in the middle of trying to move out of our apartment, even though our lease isn't up until this next summer. I've been pretty sick for about a year now with allergies and eczema. My doctor thought it was a food allergy but I am convinced now that it is due to a ton of mold in our apartment. I didn't have proof though until I pulled our Christmas tree box down from our closet and it was stuck to a ton of mold on the wall. Yeah. That is disgusting. So we are changing it. Getting out so we can get healthy and happy.

So when Gill wrote that if you are less than thrilled about what you are doing...change it!! -- well, that just spoke right to me. Don't wait until something drastic, like a brain tumor, makes you change how you live. We decided that while it's extremely scary to change our life to be happy, it's definitely more scary to stay where we are. One of his chapters or "lessons" is "Leap...With Faith", and that is just what we are going to do.

The rest of the book was, I thought, a nice memoir-ish about what Michael Gates Gill has been through and what he's learned. I especially enjoyed the sections on learning from your father and mother. His father was a writer for The New Yorker and just seemed like such a character. Even though his father passed away a few years ago, he is still continuing to learn from his example. I loved that. My husband and I both lost our fathers to cancer but I still think my father was an amazing example of what a husband and father should be. And our moms, well, they are just amazing ladies.

I don't know what I would have thought about this book had I not been in this place in my life. All I know is that I am glad I read it when I did.
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