Ambitions.

I think Pinterest is both the best and worst social media platform created. On one hand, it makes me believe I have the potential to create beautiful, inexpensive rooms in my apartment, do 30-day exercise challenges and somehow transform my body into that of a Victoria’s Secret model, and bake the most elaborate, calorie-drenched desserts bar-none.

That being said, the best laid plans will go awry in the midst of believing we will just find that “one more pin” to make us satiated of our need to have the perfect wardrobe, the perfect crafts for your kids (or classroom full of kids, in my case), or the perfect beauty products.

Needless to say, I have 1,761 pins and 228 likes spanning across 39 boards. (Even more shameful now that I’ve typed this, rather than just embarrassingly avoiding looking at the growing tally on the top-left hand side of my profile) That being said, I try to delete those pins that I’ve clicked on, tried, and ultimately have been deemed Pinterest fails.

This past year, I’ve been trying to achieve more of a work-life balance, and not dedicate 100% of myself to finishing graduate school/starting my job, leaving exactly 0% for my own sanity and mental health. I think as a new grad, it’s difficult to realize that all of the years you’ve busted your tailbone to finally making money (instead of shelling out thousands of your own dollars each semester to the higher-ups) can feel as if you have something to prove by finally achieving that graduation milestone. At least for me, it seemed like I had to give 500% until I was finally getting that debt into a little more manageable sum.

Slowly, but surely, I’ve made sure to balance my personal interests with my career. Now that summer’s here and school’s out until mid-August, I’m glad I did make some time for me. I’ve had 3 days off so far (not including Saturday and Sunday), and it feels like a month. I hate having nothing to do. It eats me away from the inside, and I feel worthless. Coming off of 4 years in undergrad, and a year and half racing through grad school to finish early, each year more testing than the last. Granted, racing through grad school put me $5,000 less in debt than the already impressive $75,000 I owe, which has started prodding at my scanty bank account.

In January, I resolved to read more this year, which I have been attempting to document through the hashtag #currentread on Instagram. I was a bit successful at first, but lately, I’ve been picking up books that just haven’t been clicking for me. I’ll make it through about a chapter or two, at which point I’ll set the book down, and patiently let its three week due date tick away, day by day. Now, I’m not sure whether I’ve made an unconscious pact with myself that if I let that book sit on my nightstand, maybe I’ll pick it back up and finish it before the three weeks are up or whether I think that by returning the books early, I’ll be somehow shamed onto the librarians’ scornful blacklist of “Those Who Abandon Books” (because, of course, each librarian cares if you finish, let alone like, each book you ever borrow).

Okay, let me bring this post full-circle so I’m not just rambling on-and-on-and-on into one of my thought-tangents: I have a Pinterest board dedicated to Books, which (as you’ve probably assumed) has been marinating away in my slice of the Pinterest world. For some reason, today was THE DAY! in which I decided to be overly ambitious (or to me, just average-ly ambitious 😉 ) and make a master list of the book lists I’ve pinned, and write it on paper, so as not to be sent back off to Pinterest oblivion. I’ve even created my system of checking the books off: highlight means I started it, X means I finished it (because I mean, really, what else am I going to do with those 5,000 highlighters I accumulated in graduate school??). Needless to say, I have about 15 handwritten pages and about 30 typed pages (which I have yet to whittle through for duplicates) of books that I’ve been wanting to read, many of which are being turned into films this year (Looking at you, The Fault in Our Stars), and I cannot wait to start! I’m also feeling panicked about the vast number of online “top 10 must-read” lists that have recently become en Vogue this year (I can name 10 things I’d rather be doing than stumbling upon another 20 lists right now…)

I’m currently reading Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs. I’m a fan of his memoirs, and one of my favorites was Running with Scissors. The books can be a bit graphic at times, but if you’re able to look beyond that, I recommend his work. I just finished Dry., which was equally compelling. He’s like the GBF I never had that is brutally honest about his life, and whom I feel like I would get along with swimmingly. I, too, favor the brutally honest over the sugar-laced version of the truth.

I’m hoping to take a few of the novels to the beach near me, and also when I visit Cape May in July to see my sister. I’m (ambitiously) going to try to make it through 20 novels this summer. Game face.

My top 3 4 after Magical Thinking are:

1. TFIOS – without spoiling anything, I want to warn you to bring an ENTIRE box of tissues to the theatre. Also, I’m equally glad I saw the movie and angry with myself for not holding out until I read it. Ahh, spilt milk.

2. Maze Runner trilogy – okay, I realize this would mean 3 books within my #2, but the trailer played during TFIOS, and MAN!, this one looks good…in a I-read-the-Percy-Jackson-series-as-an-adult-and-I’m-not-ashamed-to-admit-it-so-that-gives-me-rights-to-young-adult-fiction kind of way.

3-4. Infinite Jest / The Blood of the Lamb – okay, so maaaybe I carefully went onto John Green’s answers about pressing questions from TFIOS and avoided all info save that about An Imperial Affliction which I was greatly intrigued by, and maaaybe the book-nerd within me is going to pore through these two while I patiently wait on Jacksonville Public Library’s list for TFIOS at reservation spot #101 (which is still an improvement from spot #150 two weeks ago, but still — WHAT.)

What’s on your summer reading list? Any suggestions to expand my ever-growing list?

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