I recently completed reading John Glenn: A Memoir. This hardcover book has sat on my bookcase since I bought it and read it when it was published in 1999. I re-read it now because, twenty years later, I didn’t remember much of what I had read the first time around, and I wanted to see if this book should continue to remain a part of my permanent library taking up valuable shelf space.
From a reader’s/writer’s perspective, the book showed me what not-to-do. I found myself skimming through parts that contained too many details, felt like too much information, and only served to delay the story.
But I’m still glad I read it.
John Glenn, one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, could have easily lived his life resting on his laurels, boasting of his accomplishment as the first American to orbit the earth. But he didn’t. He continued living and learning. He served as an executive for RC Soda, and later, served more than twenty years as a United Sates Senator. And then at the age of 77, returned to space as a member of the crew of STS-95 onboard the shuttle Discovery.
I think the biggest takeaway I got from reading the story of this special man’s life is that you don’t have to let one thing define you.
That’s the message I want my son to know and truly believe in his heart. That he doesn’t have to choose just one thing to be “when he grows up.” There aren’t limits to what he can achieve and there should be no limits to what he aspires to try.