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Excerpted from The Gift of a Year by Mira Kirshenbaum. Copyright © 2000 by Mira Kirshenbaum. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"These women's stories were all about how they had dedicated a year to doing something special for themselves."

  Mira Kirshenbaum
The Gift of a Year
, Part 1

What are those needs and dreams that have fallen by the wayside for you? They're different for every woman, of course. With billions of women on the planet, there are billions of possibilities. Maybe what you need is to solve a particular problem—get on top of the stress at work, or find a way to get more fun and pleasure from your life, or stop getting involved with men who aren't good for you.

Maybe you want to make a specific dream come true—finally go back to school, or learn how to climb mountains, or take that trip to Paris.

Maybe you just need a real rest. Because sometimes simply doing nothing is the one thing your mind and body crave most. Or maybe you'd like to resolve a long-simmering issue in your life. Or get your life more organized. Or put the "you" back in your life. Or have some adventures. Or figure out where you want to go next with your life. Or do whatever you want.

Do you think you're the only woman in the world who's had to struggle with not getting her needs met? Of course not. Every woman struggles with this. And don't you think that with so many women in the same situation, an amazing solution would turn up? It has.

The Year of You

From women of all ages and backgrounds who'd heard about my work, I began hearing stories. These were women just like you and me. They too led busy, overcommitted lives. They too put most of their energy into doing what had to be done and into meeting other people's needs. But at some point the balance got too far out of whack. What about their own needs? What about their own dreams?

These women's stories were all about how they had dedicated a year to doing something special for themselves. That's the gift of a year.

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