I absolutely love reading autobiographies. When I was around nine, I remember telling my teacher that they were my favourite genre. She looked at me slightly dumbfounded, and then turned around and handed me her personal copy of Roal Dahl’s Boy. Since then, I can’t remember a time that I haven’t been reading an autobiograhy, or at least had one sitting on my shelf waiting for the right moment.
There is something so intimate and personal about an autobiography, and when I heard the buzz around Just Kids I knew it was going to be a book I’d be consumed by. I absolutely devoured Just Kids and knew instantly that it would be a long time favourite. It’s been a while since I finished reading it now, but still I find myself absolutely invested in Patti’s story.
I took a lot from her writing, definitely more than I’m going to mention here, but I thought today I’d let you have a peak into my mind at some of the lessons I learnt from Patti Smith in Just Kids.
SACRIFICE WHAT YOU THINK YOU NEED, FOR WHAT YOU TRULY WANT
We all own so much shit. You can try deny it all you want, but when it comes down to it, most people own at least something that is completely worthless to them. Over the past two years I have spent countless hours looking into living with less, and since then the only real conclusion I have come to is that I own too many things. Reading about Patti’s relationship with her belongings, and how only the most valuable were moved with her throughout New York, made me seriously look into how many useless items I was accumulating. I’m spending my money on beauty items and home decor that yes, I like, but is it what I truly want? No. I want to save my money and move the heck out of my hometown. I have to start evaluating everything I am spending my money on, and decide if I would rather it or moving away.
BE AMBITIOUS AND PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE
New York was blooming away in the 1960’s and 70’s and the key to most success was putting yourself out there and making a name for yourself. I’m a very introverted person, and the idea of drawing attention to myself isn’t the best feeling in the world, but I’m slowly but surely coming to realise that the way to get anywhere in life is by getting out there. Is there a job opening you want more than anything? Get in there! Drop off your resume in person, call a few days later to refresh them on how keen on the job you are. If you are out there and make sure you are authentic, how bad can it go? You won’t get anywhere in life hiding away in your bedroom.
FIND FRIENDSHIPS FILLED WITH UNCONDITIONAL, INDESCRIBABLE LOVE
My god I’ve had my tough luck with friendships over the years. And this point isn’t so much to say ‘go out and seek friendships’ because I understand how tough that can be. But when you find a friendship that feels that fresh, indescribable kind of love, my god hold onto it. True friends are hard to find, and harder to keep, but in the long run it’s so worth it.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
It is so completely important to believe in yourself. Imagine Patti had never believed she’d make it in New York, and never made the move? It’s hard to imagine her career growing to the same extent if she had of stayed in New Jersey. I’ve reached a point where I’ve realised that I cannot grow if I continue to stay in the same place, but this book was a nice reminder of just how much someone can bloom if they take the leap and move to a new city.
MAKE EXPERIENCES MY PRIORITY
This probably overlaps with my first point, but it’s become so clear to me since reading this book just how important it is that I experience my life. I don’t want to look back in twenty years and realise that I’ve spent all my youth watching from behind a screen. I don’t want all my money being spent on tangible things that I will potentially forget about in thirty, forty years. I really, really want to experience things. Whether it’s the walk to the grocery store, or a trip overseas. I need to look at what I’m doing to prevent me from achieving these bigger experiences, and look at reducing everything that’s holding me back. Patti has so many meaningful experiences to write about, and it’s so important to me that when I’m older, I can look back at this time and have an abundance of experiences to reflect on.
These points definitely don’t sum up the book, but at this moment in time this is what is really sticking out to me. If you’re at all interested in Patti Smith’s writing, I highly, highly recommend picking up a copy of this or checking it out from your local library.