Tag Archives: drinking

Where I Keep My Books

In the bookshelf…

… of course! This is where they live. I sit across from the bookshelf when I’m working on the computer, and glancing up to see a shrine to all of my favorites makes me really happy. The bookshelf occupies the very center of my small living space. Everything I do revolves around it.

On the nightstand…

… because reading before bed is important to me. I’m a little more choosy about the books I keep here since I will retain the information a little better right before going to sleep.

On my Kindle…

… which basically lives in the bathroom now. Did I buy an expensive Kindle just because it is waterproof and lets me read in the bath without fear? Maybe.

On my phone…

… for when I have an impulse to use my phone as a social crutch, or I’m waiting in line, or standing in front of the microwave, or I forgot to pack a physical book. I get library e-books on my phone through Libby!

In my backpack…

… since we can’t have devices at work, I keep a physical book with me. I get a ton of reading done on deployment by keeping a book in my backpack and pulling it out during down times.

On the ottoman…

… for when I’m frustrated with dying so many times in Celeste and need a brain break.

The idea is to have something always within reach.

When idle, when the impulse to do something strikes, it becomes very easy to choose to do some reading when a book is right in front of me, priming a positive behavior that I want to keep as a habit. It might just be a few pages here and there, but they add up in the long run; this technique helps me read, on average, a book a week!

Am I always reading this many books at one time? As a general rule, I’ll have a book on my phone, a book on the Kindle, a library book which travels around with me, and an owned book which stays in the house. I don’t discriminate between audiobooks and graphic novels, either – it all counts!

If you’re interested in adding more reading to your life, I recommend this excellent post by author and podcaster Mallory O’Meara: My Philosophy on Life; or How I Read So Many Goddamn Books. In short, if something’s important to you, you’ll find little ways to incorporate more of it into your life. For some, it might be exercising, or crocheting, or drawing. For me, it’s reading. (Someday, I hope it will be writing, too, but that’s for another post.)

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WHY I STAY IN

I titled this post deliberately. It’s not “Why I Don’t Go Out,” because I do go out occasionally. It can be really fun. That’s why everyone does it. But, given the choice between staying in and going out, nine times out of ten I’m going to choose to stay in, even on Friday and Saturday nights. Here is why.

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Either my circle of friends is aging or it’s becoming more socially acceptable to stay in on a Friday night and watch Netflix. When I was younger, that would have mortified me: “People are going to think I have no life!” Getting out of the house felt like a moral imperative. You spent a long time getting ready – clothes, shoes, hair, makeup, probably changing clothes again. You pregamed. At least once or twice a week, you went out. Then you came back (or didn’t) and slept in the next day.

For a while, it was great. In college. Again, in Pensacola. Again, when I came to Japan. I especially loved the opportunity to meet new people. But, months later, I realized I was forcing myself to go out. I wasn’t enjoying it like I used to. My nice jacket started smelling like cigarettes. I wondered how many unnecessary calories I was putting into my body via alcohol. Most of all, I was tired and bored. It was the same bars, the same people, the same songs. It was starting to get dull and predictable. So I stopped going out every weekend. Then I stopped going out more or less all together.

There are still folks who are kind enough to invite me out with them (thank you!), and I always feel hugely guilty when I say no. But the truth is that there are so many things I’d rather be doing instead of partying. When I’m looking forward to getting off of work, for example, what I’m actually anticipating is having time to do something like:

  • Working out
  • Exploring
  • Talking to friends and family back home
  • Doing something creative (writing, making videos)
  • Internet
  • Reading
  • Playing (video) games
  • Sleeping

I don’t see “getting drunk” or “partying” in there. It’s not because I think they’re bad and I abhor them; it’s because I recognize that my free time is precious and limited and I want to spend it in ways that make me happy. And, lately, going out does not make me happy.

I’m an introvert. I love and care deeply for other people, but interacting with them drains me, perhaps precisely because I’m so emotionally invested in them. I’m happiest when I’m totally alone. In solitude is when I feel most at ease, and doing things by myself is how I unwind after work and obligations. If this seems weird to you, think of it this way: the feeling you get when you go out with your friends is the same feeling I get when I’m in bed with a book. We have different methods but the result is identical.

So let’s not judge the “losers” who don’t go out every weekend. Not everyone derives joy from the same source, but we’re all pursuing the same thing: relaxing and having fun. Some get it from TV, some get it from partying, some get it from spending time with their families. If you like going out, maybe I’ll see you out there sometime. In the meantime, you know where to find me.

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