Closing The Gap

Michelle Obama's advice to young women: 'It's OK not to know who you are or exactly what you want to be'

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Former US First Lady Michelle Obama meets Vietnamese students in Can Giuoc district, Long An province on December 9, 2019.
NHAC NGUYEN | AFP | Getty Images

More than two years after publishing her New York Times best-selling book "Becoming," former first lady Michelle Obama is releasing a young readers' edition and paperback version of her memoir.

In a social media video posted on Tuesday, Obama shared the one message she hopes young women take from her book: "It is OK not to know who you are or exactly what you want to be or do right now."

Reflecting on her encounters with young people from around the world, Obama says she often hears from young women, even those in their 30s, "who feel like somehow they should know the answers to all of these fundamental questions now."

"You might feel like once you're grown that you're supposed to have all the answers and that there's a point in your life where you will feel settled and everything will feel certain and all of those anxieties will just fade away," she says. But as a 57-year-old mom of two, Obama says most women her age or older "chuckle" at the idea that you'll one day wake up and have it all figured out.

"The process of becoming yourself doesn't work that way," she adds. "Because, as I've always said, the process of becoming isn't finite."

In the young readers' edition, release on March 2, there will be "a special introduction for kids written by the author, and three full-color photo inserts," according to the book's website. The paperback version, released on the same day, will also feature a new introduction written by Obama as well as a letter that she wrote to her younger self.

"My promise to you is to give you my story in all its messy glory," she said in a social media video earlier this week. "From the time I struggled on a question in front of my kindergarten class, to my first kiss and the insecurities I felt growing up, to the chaos of a campaign trail and the strange experience of shaking hands with the Queen of England."

The former first lady continued by saying she hopes her book will inspire young people to also think about their own story and life journey "because it's the most beautiful gift you'll ever have."

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