Book review: Year of yes – How to dance it out, stand in the sun and be your own person

I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.

Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person

I cannot explain the excitement I felt when I finally received a copy of Shonda Rhimes book – year of yes. I mean Shonda is a powerhouse and writer of some of the best shows I have ever seen (hello greys anatomy, how to get away with murder, scandal). I have always thought that people with active imaginations make the best writers. I can report that I was not wrong.

The book covers her life growing up with her parents, her thoughts on marriage and work but the main focus of the is on her decision to have a year of yes. Where she said yes to everything that scared her.

The extreme fear seemed to freeze my face, turning me into a statue to
protect me while onstage.
Shonda Rhimes

Her decision to have a year of yes started after a conversation with her sister (Delorse) while preparing a meal. To use the exact words from her sister “you never say yes to anything”. If I learned anything from reading this book, it would be to feel the fear but do it anyway. I am sharing a few of my favorite quotes with you guys.

On Marriage: Marriage is a financial partnership. Marriage has nothing to do with love. Love is a choice we can make every day. Romantic love as a path to marriage is a fairly new concept, I tell him. And it is a foolish one.

On happy endings: My happy ending is not the same as your happy ending. And yours is not the same as my sister Delorse’s or my sister Sandie’s or Zola’s or Betsy’s or Gordon’s or Scott’s or Jenny McCarthy’s.Everyone has their own version.

On being yourself: When you feel the need to apologize or explain who you are, it means the voice in your head is telling you the wrong story. Wipe the slate clean. And rewrite it.

On friendship: The upside of culling people from my life is that my focus has become very clear. My vision has become razor sharp. I now work to see people, not as I’d rewrite them, but as they have written themselves. I see them for who they are. And for who I am with them. Because it’s not merely about surrounding myself with people who treat me well. It’s also about surrounding myself with people whose self-worth, self-respect and values inspire me to elevate my own behavior. People who require that I stay truthful and kind and not totally crazy. Not eating every single thing in sight. Not hiding. Not saying no. I want Ride or Dies who make me want to be a better person.

On weight loss: As I started to really lose weight, something interesting started to happen. I stopped thinking of my body as a mere container for my brain. I became more aware of it.

On motherhood: You can quit a job. I can’t quit being a mother. I’m a mother forever. Mothers are never off the clock, mothers are never on vacation. Being a mother redefines us, reinvents us, destroys and rebuilds us. Being a mother brings us face-to-face with ourselves as children, with our mothers as human beings,
with our darkest fears of who we really are.

Saying no: And you have to know, going in, where you draw the line.
You have to know when in the conversation you are going to say no.
You have to know when you are going to say, “That doesn’t work for me.”
You have to know when to say, “I’m done.”
You have to know when to say, “This isn’t worth it.”
“You aren’t worth it.”

If you have read her book, share what you loved about it. If you have not please share your current read.


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