The 52 Weeks: Two Women and Their Quest to Get Unstuck…
We love the premise behind this book—doing one new thing each week for 52 weeks (and doing it with a friend!) to help get you unstuck. Like us, two friends who share a common passion, authors Karen Amster-Young and Pam Godwin of The 52 Weeks forged the idea over drinks one night because they were both feeling “stuck” in their lives. They pledged each other’s support right then and there to get “unstuck.” This book chronicles their 52 week search to find something different to do each week whether it was big or small, scary or uncomfortable, so they could grow as mothers, wives, friends and just the awesome women that they are. Then they included some advice from experts and tips for how anyone feeling like they did can move forward in their lives.
We are even more excited about this book because our very own roving reporter, Jami Kelmenson, has contributed to two chapters based on her own expertise in getting unstuck. We sat down with Jami to ask her about the book and her advice for getting unstuck.
Shelf Pleasure: How did you become involved in The 52 Weeks?
Jami Kelmenson: I was out to dinner one night and got to talking with a friend of a friend whom I’d just met and was sitting next to. She mentioned she was a blogger at which point my ears perked up, then she told me she was also a mom but not really a mommy blogger. When I took a look at her site, The 52weeks.com, I knew I had to be a part of it. But I wasn’t a stuck mom. I was a single person who had a lot of experience repeatedly getting stuck and then unstuck and I knew I had a lot to share. I pitched Karen on the idea of the single woman’s perspective on getting unstuck, and the rest, as they say…
SP: You contributed to two chapters of The 52 Weeks. Tell us about the “Flying Solo” chapter, which is about being single.
JK: This one is so near and dear to my heart, being single and being over 40. I used to feel like there was something dreadfully wrong with me for not getting married and having kids, but then as friends started to divorce or those that were still married envied my carefree lifestyle, I realized maybe I was on to something. And a wonderful thing happens when you hit 40—you stop looking at babies in carriages and wish you had one. Instead you start looking at teenage girls and wish you had one of those! And I wanted to share my new outlook and all of the ways I took advantage of being single and offer them up to The 52 Weeks as ways to get unstuck.
SP: So what are some of the ways?
JK: In the book, Karen and Pam write about some really cool things they did like test driving a Maserati, learning to play poker and taking a carriage ride in Central Park for the first time. But even something like—and this is one of my favorite posts in the book—committing to eating blueberries each day was a way to get unstuck. The point being, it doesn’t have to be a big thing, although there’s a story in the “Flying Solo” chapter about a woman who tried gliding over Long Island after she got divorced. So I got to thinking? What’s my gliding? What’s my blueberries? The biggest thing I did in the name of getting unstuck was take a trip to Haiti to observe relief efforts in one community following the devastating 2010 earthquake. The smallest was saying hello to a stranger on the subway without having them think I was a crazy person. In some ways, the saying hello to a stranger in NYC was harder than visiting a third world country! For a single person, in particular, getting unstuck has a lot to do with getting out and meeting people to date, and of course, we cover a lot of that in the book as well.
SP: You also contributed to a chapter on “Giving Back.” Why is that a way to get unstuck?
JK: It’s actually been proven, and it’s referenced in the book, that volunteering—getting outside of ourselves—can actually have a profound effect on our moods. It’s not just fluff, being a do-gooder. Too often, we’re in our own heads and by getting out of your own problems for an hour or a day and seeing what it’s like for people who really have it tough can make us feel better about our own situations. And the simple gesture of helping someone and seeing the appreciation on their faces can really affect your outlook. In the book, we have stories from people who gave back during Hurricane Sandy and after 9/11, but also picking up some trash in your local park can make a difference, too. These days, it seems that there’s one new catastrophe after another going on in the world. It’s not an inconvenience to give back any more; it’s really an imperative since you never know when the next situation can impact you personally.
SP: Any other things on your 52 list we should know about?
JK: I just came back from a trip to New Orleans. I’ve wanted to go there forever and was afraid that I’d missed out once Katrina hit. Turns out the French Quarter is alive and well, and I can cross one more U.S. state off my 52 list. (She estimates she’s been to about 35, Alaska and Hawaii are still on the list). Oh, and this morning, I ordered an egg white omelet. I didn’t like it.
Pick up your copy of The 52 Weeks wherever books are sold and create your own 52 list to kick off 2014 right! And check out roving reporter Jami Kelmenson’s recap on the promo event for The 52 Weeks with MORE magazine!
Jami Kelmenson is a freelance writer and blogger living and loving in New York City. She is currently seeking representation for her first novel, Crossing Paths. See more ShelfPleasure posts from Jami, including her roving reporter coverage at BookExpo America (BEA) 2013, and read of her ongoing tales of travel, life, love and the pursuit of getting published in NYC at her blog, www.jamikellywriter.tumblr.com.
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