How I Read 30 Books a Year

books(Give or take a few.)

People sometimes ask me how I read so much. I have a full-time job and a social life. I’m also a very slow reader. Truly. But I still manage to read about 30 books per year. Here’s how I do it.

I read every day. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, I try to sit down and get a few pages flipped at least once a day. It’s not something I have to force myself to do, really, it’s just something I love doing. It’s how I unwind.

I read in short bursts. I rarely have the time to sit down and just read for a solid hour, so what I do is pull out my book whenever I have or ten or fifteen minutes to kill. I read in the bathtub, while I’m waiting for laundry, on my breaks at work, etc. I almost always leave about twenty minutes for myself before bedtime to spend reading (and although I love to read in bed, I don’t recommend it since it’s bad sleep hygeine).

I read books on my phone. It’s not as unpleasant as you might imagine—or maybe I’ve just gotten very used to it. It’s so convenient though. I never dread air travel or waiting at the DMV anymore, because I always have a book on me. Books that take up zero space are super convenient for travel, too. Reading apps like Kindle and Overdrive are free, and you can even download free books for them from your local library. I only actually purchase a couple of books a year.

I set a reading goal for myself each year on Goodreads, and I enjoy trying to keep it. The app tells me if I’m on track or not, and I can see how many books my friends have read so far, too. Last year I fell short of my goal of 30 books by 3, so I actually fudged my goal down to 27 so that I would meet it. I was afraid I wouldn’t get my badge for 2015! I lied, I’m sorry.

I read books of various lengths. The books I read range anywhere from 50 pages to 1000 pages. I think the average is about 300. I don’t discriminate—although I wouldn’t count a picture book as an actual “book” toward my Goodreads goal, if I happened to read one.

I listen to audiobooks. Again, I don’t actually count these as books that I’ve read, but I do supplement my reading with a few audiobooks each year. If you just can’t find the time to sit down and read, I bet you could still pop an audio CD into your car and listen to it on your commute. I download audiobooks from the library and plug my phone into my car to listen to them.

Occasionally, I give up on the book I’m reading and move on. Sometimes you just get stuck in a book, even if you don’t necessarily hate it. I usually power through because I don’t like to leave things unfinished, but every once in a while I’ll set a dense book aside so that I can move on to something that’s more fun.

I read different kinds of books. My favorite genre is children’s fantasy, but I wouldn’t stay as interested in reading as I do if that was all I ever read. You might feel exactly the opposite way, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Read for pleasure, just don’t limit yourself to what you think you “should” read. Read anything and everything that catches your fancy.

And finally, I don’t watch a lot of TV. Or play video games. Or even watch that many movies. The book is always better!

How many books do you read or listen to in a year? Are you trying to read more? Let me know in the comments.

Book Review: Parable of the Sower

Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1)Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I chose Parable of the Sower for my book club before I’d read it myself, because I thought it was about time we read something that wasn’t written by a white person. This had been on my to-read list for quite a while and it sounded weighty and realistic enough for a good discussion. I agree with my mom, who told me when she finished it that the story feels unfinished. This is really just the beginning. And as it turns out, the author, Octavia Butler, died before she had a chance to finish the series. But there is a second book that I’m told makes the story feel more complete.

Reading this book was a little bit like watching The Walking Dead. It’s a group of strangers being drawn together somewhat reluctantly by the will to survive in an extremely hostile future America. Their leader is Lauren Olamina, a young black woman. That in and of itself makes it a good story. Refreshing, to say the least. And I love Lauren’s hyperempathy, or “sharing” as she calls it. She literally feels other people’s pain. I love that concept, and it’s especially interesting in this world where hurting other people is often necessary for survival.

One of the most interesting aspects of Lauren’s strength, to me, is her sexuality. It’s not a major aspect of the book, nor should it be. She’s attracted to men and she has relationships with them, but they are not the center of her universe. Lauren isn’t confused or upset or rendered in any way weaker by her sexuality. She just buys condoms when she needs to. She understands and accepts that aspect of herself, and she prepares for it. She has more important things to worry about. I was so grateful to see that an author finally got a woman’s sexuality right. Thank you, Octavia Butler.

Beyond Lauren, though, I wasn’t able to connect to this book very much. I like Lauren’s ideas about spirituality and survival and hope. But the story of her group’s journey to Acorn is just dark and gruesome, with new horrors emerging throughout. I’m not a fan of stories like that. I stopped watching The Walking Dead after about a season and a half (although that was partly because I got tired of all the impassioned speeches). I think the major thing that bothered me about this book was that it didn’t even attempt to explain how things got so terrible, with drugs and murder running rampant in an America where the government does nothing and the cops are corrupt. It’s hard to believe that our country could ever get so bad. But I’m sheltered and I take my safety for granted, I suppose. Plenty of people in this world are living a nightmare. It could happen here, too.

