As a book I have revisited several times, my copy of The Best Of Everything by Rona Jaffe is quite fragile and very worn. This bestseller novel was originally published in 1958, and became a huge hit with young women during the 60’s. It continues to be listed as a must-read for twenty-somethings (that’s where I remember getting the recommendation to read it).
The story follows four women trying to ‘make it’ in the city, all on different paths that are somewhat intertwined. They face a lot of sexism, a lot of decisions, and a lot of obstacles when trying to realise what they really want and how they are going to get it.
From this wonderful piece of literature comes some inspiring quotes. This is just a few of them:
As long as I have to work, I’m going to get something out of it. These people look as if they have – just jobs. They don’t look as if they particularly like their work, they look as if they can’t help themselves. I don’t want to look like them, I want my job to be one of the happy things in my life.
This hits me right in the soul – I’ve never understood how people can be content with a job that gives you nothing back. That’s probably why I’ve tried so many and am still looking for that career that’ll give me not only end-of-day satisfaction but a sense of purpose.
There are only two ways to live, the right way and the wrong way. If you live the right way you’re happy, and if you live the wrong way you’re miserable.
This quote is so black and white I couldn’t help but include it. What is the right way anyway? Don’t you need a bit of misery to appreciate the good times?
But if it happened to me, then it’s part of me. It is me. And the things I think – they’re what made all the things that did or didn’t happen to me important.
Something to help you (and I) feel differently about what has happened to us, the things we regret, the people we wish we had never given our time to. All of it shapes us.
The most valuable commodity in business today, if people would only recognise it, is enthusiasm.
If only that was still seen as most valuable – it certainly doesn’t feel like that when you read graduate job advertisements that ask for a degree and ten years experience.
We keep making decisions, every day, half without thinking, half against our will. If we don’t fight back, if we allow ourselves to change, to be changed, then once it’s done we have to do other things, and on and on until the person we wanted to be is so far away in the past that we only remember her, longingly, as if she were a beloved stranger.
Something that scares me to the core is becoming something I’m not and never wanted to be, just because society told me so. I hope I stay weird forever and always.
Courage was to live.
I would happily tattoo this somewhere on my body. Maybe my inner forearm or something. It’s something I need to be reminded of more and more.
It wasn’t worth much, but it was her own life. If she wasn’t going to die, at least she was going to live as she pleased, whatever that meant.
Print this on a T-shirt and I’d wear it everyday.
What are some of your favourite books? Let me know in the comments below (as if my To-Be-Read list isn’t long enough…)!