Upon the publication of Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” in 2013, Jill Ebstein of Newton said, there were two distinct reactions within her circle of female acquaintances. Although some women were empowered by the call to achieve their full potential, others felt marginalized because their personal and professional lives had taken an unintended turn, or they hadn’t chosen to prioritize career advancement.
“These women were saying, ‘If I’m not leaning in, what does that say about me?’ They felt so much anxiety,” recalled Ebstein, a writer and marketing and business consultant. “I thought if I could get the stories out of resilient women who had survived life’s curveballs, maybe others who identified with them could feel a little more validated.”
“At My Pace,” which Ebstein recently self published, is a collection of 36 essays that she says “describe the twists and turns, starts and stops of ordinary women as they seek personal fulfillment.”
The contributors, who are from across the country and range in age from their 30s to 80s, include nine other Massachusetts residents: Kim Lorusso of Bedford; Marla Choslovsky of Brookline; Evelyn Starr of Natick; Melissa Ludtke of Cambridge; Deborah Mead and Rachel Miller of Needham; and Jill Kerner Schon, Judy Elkin, and Ronna Benjamin of Newton.
The stories encompass broad interests and life circumstances, according to Ebstein, while reflecting strength, fortitude, resilience, and humor. She expects readers will connect with some pieces more readily than others, while appreciating them all, even the ones without happy endings.
“We need to be kinder to ourselves and others, hold back the judgment, and realize that there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ ” approach to life, said Ebstein, noting that she has received so much positive feedback that she is planning a second book. “It can take a while until we get to that place where we feel confident with our choices. I hope that ‘At My Pace’ reduces the pressure about how fast it takes us to get there.”
“At My Pace” is available at Wellesley Books, Brookline Booksmith, New England Mobile Book Fair in Newton Highlands, Newtonville Books, and Porter Square Books in Cambridge. For more information, visit www.atmypacebook.com.