I like books that make me feel good.
But I also like books that make me go hmmmmm…

Lauren really is an interesting character. She’s not super-likable since she’s so strong and not very relatable. Her physical empathy is her only weakness. But it’s awesome to imagine that a woman could have so much strength and hope—could so firmly believe that she has the power to push back against horrific circumstances—in a world that is out to get her at every moment.

And it’s interesting to consider what this book is saying about the current state of our world. We’re abusing our natural resources. We’re not solving race issues. Our authorities don’t always have our best interest in mind. Slavery still exists. We aren’t really handling the drug problem. We may be first world, but our problems are serious.

The thing is, human life as a whole is getting better. It might not seem like it, but it’s true. And things might collapse before they get even better than this, but I think they will. I believe as Lauren does that humanity will keep springing up anew for many many years to come, especially if people hold onto hope and believe in themselves. New worlds are possible, and our will to survive runs deep. Humanity’s worst enemy is itself. Isn’t that strange? We’re so intelligent and yet so irrational. There are no monsters in this book. There’s no bad guy. And yet every person in it is a potential monster or bad guy. It’s too realistic for comfort.

See all my book reviews on Goodreads.

Why I Wrote an Article for Wikipedia (and You Should, Too)

I’m happy to announce that my first Wikipedia page is now out in the wild. I am not going to mention it by name in text for the sake of protecting my identity, but you can see it in the screenshot below and then go find it, if you’re interested. As of this writing, the page hasn’t changed much since I wrote it. It received a rather poor rating from the mods, and I’m not entirely sure why yet, but I am proud of it anyway.

Wikipedia article screenshot

So why did I decide to write a Wikipedia article? I had never heard of the subject of my article before I picked her somewhat randomly from a list of redlinks (missing articles). I was certainly not an expert on her. I don’t believe I’m an expert on anything, because even though I read a lot, I have a terrible memory. I get my facts pretty crooked, unless they’re related to Star Wars.

But I learned how to do research in the third grade. And I needed this little confidence boost of feeling like I’d contributed something concrete to the world, however small. Strange that digital things can feel concrete, isn’t it? And the #1 reason that I decided to write an article for Wikipedia is:

90% of Wikipedia contributors are men.

I wanted to become a Wikipedia contributor to help tip that balance a little. It took me an embarrassingly long time to put this one article together, but I want to push myself to keep contributing occasionally to Wikipedia, both writing articles and editing existing articles. Wikipedia is largely written by and about men, so there’s a big need for articles to be written by and about women.

Wikipedia lists the following as reasons that fewer women contribute than men (source: Gender Bias on Wikipedia):

  1. A lack of user-friendliness in the editing interface
  2. Not having enough free time
  3. A lack of self-confidence
  4. Aversion to conflict and an unwillingness to participate in lengthy edit wars
  5. Belief that their contributions are too likely to be reverted or deleted
  6. Some find its overall atmosphere misogynistic
  7. Wikipedia culture is sexual in ways they find off-putting
  8. Being addressed as male is off-putting to women whose primary language has grammatical gender
  9. Fewer opportunities than other sites for social relationships and a welcoming tone

Another reason cited in the article is Wikipedia’s failure to attract female editors.

So far, I haven’t really interacted with the Wikipedia community, so I can’t speak to what it’s like. My plan right now is to keep to myself, but maybe some day I’ll be confident and involved enough to want to join the fray. The threat of online harassment is definitely off-putting, but I think it’s an issue no matter what forum you enter online — even among family and friends on Facebook! It’s more damaging in some forums than on others though, and it’s weird to join an established community with nothing but your words to represent you.

As far as the interface, I didn’t find it too difficult since I have a background in web design & development. In fact, I thought learning and using the markup was pretty fun. But I can see how it would be uninviting to many. I had to use Google to find the resources I needed, on Wikipedia, about editing Wikipedia—things like style, markup, formatting, citation. It was like there was too much information and no good way to navigate it.

But it’s a rewarding little challenge to step up and create something that could be useful to people. I would encourage all of my friends to give contributing a shot, especially the women. You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to be able to learn and follow the rules. I did 100% of my research online, so I was able to do it on my own time, from the comfort of home. I’m sure not all articles can or should be researched this way, but as long as the sources meet the criteria, it’s still better than if the Wikipedia article continued to not exist at all. If the powers that be decide that your sources or your writing suck, they can point it out and it can be fixed.

