Rediscovering the Wonders Within Books

There is nothing so magical as a good book.  

There is nothing so magical as a good book.

When I was a kid, I remember going to a small library near my elementary school a few days in the week after school.  It was quiet and bright space, with no more than three small rooms full of books, with one room dedicated to children’s and teen books.

My brothers and I would scan all of the shelves and baskets in that room and each borrow a few books with our own library cards.  I remember that I loved reading Amelia Bedelia books and the Amelia’s Notebook series.  I must have had a thing for the name.  Or looked in the same section all the time.

This was a time in my life when I started to really latch onto certain books and types of stories.  I loved fantasy books and reading about other worlds.  Wherever I went, I would bring a book with me.  I would read at the dinner table, read in the car on the way to a party, or read in between my classes in middle school.  All of my copies of the Harry Potter books are worn out due to this.

My poor, taped-up copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone went with me to all places, including to Europe.  

My poor, taped-up copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone went with me to all places, including to Europe.

I don’t know if it was an exactly healthy habit.  Of course, reading is seen as a good, smart thing to be doing because it expands the mind and increases vocabulary and all of that.  However, I feel as though books were a way to close myself off from the world. From high school to college, I started reading less – more because I started watching television, having a social life, and because homework required me to read certain books. During this post-grad time, reading now has a new meaning for me.

While I still love fictitious stories and worlds,  I find that I am also interested in reading about the real world. For example, the last time I went to the library, I picked out a couple of books about photography.  I’ve always liked taking pictures, but what makes photography an art form?  Reading about how certain artists saw the medium will help me understand it.

I guess it may sound like I’m trying to be an expert at something, but it comes down to this difference: I don’t have to become an expert on Ansel Adams – I can read about and look at his works for the sake of learning about photography.  And if for some reason I don’t enjoy it or connect with, I can move on to something else without consequence.

So as of now, I am enjoying my reading time and exploring the world/s within these books, with the hope that it will eventually expand my own reality as well.

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Checklist for 2013

2014 is just around the corner! I feel as though September through November just came and went.  It is hard to believe that just a few months ago, I had just moved back home and had started my job hunt.

For the past few years at around this time of year, I have always had a clear objective for the next year: do well in school and maintain a balanced college life.  Right now, after the first “semester” of no school and no extracurricular activities for me, I have time to reflect on the past year and on certain goals that I haven’t achieved yet or want to achieve in 2014 (outside of crazy Christmas shopping and celebrations).

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The typical weekly schedule and checklist during my school days. Balanced? Ehh… Crazy? Of course.

As I think about everything that I’ve done this year, naturally, what comes up is what I haven’t done.  Specifically, I think about different items on my various reminder lists on my phone and different things I have been thinking of doing all year round but never got a chance to.

1. Open up an IRA (Individual Retirement Account)

For the past few months, I’ve been living on a new budget.  I’ve been saving half of my earning and then allocating the rest into different things I want to save up for – either spending money, food money, money for a trip I’m planning on taking… etc.  It’s been going well so far and I’ve been able to save up and stay within my budget.  Of course, the holidays are taking a toll on my savings, but I’ll just have to start saving hardcore when 2014 rolls around.  Along with saving up spending money and such, I’ve also been saving money to put into an IRA.  I’ve been debating which kind of IRA to do, even though I’m pretty sure I’m going to go with a Roth IRA and I have people who can help me decide.  But it’s something I’ve been procrastinating on and want to get done this week.

2. Schedule a doctor’s appointment

I had always had a doctor around (my dad) and I never got in the habit of getting a regular check-up because I never really needed one.  Being on my own in a sense in college made me realize that there are some things that I can’t really ask my dad about or want to (i.e. vaginal health, etc.) and that I should start getting regular check-ups.  I think in September I asked my dad who is a good doctor to go to and he gave me a name but I never called the office.  I probably won’t be able to go until January, but just getting it scheduled is all I want to do.

3. Finish my book

When I was in school, one of the things that I really wanted to do was read for pleasure.  Now that I’m done with it, I have read 2 books so far, The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont and Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer.  I remember reading at a faster pace than 2 months per book when I was younger and of course, there were much less distractions like Netflix and Facebook to keep me from reading.  I am currently reading The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards and am making it a goal to finish it with these next 2 weeks left in 2013.

So there’s the list of goals I have for the rest of 2013! While these goals aren’t really life-changing, I feel like they’ll propel me into a healthier, more financially conscious, and well-read new year.

Asides from that, it always feels nice to check something off of your list.

Let me know if there’s anything you want to get done before 2013 is over and thanks for reading!