Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Do you like living alone?

Indeed I do.

The end.

Okay, not really. But I couldn't figure out what else to put in this post because I didn't know what exactly it was that I really like about living alone. 

I didn't know till last night.

I mean, I realized pretty early on that it was nice to not have to do my dishes if I was in a hurry and it was great to be able to decorate in my personal style and maybe best of all that it was wonderful to have the option to be alone after a long day at work.

But as it turns out, my anti-social tendencies are only part of the equation. For me it all comes down to one thing: control. That's what I realized last night.

When you live alone you have total control over your environment. You get to decide everything from what's in the freezer to whether or not you'll own a television and how much you're going to pay for bed sheets. 

And it's AWESOME! I finally kinda sorta feel like a real grown up. Maybe.

Anyway, the encouraging part about this realization is that I know now that I won't have to live alone forever. 

I was a little worried that I'd get so into it I'd never want to share a house again. Not even when I (theoretically) get married someday. Assuming that ever happens. I mean, nobody wants to marry a girl who won't even live in the same house as him. Unless you're like a king or something and you're giving your queen her own summer palace. Pretty sure that happened a few times in history. But I think it was usually a ploy to get the queen out of the way so that the king could carry on with his rapscallion ways. Although... I might be willing to put up with a little bit of that if it meant getting my own castle. Still not ideal though.

So you can imagine why I was worried. I didn't want to be so happy living alone that I lost all motivation to ever cohabitate again.

That's why I'm so happy to report that I'm not nearly as anti-social as I used to think. I used to crave my me time. All the time. Because I never really got it. Growing up as the oldest of seven, the times when you had the house to yourself were rarer than the times you actually got the biggest cookie on the plate.

But it turns out I can get my fill of being alone. I'm not saying I'm lonely now. I'm not. And I always have the option to go out and be friends with people. But I'm pleased to find I'm not as much of a hermit as I always suspected.

If it's more about being in control than being actually alone, that's great. Now all I have to do is find someone who will always and without fail let me have things exactly my own way.


That's not much better is it?

Hm... Well, that's a battle for another day.

Besides, it's not like I'm totally inflexible. I will gladly compromise.

Just as long as I get a castle out of it.

I'm kidding. Mostly.

The end. (For reals this time.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What do you hoard?

Oh my gosh, guys. There is something so wrong with me.

Evidence: Now that I've got my own apartment and I'm living alone for the first time in my life, I decided it would be a good time to gather all of the stuff I've accumulated in my past 29.5 years of life, stick it all in one place, sort through it, and purge.

I love the idea of simplifying. But that's just the idea. Turns out the actual process is less fun.

And you find out some weird stuff about yourself as you're doing it.

For example, who knew that what I hoard is not clothes or shoes or little collectible figurines. Nope. I hoard stuff I've written.

How narcissistic is that?

It's like I'm subconsciously imagining that one day someone will actually want to sort through my "papers." My conscious self knows that no one will ever again be interested in how I did on a ninth grade timed essay. Not even me. Except maybe as a curiosity to pick up in another 29.5 years. But somehow I still can't let it go.

Because the thing is, it's not just a grade on an essay. I've left a little of myself in every scrap of paper and blot of ink I've ever written on or with or whatever. Of course, not all of my writing is good. Most of it, especially the high school stuff, is terrible. I feel so sorry for my English teachers over the years.

(Side note: How do English teachers keep reading essays and not become violent? Or maybe they do?)

Anyway, that's what I hoard: papers. Good. Bad. Ugly. I've got them all.

But it's not just essays. I've got notebooks from most of the classes I've ever taken. I've got organizers and college assignments I never really finished. I've got letters and journals galore, as Ariel might sing.

And I've got this thing that I call my writer's file, which grows anytime I have an idea that I think I might want to write about someday. I jot down the gist of the thing, write "Writer's File" on the top, and promptly forget all about it. I don't actually file this stuff. That would be way too logical. My writer's file is a nebulous, incorporeal thing amidst all my other non-important writings, like to-do lists and doodles and notes from whatever lecture I was supposed to be listening to at the time.

Ugh. It's a mess.

All I have to say is: thank goodness for Gmail and its lovely search capabilities. Writing myself emails hasn't completely stopped my obsession with writing to myself on paper. But at least it's helped. And having an archive for things like my nebulous writer's file is a definite plus.

What I should really do is scan all these papers that I think I can't live without. That way, while they won't be searchable exactly, I'll at least have a way of preserving my teenage handwriting. And I can eliminate some of the several boxes of notebooks, papers, and whatnot that are living in my closet.

But there are so many accumulated documents that even scanning seems daunting. Sigh.

On the bright side, I did come up with one criterion for eliminating some of those school papers. If I got less than 80 percent on the assignment, I toss it out. I mean, why keep all that negativity around? Plus, this way if someone ever does decide to study my "papers" because I really do become that rich or famous, I can just let them think that I never got less than a B on any of my assignments. And there will be nothing to prove otherwise.

