What I Read: March 2017

Since I’m going to read 52 books this year (fact!) I’ve been reading like crazy trying to stay on track and I figured I’d share some progress here. In the month of March, I read four books!

  1. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
  2. You Are the Universe by Deepak Chopra
  3. Becoming a Professional Life Coach by Diane Menendez
  4. Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

My favorite book this month was Present Over Perfect. It opened my eyes to a lot of ways I’ve been alive but not living. I’m not religious in any way (hi, heathen here) so I skimmed over those parts, but I was really moved by Shauna’s overarching message: slow down, simplify, and connect.

Notable quote: “The very thing that makes you you, that makes you great, that makes you different from everyone else, is also the thing that, unchecked, will ruin you.”

You Are the Universe was very much over my head in a lot of ways, but there were a few occasional nuggets of good insight, and a small existential crisis or two.

Notable quote: “Nothing is real to us until we perceive it.”

Becoming a Professional Life Coach was me dipping my toes into the idea of life coaching and deciding that ultimately it’s not for me. What it did do was affirm for me how very much advising undeclared/exploratory students calls to me.

Notable quote: When we choose work or a way of life that is not fulfilling, it is because we have lost sight of our purpose. We become human doings instead of human beings.

Difficult Women was the first set of short stories I’ve read since college. I don’t generally read short fiction because it frustrates me (“That’s it? I want moooooore.”) but I thoroughly enjoyed a lot of these stories. It definitely has a lot of dark subject matter, and a lot of thought provoking perspectives from a diverse group of female protagonists.

Tell me! What have you been reading lately? What should I put on my TBR list? Here’s a link to my Goodreads profile of you want to connect over there ๐Ÿค— 

Socks

I threw away all the socks I don’t wear the other day and they were all zebra stripes and hot pink and lively. I’m not a crazy socks kind of person. When I buy patterned colorful socks, I wear them occasionally and even then only begrudgingly.

I wear the same five or six pieces of jewelry over and over again. I gravitate toward black, navy, and neutral earth tones. I own about 20 v-neck t shirts and if you gave me a choice, I’d pick denim and a t-shirt over couture any day. Variety is not the spice of my life. I like routine. Too many choices fatigues me.

The patterned socks? They are everything I always feel like I need to be. Fun, colorful, full of excitement. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not quintessentially fun, colorful, or full of excitement. I *can* be all of those things, but they aren’t my M.O. I don’t enter a room and exude color. I’m quiet; like a sponge. I like to listen and observe, and if I’m not paying attention I will unwittingly take on other people’s energy. I’m often happiest alone with a book in the park, soaking up the sun. I don’t live to be the center of attention. So? I’ll stick to what I truly like and stop buying the things that make me feel like I’m trying to be someone else. And that starts with the crazy socks. 

Imperfection is Part of the Art

If you look back at pictures of me in college, you’ll notice that I almost always had my nails painted. I used to spend two hours at a time giving myself a manicure just like you get at the salon.

I’ve probably painted my nails  five times in the past five years. There are a bunch of reasons for that, but the most troubling and prevailing reason I don’t paint my nails anymore is because I often don’t have two hours to spend doing nothing with my hands, applying coats and waiting for them to dry. So I resign to doing nothing, despite the desire to have my nails painted.

I realized last night that my perfectionism is seeping into the most mundane things in my life.

I do not paint my nails anymore because if I can’t do it correctly and perfectly, I will not do it at all.

I am so blindly type A that I will not paint my nails if I can not do it exactly like I want to. Like it will somehow mean something if I *gasp* apply one coat of polish to a bare nail.

*insert eye roll here*

I’ve been slowly realizing how often I get the urge to do something perfectly, and how often I painstakingly follow through with that urge. Or, I know that I cannot do it perfectly and decide not to do it at all because if you can’t do it right, you have no business doing it at all.

That kind of thinking should really be reserved for people making precise, life and death movements. You know, like surgeons or rocket scientists, or the bomb squad. Me? The most life and death I get is getting behind the wheel of a car or chopping vegetables with a very sharp knife.

I do not need to stay so tightly wound. I do not need to exist in a purely perfect state of being. In fact, that’s impossible. So the illusion I’ve been keeping up of needing to do everything perfectly is a joke I’ve been playing on myself for years.

I made a vision board for 2017 and one of my favorite sentences I pieced together reads, “Imperfection is part of the art.” If you want to create something or do something you haven’t done before, you can’t be afraid of a little imperfection.

Here’s to one coat manicures, crooked lines, and asymmetrical pieces.

This is my secret, and I’m setting it free

What youโ€™re about to read is a piece of my story that Iโ€™ve kept to myself for a very long time. George Orwell said, โ€œIf you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.โ€ I hid this secret from myself for a very long time. Once it was no longer a secret I kept from myself, I gradually realized that I couldnโ€™t keep it at all.

I believe that thereโ€™s great power in telling our secrets and sharing the parts of our stories that are not dreamlike and perfect. Keeping this secret is no longer serving me, and I know with every fiber of my being that telling this secret is the only way to be rid of it.

Continue reading

2017

Now that I’ve taken time to reflect back on 2016, it’s time to look ahead. If I think about my goals for 2016, they were a bit too lofty. So in the name of practicality, I’m keeping it simple this year.

  • Read 52 books. This is totally doable for me. HERE WE GO. Tell me what books you loved reading recently.
  • Practice gratitude. I always talk about this but I struggle with it so. I’m starting out with one thing a day, and if I have more, so be it.
  • Meditate. I go hot and cold with meditating, it’s true. But I do find great value in it. I’m starting with 10 minutes a day.
  • Write a book. My book on underemployment to be exact. I’ve already pitched the idea to an agent, so we’ll see if it has legs after I submit my proposal. *eeeeeeeeek*
  • Fitness. I truly don’t enjoy exercise. I’m lazy or… whatever. But I also know that it’s good for you and ultimately gets your creative juices flowing, helps you live longer, and is overall a decent idea for anyone who would like to thrive in life. Soooo… any ideas welcome.
  • Dabble in creativity. This is another thing that’s good for your brain and overall well being. As long as I can remember that it does not need to be perfect, whatever it is. I keep talking about water color painting. Maybe it’s finally time to take a stab at it!
  • Send more snail mail. I like to get real mail and send real mail. I’m slightly obsessed with fun stamps… Send me your address! I pinky promise not to sell your information or stalk you or any off the wall thing like that :)

What are you doing this year? Anything good?