I like to think of life as a highway. You drive along and when everything is going okay, you pass mile markers. Early in life they consist of things like learning to use a toilet and losing all of your baby teeth. Soon after, it’s going to prom and graduating high school. Up until that point, it seems like there is only one logical decision in front of you at a time, and it’s pretty easy to follow. Your GPS demanding you go straight ahead for 10,000 miles. Until it doesn’t. Suddenly there are 500 other roads jetting off it with road signs like “get a job” or “get married”, followed by “have a baby” and “buy a house.” And if you accidentally miss all of those signs… a detour.
What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman is basically a shout out to all the women in the world who either missed their exit in life or drove right past it with wild abandon. Kristin, a TV comedy writer, documents her crazy travel adventure and love affairs in foreign countries all while her contemporaries are settling down into normalcy. And in true comedy writer form, it’s pretty hilarious to read.
I knew I was going to love this book from the beginning. Visuals like, “I wanted love, but I also wanted freedom and adventure, and those two desires fought like angry obese sumo wrestlers in the dojo of my soul” made me laugh. Kristin pretty much tells you exactly what she’s thinking with a no shame filter. Besides being humorous, she’s also filled with some pretty decent insight, “I’m someone a little different on the road, and that vacation from being my home self feels like a great sleep after a long day.” A sentence most of us can relate to after traveling solo.
A lot of the book is about her foreign affairs and trying to do “the thing that you do in the place that you do it.” In case that last part is confusing, think, “When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do” kind of mantra. My favorite part is hearing her experiences as she goes to places like Argentina and falls completely in love with the country itself. She learns to see the world in a different way than her regular Hollywood life.
To be honest, I was a little afraid that the book would be entirely about her love life, but it’s so much more than that. I think everyone has felt a little bit like they went down the wrong path at one point or they don’t know what they are doing with their lives. I’ve heard so many single or unmarried friends fear that they’ll be alone forever, and I’ve heard happily married adults with children fear that they missed out on fun adventures. I think everyone wonders if they should have done something different.
What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding shows that there isn’t really one right way to do things. Whether you’re married and having babies or getting your passport stamped on every continent, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.
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