If we’re being completely honest, I’ve had a terrible reading year and a pretty lousy year in general. I’ve found that when things don’t go the way I’d hoped, it helps to analyze why exactly things happened the way they did. So, I’ll lay out some of the reasons why I had a not-so-stellar reading year.
- Changing & hating jobs – I had the worst year of jobs I’ve ever had, due mostly to my most recent hellish 6-month-long employment. Being miserable and bored and anxious at work, which turned into being anxious and unhappy after work, did not provide an ideal situation for burning through my TBR. I’m thankful that awful job is behind me and I hope that I’ll be able to recognize red flags for future jobs.
- Prioritizing stupid things – I got into the really bad habit of almost always choosing Netflix, or equally mindless pursuits, over reading. It’s not that I think watching TV is always bad, because it’s not. (After all, I’m watching Buffy for the first time and loving it.) But I’ll never get through all the books I want to if I choose watching a TV show over reading 90% of the time.
- Politics – Oh hot damn, this took up way too much of my brain space this year. I studied political science in college, so of course politics will always interest me, but my constant need for updates regarding the appalling election season was borderline masochistic. Then the election happened. This added up to my watching the news way too often, stressing about the future of the world, and reading countless articles rather than books.
- Not knowing what to read – Usually my to-read list at any particular moment is much more focused than it has been all year. For some reason, I just couldn’t narrow down what I actually wanted to read. I would read something, get through it, not be particularly riveted by it, and then have a hard time committing to my next book. I have about a dozen partially read books that I’m not sure if/when I’ll finish.
- Getting behind – This is one of those self-fulfilling prophecies. I would know I was behind in my reading, watching my Goodreads catch-up number get bigger and bigger, and would say “what’s the point? I’m already behind.” Well, this is just dumb. I could have easily narrowed the gap at any given time during the year, but I never did. I have a love-hate relationship with specific goals.
Those are some of the reasons why my reading hasn’t been so great this year, and I’ll be thinking of ways to improve in 2017.
Have you had a good reading year? Let me know! I’d love to hear what things you’ve been struggling with and what’s helped you get past them.
xx bits of prose and whimsy
So, my whole blog-more-in-2015 goal didn’t happen at all… (unless you count my tumblr, which we won’t.) I’ll definitely be blogging more consistently in the months to come!
A huge part of my year was figuring out what my post-grad life was going to look like. It’s a major shift after graduating college and getting out into the work force. I was intimidated and confused about what exactly to do. Finding jobs and working inevitably became a major part of my personal growth.
A few months into the year, I got a retail job at the mall. This experience taught me a few things:
- People can be wonderful, coworkers and customers alike.
- Management can be really, really terrible and make everyone hate coming to work.
- Retail is exhausting, especially for introverts. But it does get easier!
- Liking who you work with is super duper important.
- Being overqualified for a job will eventually become frustrating.
- It’s pretty awesome to meet and make friends with people you never would have met otherwise.
- Some customers will be rude no matter what you do. Just be as friendly as necessary, then vent to your coworkers and laugh off the experience.
In August, I quit my retail job and began working for an early literacy program in elementary schools. It definitely has its ups and downs, but at least it feels rewarding the majority of the time. I’ve learned a lot from this job as well:
- There are a lot of kind people out there who will brighten your day.
- Listening and talking through people’s concerns is really important.
- Helping kids learn to read can sometimes be frustrating, but it’s exciting and rewarding to see their progress.
- Some days kids will be crazy, but most days they’re really sweet. They’re also hilarious.
- It’s crucial to be verbally recognized for your strengths and accomplishments. Feeling under-appreciated will only make you bitter and frustrated.
- Your coworkers can become some of your closest friends.
- There isn’t a direct career path. Some meandering is healthy and valuable.
- Planning for the future will likely make you more content in the present.
This year has been a transitional one, and it’s definitely had its high and low points, but through them I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I want. ‘Adulting’ will continue to be a process, but that’s okay. Every young adult that I know feels the same way about adulthood, but I think we’re all still having some fun despite it all. It’s a wild ride, but I’m pretty happy with all the changes that I’ve made this year.
Thanks for reading my bits of prose and whimsy! x
Look for my next post, which will be about my top books of the year! 🙂
Risks are sort of terrifying.
A few nights ago, I went out for drinks with a college friend who is about to jet off to Argentina to teach English for 8 months. She’s the type who’s traveled all over–by herself! She absolutely loves to travel, having already gone to South America several times. It’s stuff like this that makes me envious of people and their risk-taking ways.
My friend and I have very similar personalities. We’re both emotional and somewhat reserved, but are generally in good spirits. I mentioned to her that I wish I was better at taking risks. This is one of my greatest weaknesses, and it always has been.
Then she told me that when she travels for long periods of time, the transition is difficult. She always cries and has a period of adjustment. It’s easy to assume, at least for me, that the people who are out there doing the cool stuff and racking up these awesome life experiences are able to breeze through these decisions and through every step of the process. That they easily go with the flow of everything that comes their way. And perhaps this is sometimes true. But it’s important to remember that everyone has reservations about new experiences, and that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try our hardest to make them happen.
Adulthood is all about taking risks, and I really ought to take more of them.
“Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody.” – Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
This quote is especially relevant when you reach your early 20s. It’s a time of instability. It’s a time of moving and growing and giving in and letting go. It’s a time when it’s not just you who’s doing this. All of your friends are, too. The people you went to college with are discovering what makes them happy and, hopefully, are getting out there and doing what they love.
It’s easy to feel sad about all these changes. I’d say that I’m naturally resistant to change. I enjoy the idea of it, but not the actual process. When the moment of change approaches, panic and fear set in. I cling onto what is familiar until I have to let go. It isn’t all at once, though. Pieces of my life change until it feels so much different than before.
But it’s just something everyone has to deal with, and I’d better get used to it.