About Me

My photo
I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Life is like Riding a Unicycle by Shirley Bahlmann

I’ve know Shirley Bahlmann for several years and have always found her to be one of the funnest (yes I know that isn’t a real word) grown-ups I’ve ever had the pleasure of counting as a friend. She loves happiness and sparklies. In fact, her whole personality just sparkles and makes you want to be near her just for the sheer joy she finds in life. So, a few years ago when we were enjoying a book promotion tour together, I wasn’t surprised to hear her announce her intentions to learn to ride a unicycle. In fact, I could totally see it! (And yes, I was a tiny bit jealous. I mean- a unicycle, how cool is that?)

Better yet, not only did Shirley want to learn to ride that unicycle; she wanted to use it as the basis of her next book. Oh, yeah. You can bet that was a book I was excited to get to read. Life is like Riding a Unicycle: Fun Ways to Keep Your Balance When Life Gets a Little Bumpy by Shirley Bahlmann is a fun little book that I recommend for anyone who has woken up with that weird little mid-life-shoulda-coulda-woulda-crisis tugging at the back of their brain. It’s full of stories from real-life people who have taken life by the hands and made the best of whatever their hopes and dreams could lead them to. It talks about raising children in your 40s selling your home to roam the country in an RV (a dream I’m still trying to convince my husband to give in to), learning to dance, exploring creative talents long ago left in the dust. You name it. This isn’t a book full of miraculous but unattainable stories, these are just everyday things that people have finally decided to stop putting of. Life is like Riding a Unicycle is about taking the bull by the horns and hanging on for dear life, but having the time of your life doing it!

I love the different stories, beginning with the first, “Do Lots of Things Badly” and ending with Shirley’s unicycle adventures. The book finishes with Shirley’s account of learning to ride a unicycle after the age of 40. It’s a fun and encouraging read. I love the fact that she lets you know how long it took her to learn, it’s spread out so that you can really see her progress (or lack of it) over time. That’s very encouraging for those of us that get a little impatient with our dreams sometimes. But I gotta say-- how many people can one person possibly be acquainted with that knows how to ride a unicycle? It seemed like Shirley found more than her fair share of people to glean advice and encouragement from. I think that’s just part of being Shirley though, that woman could find a friend in a wax museum. Still, I think I would have quit letting teenage boys on my unicycle it’s far to embarrassing to be shown up by them so often.

There is something for everyone in Life is like Riding a Unicycle, but the overall message is stated best in Shirley’s introduction.

“Sometimes you’ve just plain gotta do what you wanna do. The alternative is to live with regret, and living with regret takes a lot longer and hurts more than doing whatever it is you wanted to do in the first place.

Trust me on this. It’s true.”

That pretty much sums it up, but on a final note, Shirley also included the following quote from Mark Twain.

“Twenty Years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails, explore, dream, discover.”—Mark Twain.

Oh, yeah. This was definitely my kind of book. Thanks for the great read, Shirley!

Return to the Neighborhood

And while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletter brings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDS interviews from around the world—all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

1 comment:

D'ann said...

I love that intro and quote by Mark Twain! I would LOVE to read that book - i think i'll add it to my wish list ;-)

thanks for the review!