If you’re interested, here’s the list of redlinks where I found my subject. Poke around, maybe you’ll find someone who interests you. Join us! Everyone’s favorite encyclopedia could use your skills.

If You Liked Stranger Things, Try These Shows

If you have Netflix and even the merest interest in sci-fi, you’ve watched Stranger Things by now. I mean, I have a couple of friends who are managing to watch the series very slowly, one episode at a time, but most of us flew through it in less than a week. My husband and I have actually watched the whole thing twice already, and we’re thinking about a third go-round.

It’s just so good! The characters! The creepiness! The nostalgia! And it’s hard to find something worth watching after you’ve finished such a good show. So here are some ideas for you from a very picky sci-fi/fantasy fan.

On Netflix (streaming)

TV Shows

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell1. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. I am so pumped that this is on Netflix now! We’ve been trying to tell people about it for a while. We watched it a few months ago via nefarious means, and it is fantastic. We’d both read the wonderful book by Susanna Clarke before watching the series, but I think the show is at least as good as the book in this particular case. I highly recommend it if you have any tolerance for fantasy. It’s not very creepy though, so if you need something creepier, read on.

2. Black Mirror. Everyone said DON’T WATCH THE FIRST EPISODE, so we never have. The episodes we have watched were futuristic and thought-provoking. Not creepy the way Stranger Things is, exactly, but creepy in different ways.

3. The Walking Dead. Super creepy, gory, etc. Fun survival/zombie horror. There’s something that really hooks you, at least for a season and a half, which is when I peaced out.

4. Dark Matter. This one isn’t super great, but it’s entertaining and I enjoyed it, even with my low tolerance for cheesy TV shows. It’s an interesting twist on the motley-band-of-space-pirates theme. Sci-fi, not very creepy, zero nostalgia factor.

5. Freaks and Geeks. You’ve seen this already, right? It’s set in the ’80s, it’s about a teenage girl and her tween brother & their respective groups of friends. I had to mention it because it’s good and it relates to Stranger Things in that way. It’s a comedy, though; not the least bit creepy or fantastical.

Movies

1. Contact. It’s an excellent movie. I hated it when I was a kid, but I get it now. Worth re-watching.

2. Europa Report. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember this one perfectly. I need to re-watch it. But I remember thinking that it deserved a higher rating than it has on most sites.

Not on Netflix

TV Shows

The Magicians1. The Magicians. This is another case where a book I loved was turned into a TV series. Don’t be fooled by the dumb artwork. They did change it in ways I don’t love, but it’s still very good. Rather bloody at times, fun in the way fantasy can be but the characters act like real people in the real, modern world—no orcs or dragons or anything like that. Highly recommended.

Movies

1. Coherence. This movie is one of those mindfuck sort of things. It’s really fun to watch, and creepy in a mostly not horrifying sort of way. Not very related to Stranger Things, but we’ve been telling people about this one for years and I don’t think anyone we know has watched it yet. So please do!

2. Super 8. Okay, the acting isn’t perfect, but it’s a Goonies-type sci-fi that’s related to Stranger Things, so give the kids a break. It’s a fun movie.

3. Under The Skin. There were scenes in Stranger Things that reminded me of this movie, but mainly in a visual way. It’s an odd one, but really interesting. Definitely worth watching.

Nothing really compares to Stranger Things, at least in my mind. But hopefully there will be something on this list that entertains you while we wait for a second season to be made. If you have TV show recommendations for me, please leave them in the comments!

2015: Year In Review

Dear 2015,

You surprised me. And not exactly in a good way. I didn’t expect you to be such a difficult year for me. I love multiples of five! 1995 was a great year; I was a happy ten-year-old. And I think 2000 and 2005 were both good, as years go. 2010 was a little rougher; I was planning my wedding and that was stressful as hell. Still, you started off with a bang, literally. I was in my basement bar with my husband and a few good friends who are still able to stay up until midnight, and we set off crackers and listened to Red Eyes probably too many times for everyone else’s taste. I felt really hopeful. You were going to be a good year. But you were difficult.

Your winter was beautiful. I was happy. I like winter these days, all glitter and snow and cookies and cocoa. We went to fabulous Chicago to shop for my sister-in-law’s wedding dress. I threw a swap party and we had champagne and cream puffs and everyone went home with something new and free. We attended a wedding in the snow, and a concert in a living room. But I started to feel sad, despite the cheap Harry Potter screenings at our new favorite theater/brewery, Flix. Both of my grandparents’ health had taken a sudden turn for the worse early in the year, and I worried for them and for my dad, who was all but solely responsible for looking after them from a very long state’s length away. Spring came despite my mood and it was beautiful too, with plenty of blooms and nice weather. My brother and my sister and her boys visited us, and for a couple of nights we had a wonderfully full house. We braved the sudden heat to go with Mom to the butterfly garden in Ames. And my sister and I went to see The Smashing Pumpkins* here at Hoyt Sherman. So I can die happy now.

