So here's what you get with me: some peanut butter powerballs, pretty felt boards, and then, wham! a rant'n rave.Â IÂ apologize in advance. Feel free to pass over this post.Â I probably should write this in my journal and not my blog, but whatever. It's my blog, I suppose. So welcome to my pity party. Maybe tomorrow I'llÂ write about something happy and artful.
Sometimes I feel like I'm just pretending in this world. I'm faking it at parenting (what do I know?!) andÂ faking it at life (again, what do I know?! a whole lot of nothing). I don't know who I am or what I'm supposed to be doing. I spend time at friends' homes and marvel at their kitchens. They're adults! With real food processors and knives that they know how to sharpen! Silly, right? But I feel like a kid on the outside looking in. I feel like everyone else is more intelligent and more with it. They have purpose. They know how things work. And me? I read books and cut out felt pieces and know what kind of job I don't want.
I've been reading books. Lots of them. And I love books. I can get lost in them. But even with all the lovely life-changing book recommendations you all gave me, I'm just thinking, can people really change? I'm thirty one. Maybe I just missed the life-changingÂ boat by a few years. Sometimes I think I'm a big optimist, but I'm not feeling like one right now. I'm feeling like a perpetual malcontent. And where's that going to get me?
What do I need? More books? Therapy? Faith? Poetry?Â Financial security?Â A job? Chocolate? A train trip? A glass of wine? A slap on the side of the face? All of the above? Maybe none of the above? Maybe just a different mindset?
Okay, so here are the books I've been reading in the past couple of months: Finding Your Own North Star, Soul Coaching, GiftÂ from the Sea, The Temple of My Familiar, The Power of Now, Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Positive Discipline for Preschoolers, Earthways, and The Best of American Travel Writing. And I have another stack waiting to be read.
My problem with self-help type books is that I'm not consistent about doing the exercises. I do some, but then either read through most of the book without doing them (thinking I'll go back and do them later) or stop reading at an exercise I need to do and then just never pick up the book again. Guilt trip! So anyway, I haven't finished reading all the above books. And I haven't gotten everything out of them that I could.
I loved GiftÂ from the Sea and The Temple of My Familiar (which I'm still reading – it's long!), but my favorite of the lot so far is The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. It's about a couple of misfits — an autodidact concierge and a super intelligent 12 year old. So fun and so good! I was sad to finish it.
Anyway, the book (probably one of the protagonists) listed three things worth living for: LOVE, FRIENDSHIP, and the BEAUTY OF ART. It's a good list but too distilled for me. So I wrote my own list headed up by the above, but also including some things that make me happy. Here it is:
Coffee and scones (my favorite is their coconut and dried cherry scone) at the West End Bakery with my family
Snuggling with Maia as she wakes up from her nap
Books! Browsing in bookstores and libraries with plenty of time and no agenda
And more books — reading book lists and reviewsÂ on Amazon
Fresh baked bread, toasted, with butter and honey
Flowers — in a vase or in a garden. I love flowers! Freesias are my favorite.
Poring over seed catalogs and planning a vegetable garden when it's still cold outside. The garden is still perfect then and full of potential and not nearly as much work.
A ridge hike on a clear day — feeling on top of the world, like I can fly!
Really good chocolate truffles. Or a chocolate caramel combo. Or justÂ chocolate. I know a lot of people are into dark chocolate and it's supposed to be a lot healthier for you but I'm a milk chocolate kind of person. I like creamy, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate.
A bento box lunch of teriyaki salmon and tempuraÂ from a good Japanese place, andÂ especially the perfect miso soup that precedes it
Daydreaming about hopping a train with a suitcase full of books, chocolate, notebooks, and rollerball pens
AÂ bottle of wine andÂ conversationÂ shared with a good friend
Everything I haven't learned but would like to
My favorite authors: Banana Yoshimoto and Barbara Kingsolver
New art supplies! oil pastels, paints, papers, crayons, colored pencils…
A stack of empty notebooks waiting to be filled with ramblings, ideas, lists
The pine-y smell of a fresh cut Christmas tree when it's newly strung with lights
Other winter joys: candlelight, hot tea, bowls of tangerines, Â hot showers, paperwhites
Colors. And the gift of sight. Of all the senses it's the most precious to me.
Rereading favorite books from childhood: The Secret Garden, Jane Eyre, A Story Like the Wind
And probably lots more… At least this post didn't turn out to be all negative.
So what's on your list?