Now comes the real question: To scan or not to scan?

I think I'd better go back to high school English and brush up on my Hamlet...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Who has two thumbs and finally got internet?

This girl!!!!!!!!!!!

In case you haven't been following the drama of my life without the internet (likely), I'll now offer this quick recap:

1. I moved to a new apartment
2. All of my utilities were paid for.
3. Except the internet
4. I procrastinated getting it because:
5. I got curious about what my life would be like without it.
6. Turns out it was good but sometimes bad and ultimately an unsustainable way of life.
7. I sucked it up and called Comcast.

Ultimately, I'm super glad I took a break from all internet all the time. Granted, I still had access at work and data on my phone for emergencies. But I really cut down on the amount of free time I spent online. And frankly, it was eye-opening.

Here are a few things I learned:
- Facebook is so unnecessary. Fun. But not essential.
- Listening to the radio is really underrated. You can get all kinds of information and entertainment from that medium. And it's completely free. It's awesome.
- It's very hard to work from home using only the data on your phone. Especially when that data is limited to 300 MB/month.
- Springville's library is AMAZING.

Which brings me to the real purpose of this post. In the dark ages of last week or yesterday or twenty minutes ago, before I had internet, I spent a LOT of time reading. I think I read more books in the past month than I have in the past year. Honestly, maybe even two years.

But it was so much fun!!

Here's what I read. (And what I thought about what I read, obviously. What's the point of a book list without semi-snarky commentary?)

Boy Meets Girl

by Meg Cabot

Call me controversial, but I love Meg Cabot. Yes, her plots are entirely predictable. You often feel as if you're reading the same story over and over again. But I don't see anything wrong with that if it's a good story. And it is. It really is.

Plus this was a cool book because it's epistolary. And not just letters. You get emails, voicemails, notes, journal entries, receipts. All kinds of fun stuff. I'm a sucker for epistolary novels. Have I mentioned that yet?


A Brief History of Montmaray
The FitzOsbornes in Exile

The FitzOsbornes at War

by Michelle Cooper

These were soooo good! I got completely lost in them. Tad bit depressing at times. And a few adult themes. But mostly I just loved all the history. I don't know why I don't read more historical fiction these days. I used to love it as a teenager.

This first book was kind of what I wanted I Capture the Castle to be when I read that last Christmas. And the second two had an awesome Downton Abbey vibe.

I also loved that these were family fiction. In the sense that they revolve around an entire family with all its quirks and interpersonal dynamics. I'm big on books like that. Especially when they're done well.


Confessions of a Shopaholic

by Sophie Kinsella

I know I'm years late to the party on this one, but it was still fun. I'm not sure if I'll keep going with the series. But probably eventually. This one was extra fun because I checked out the audio version and listened to it at the same time as Colin Powell's book (see below). It made for a good mix. And you gotta love a good British accent on an audio book. Just makes your whole day better.


It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership

by Colin Powell

My dad loaned this to me for the drive back from California a few weeks ago. I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. Biggest lesson I learned: When you fail, own up to it quickly. Admit you're wrong and fix it as fast as you can. I'm not sure that was the real crux of the book, but that's what I most needed to hear, so that's what stuck for me.


by Veronica Roth

Guys, I'm in love. I'm sure it didn't help that I saw the movie first. (I don't normally do that, by the way.) But holy moley. I love Four! And Theo James. But mostly Four, whom I refuse to call Tobias because Four is just a way cooler name.

The rest of the book was relatively predictable. But still a fun, fast read.



by Ally Condie

This was a reread. I have to admit, even though I really liked these books the first time around, this one fell a little flat for me this time. Oh well.


Sisterhood Everlasting

by Ann Brashares

 I was so stoked when I saw this book at the library! It's the "conclusion" to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books.

Then I started reading it. I had totally forgotten Ann Brashares's unique ability to turn my entire world upside down and make me question everything from my career choices to my longest-running relationships. By the end, everything turned out okay. It's just that I felt like I got hit over the head with a sledgehammer halfway through the book. So it's probably a good thing that this is the "final" book in the series. (Even though I secretly hope she writes a sequel in about ten years.)


City of Ashes

by Cassandra Clare

Don't. Spoil. Anything!! I haven't finished this one yet but I'm kind of glad I got sucked/suckered into reading this series. It's been a long time since I read paranormal and at least this one is surprising me. Not necessarily high quality fiction, but I'm sure you can see from my reading list that I'm not so picky about that.

Anyway, I'm going to get back to reading now. But first, a little word of advice from a girl who only recently re-entered the current century: There are a lot of great things to do on the internet. But there are also some really great things to do offline. Don't forget that you always have the option to take a break and enjoy the real world.

I don't mean to preach. Just want to give you guys something to think about.