Tome of the Month: The End

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It’s official: I’ve set a new world record in ineffectiveness and inconsistency. My plan to make Tome of the Month a regular feature hasn’t worked out. Yes, I know: after only two instalments.

My time management issue has not been solved. In fact, it’s getting worse. Before I get so distracted that I make a huge mistake at work, which might result in getting fired, or before I burn the breakfast milk (again), which will result in a revolting smell all around the house, I must take measures. I need to further downsize my 2015 reading list and not feel compelled to review every book I finish. My need to revert to a healthy, active lifestyle collides with sedentary hobbies and interests like reading and writing.

Moreover, I’ve realized lately that I lack some practical skills. There are vital things I should learn from my mother before she’s gone, such as gardening, making hand-made pasta and cooking “advanced” dishes like fish and rabbit chasseur. Also, I know I’ve delegated too many tasks to my husband (especially car-related ones), and they’re all things I’d better learn or re-learn. As long as I was single, I had gotten used to take care of myself quite well, but after he came into my life I’ve become lazy and let him take charge. Should anything happen to him, I’d find myself quite lost. Survival skills are certainly more important than writing skills!

This blogger was thrown in a natural environment out of the blue. He has obviously no clue what to do with all that grass. He’s lost, so he reverts to the screen.

It was exciting and reassuring to see that the writer in me still remembers how to hold a pen in her hand, after all these years of dumb office work. But I did a reality check, and had to admit blogging is not a priority. So I have to limit my activity here to poetry. I won’t stop posting book reviews and other things, but I will do that occasionally. Sadly, I can’t seriously commit to writing: trying to become an author means dedicating at least one hour a day to that goal, and I just can’t fit it into my schedule.

A rabbit stew. It doesn’t quite match my mother’s recipe, but it’s the closest I found to a rabbit chasseur.

As I realize my liberal arts background has brought me nowhere – and if it hasn’t done anything for me so far, it never will – I have come to see my education as a burden that weighs me down and as mental clutter, rather than a useful asset which might help me pursue a satisfactory career. It’s time to face the fact that I have failed to become an intellectual like in my childhood dreams, and took an ordinary job that pays the bills instead. No deep thinking required there. I must come to terms with it. I must finally let go of that chapter of my past, archive it and close the door, keeping a receptive attitude and be confident that new doors will open. Throwing several boxes of old textbooks and notes seals it.

So be it. I know this is the wisest thing to do right now.

Be Interesting

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Header image credits: funzug.com

That night we were celebrating New Year’s Eve at the dinner table, and you were telling us about your friend’s father who works in the show business. You were rattling on about in your usual bubbly way.

And then you said that sentence:

“He’s so interesting!”.

We meet once every three years on a good year, and still I have nothing to say. My goofy attempts to make my life look busy and positive don’t bring anything to the conversation.

You had the support of a positive family, which inflated you with self-esteem. I stagnated in a depressed atmosphere, which made me a underachiever. No one sat there to make sure I did my homework: mom and dad worked full-time, and had no clue anyway. Not that I needed it: I was clever and disciplined. Then came the time for decisions, and I never had a guide to help me take the right steps. My parents were uneducated and, socially, they lacked the right connections. They desperately wanted to help me, but they just didn’t have the tools. I had to make every personal choice by myself. And I probably did all wrong.

As you know I am a minion at a small firm. I spent most of my life studying, and teachers used to tell my mother I could do anything in life, but I had the misfortune to be born in a gerontocratic country where unemployment is hopeless, and to enter the job market at the dawn of a major financial crisis. More often than not, education doesn’t mean better employment here. I got my first job only thanks tot he fact that I pretended I was a college dropout. No wonder that I’m now stuck at a dead-end: rent needs to be paid, and in spite of my high-sounding degree there aren’t many alternatives out there. “Why don’t you move to a bigger place”, you could ask. I would, but I can’t, because of family ties. How do I relocate my elderly mother? I surely can’t dump her.

Regarding my job, I once told you how any sort of work becomes dull after a while because you realize that you drive to work every morning so that you’ll be able to buy gas so that you can drive to work another day. You said the solution was to just find another job where you get paid more and can then afford a wealthier lifestyle.

See, I wasn’t talking about money. I was talking about time.

This is all so disheartening. I made a resolution at the start of the year: be interesting. Do a lot of things, and I certainly don’t lack a plurality of passions. Become the object of conversation. Become that person that inspires and is admired by others. Become the opposite of my mother. Become a model to you.

The New Me Goes Shopping

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Yes, I know dried fruit and nuts might contain preservatives. I am aware that cereals have added sugar, not just added vitamins. I do realize that a low-fat yogurt would be a healtier option than Greek yogurt, although this one claims to have 0% fat (really? So how it’s so thick?). And I suspect the healthiest way to rehydrate after exercise, at least at my early stage of training, is plain water rather than sport drinks. But still, it’s better than the chips full of salt and lip-scorching, tongue-irritating monosodium glutamate I usually buy on impulse at lunchtime.

Of course, this is not my regular grocery shopping. This is only meant to be a snack stock for the office cupboard, and was the result of a rewarding trip to the supermarket after completing a 45′ running session (3′ walk and 6′ run for 5 times) during lunch break.

So, after years of sitting in front of a PC, I’m finally exercising on weekdays. I’m finally eating healthy again. What led to this amazing change? I run because I don’t want to end up like my father, dying the death genetics has had in stock for me since the beginning. I run to be healthy and increase my life expectancy. I run and I hope to be faster than the speed at which cholesterol is building up in my arteries.

The fear of heart disease was behind many choices since I was 11, the year dad became ill at a relative young age. I then swore to myself I’d never smoke; at 14 I declared fast food was crap; at 19 I turned down a joint; at 20 I saw getting drunk was not worth the dizziness; at 30 I decided hiking was way better than hanging out in town. No surprise, then: running is a choice that’s consistent with all the previous ones.

If you see with your own eyes what the Western way of life does to people, and do nothing, you’re a moron. If someone close to you dies, and you still don’t modify your lifestyle, then you must be stupid. What are we waiting for? Does it take until we die, too, in order to finally learn the lesson?

In the meantime, true change tastes like banana.