I've picked up a few "educational" books in the past few weeks. I've also made a concerted effort to read my "work" books at work (that means that I force myself to spend time at work reading books like Kiki Strike. It's a tough life, I tell you what.
First on my list of educational reads: The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. I've avoided reading this book in part because I thought the author would tell me things I didn't want to hear. I had misgivings and misunderstandings about this book, and I was afraid of reading that my desire for a good marriage and happy children somehow made me "less" of a woman. Of course, that's not what this book told me at all.
At 27 (sigh, nearly 28), I read a book that every woman should read at least once in her life. If you need to question the validity of the 50's and 60's era statistics, were they to be applied now, then do so, but the content is still valuable.
I recognized in myself the women who floated through college, studying various subjects, getting interested and educated on a variety of things but neve settling on any one particular topic, assuming that they would marry not long after college. Luckily, my varied education makes me an excellent librarian and an exceedingly interesting person.
As I read, I learned about women who lived lives I am terrified of living. I learned of women who devoted themselves, body, mind and soul, to their husbands and children and forgot what it meant to be an individual.
I learned that educated women who use their educations in some way (be it as a career-woman or an unpaid community leader) are healthier, more sexually satisfied and more comfortable in their own skin. I also learned that the husbands and children of these women are also far better off for having an individual for a mother instead of one who spends each and every day deeply involved in house cleaning.
Before I opted to read this book, I asked my mom if she had, and if she thought I should. She advised me to go ahead and pick it up but warned that it would "either help or hurt" my current emotional state. It helped. I feel that I'm making the right choices in my life.
I feel that having waited before diving into a long-term relationship, I was granted the opportunity to develop as an individual and as a woman. For that, I will be forever grateful.
Next up in the Edification of Sarah?: Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir
p.s. I've updated Real World Wednesday: The Problem with Choice to include my thoughts on adoption.