Dover Air Force Base captain offers ‘Life Revelations’ in new book

DOVER — When Sarah Bergstein was growing up it didn’t matter if she had just aced a math exam, had a fight with a classmate, or whatever life threw at her — positively or negatively — she could always count on her mother’s succinct response, “Such is life.”

That phrase helped shape Ms. Bergstein’s consistently hopeful responses to many issues throughout her life, and

Sarah Bergstein holds her new book titled “Such Is Life” in front of the Dover Public Library Thursday morning. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

ultimately, became the name of her first book, “Such is Life: 29 Life Revelations from a 30-Year-Old Dreamer.”

Ms. Bergstein, former public affairs director at Dover Air Force Base who is now serving as a captain in the Air Force Reserves with the 512th Airlift Wing Maintenance Group, will be celebrating the release of her book on Oct. 16, which is her 30th birthday — by no means a coincidence.

She said the idea to write a book was formed in her freshman year as a student at Temple University. Her mother, Sharon Bergstein, wanted her to share her experiences with others considering so much had happened with her family and her life.

“She said you really should write a book about your experiences so that girls that are your age who might be struggling or who might be going through similar hard things in their life can relate to you and not feel so alone,” Ms. Bergstein said “I loved the idea. I thought it was an awesome idea.

“I was totally for it and I went back to my college laptop and sat down and jammed out the title ‘Such is Life.’ It’s a phrase that my mom has said growing up our entire lives. Something good or bad would happen and she would just shrug her shoulders and go, ‘Hmm. Such is life.’”

Writing a book all started out so easily for Ms. Bergstein. However, she soon began to question herself.

“I wrote the title ‘Such is Life’ and started working on some draft chapters in the book and thought about what I wanted to say and I outlined it and put a bunch of things in there that I thought would all be good stories to tell,” she said.

“Then along the way I thought, ‘Who am I? I’m in my 20s. I have a very small following online, who would want to read about my life anyway?’ So what I did was I put that idea off, but I told myself at the time that before I’m 30 years old, I want to publish a book. That will be a life goal.”

Mission accomplished

It turned out that 2017 would become the year that Ms. Bergstein finally became a published author.

Writing a book also kind of fit in perfectly with so many other things that have been changing in Ms. Bergstein’s life this year — plus she was up against her own self-imposed deadline.

“I looked at the calendar and I saw that I was turning 30 years old, but also at the time, I was transforming from active duty in the Air Force into the reserves, and taking my (online health coach) business full-time,” she said. “As I sat down I was kind of taking stock of my life up to this point. What do I know? Who am I? What have I been through? What makes me who I am?

“Part of taking stock of that was thinking back to all of these lessons that I’ve learned. That process proved to me

WHERE TO BUY
Local author Sarah Bergstein’s book “Such is Life” is available to be purchased on Amazon.com. It will also be available in both print and Kindle versions. Readers do not need a Kindle reader in order to read a Kindle book. They can just download the app.
Both the print version and Kindle will be available on Oct. 16. Learn more and connect with Sarah Bergstein by visiting her website at www.sarahbergstein.com.

that it’s worthwhile to share my story.”

Of course, Ms. Bergstein’s favorite life lesson in the book is being able to look at things in “Such is life” fashion.

It even proved valuable after she finally committed to finishing the book last April.

“The title of the book is ‘Such is Life,’ so you can bet that that’s one of the lessons in the book,” said Ms. Bergstein.

“That happens to be one of my favorites because all along this process there have been hiccups with the book between getting it formatted, to getting it done in a certain time frame, to making sure that all of the things that needed to go into it happened exactly the way that I had envisioned them.

“A lot of those things did not happen along the way, did not go as planned, just like life never does. So you just kind of throw your hands up and just like my mom would say, ‘Such is Life.’”

She also shared another of her favorite 29 life lessons.

“My other favorite lesson from the book is ‘One day at a time,’” she said. “I think that life is really great but it’s also very hard and the best thing we can do is kind of take a deep breath and take it one day at a time and go from there.”

Ms. Bergstein said that advice — and a special little boost from her mom — actually helped her finish her decade-long process of writing her book.

Then-Second Lt. Sarah Bergstein joins children from Cacutud Elementary school near Basa, Philippines in 2012. Ms. Bergstein was there as part of Pacific Unity 12-6, during which airmen from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickham joined with their counterparts in the Philippine air force as well as local contractors to renovate and help build a school. (U.S. Air Force photo)

A little push from Mom

“I called my mom (earlier this year) and I told her ‘I’m thinking about maybe not doing it. I don’t know if I have enough time, I don’t know if I can make the goal, I don’t know if I can do it,’” said Ms. Bergstein. “

She said, ‘Sarah, for the past decade almost, you’ve been thinking about this book and wanting to share your stories and write this book. You need to sit down and do it.’”

Ms. Bergstein elected to take her mother’s advice to heart and started to recall all of those lessons she has learned throughout her life, whether they came from family, friends, work, school or whatever.

Then she opened that laptop up one more time and it all came together — almost magically.

“Fast forward to today and that idea that I had all those years ago, almost a decade, has now become ‘Such is Life,’ and it’s full of 29 life lessons I’ve learned along the way that are relatable to anybody,” she said. “It talks about a number of things, from love, to fear, to success, to failure, to career, to family and all of the above. I think there’s a chapter in there for everybody.

“It helps that I’m telling the story of my life, so it’s not a hard story to tell because it doesn’t require research, it doesn’t require other people … really, it’s just me telling my story.”

Perseverance pays off

Another lesson Ms. Bergstein learned in getting her first book published was perseverance.

While she earned her journalism and political science degrees from Temple University in Philadelphia and was a public affairs officer with the Air Force, communications wasn’t something that always came naturally to her.

“It’s funny because in the beginning when I became a journalism major, I was a terrible writer,” she said. “I was also a horrible public speaker. So going into that career path was almost funny at the time because it was like, ‘This is totally not you, it doesn’t even fit.’

“Along the way, that passion for communications, the media, journalism, and really all things communication, just became what’s now my livelihood. From my career in the Air Force, I’ve also transitioned into being an entrepreneur and creating my own business, and it’s been quite a journey.”

And, on her 30th birthday on Oct. 16, she will be able to check off “published author” from her list.

Such is life.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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