Both of my grandparents fluctuated and then one of them improved and the other took a fall, and in a coincidence that was both fortunate and unfortunate I got to see my grandfather one last time when we traveled out west in June. I was climbing up through the majestic wooded heart of California during his final hours. I wasn’t able to attend his funeral, and that was a strange thing.

But sometimes death brings a sad sort of relief, and the truth is that I started to feel much better shortly after Grandpa died. Nathan accompanied me to Iowa City for a long weekend in July, and I was briefly a Hawkeye (sort of), learning about writing literary fiction in a whirlwind but inspiring Iowa Summer Writing Festival class. In August I turned 30 and managed to be remarkably happy about it. I celebrated by going to a nice dinner and a roller rink with my most playful friends. I sparkled as much as I could get away with.

Fall is usually my happiest season, but yours was tough for me. It was lovely, don’t get me wrong; the leaves took their time changing and it was unseasonably warm, and I took a wonderful seven-week online writing course (again through the University of Iowa). But stressors came up at work when the company I work for was acquired, and I was struggling to try to find a new home for my poor unlovable dog, and to figure out some health issues (which I have discovered are not actual issues, again. Hi, I’m Stephanie and I’m a hypochondriac). We attended all kinds of dinners and parties and movies and shindigs, the wedding of my sister-in-law and a concert in Minnesota—all of which was fun, but fun gets stressful after a point for an introvert like me. And beyond my own personal sphere, a lot of bad crap in the world was demanding everyone’s attention and energy: shootings. Terrorism. A refugee crisis. Politicians.

You were not a waste, or anything like that. I have no hard feelings toward you. You taught me about Effective Altruism and the KonMari method, and you made me believe that there’s nothing I have to get, do, or be in order to be happy. You told me that I am enough. You convinced me to work harder for Big Magic. You gave the world a respectable new Star Wars movie! And most importantly, you gave me Motivational Shia LaBeouf. I am deeply grateful for all of those things. I think you’re sending me into 2016 with a tiny bit more skill and a lot more dedication. I’m ready to work hard, and to see new corners and crannies of the world, and to believe in my own health and happiness, for real. Let’s do this.

Motivational Shia LaBeouf

On Turning Thirty

I am standing at an arbitrary, imaginary threshold that i will cross in a matter of hours. Beginning tomorrow, i will be over thirty years old, and i will no longer think of myself as young. That is strange and scary, because all of my life thus far i have thought of myself as young. And i never will again.

It’s not that i think i’m old. To think of myself as old would be an insult to everyone on earth who is older than i am, and i also think of that as including my future self. She is not old. I don’t really think of any human on this planet as old, because our lives are so very short. Maybe the ones who live for longer than a century are old, but the rest of us don’t even have memories of the first World War. Human history is short, and we who are walking the earth today can remember only a tiny fraction of it. As a species we are extremely young.

But, age is relative. And i’m starting to feel a little awkward in young women’s clothing. The models in makeup ads are starting to look like mere girls to me. Yes, i admit that a large portion of the pain of becoming no-longer-young is due to the increasingly upward comparison that is beauty. But i care about that less than you might think. I placed a lot of value on attractiveness and aesthetics in general when i was a young woman. I was a designer and a photographer, and i allowed myself to love the hell out of being able to see. And yet, i have always preferred the sense of hearing over the sense of sight, as though i had some understanding that there were more important things than aesthetics; more beautiful things than beauty. And lately the more i think about it, the more i realize that sight is just our interpretation of particles of light bouncing off of things. It’s amazing and undeniable how the sight of something beautiful or provocative can affect us, and yet when you think about it, the way things look is not even what they really are. My eyes, for example, aren’t just brown. They’re also myopic and the left one has a slightly enlarged optic nerve, putting me at somewhat of a risk for glaucoma later in life. But you can’t see that and you don’t care about that when you look me in the eye. We know and value what we can see, and oftentimes we value that above what we feel and hear and know. I don’t know quite how to express it, but i’m realizing lately that while what i look like is important because it’s how i interface with the world, it’s not as important as what i know and how i feel, despite society’s natural bias to the contrary. And i’m learning more all the time, and i feel pretty darn good. And, to be honest, i think i still look pretty darn good, too, and will for years to come—even if i don’t look eighteen anymore.

Steph!

One comforting fact about aging is that nobody is alone in the process. Everyone ages, and everyone does so at the same rate in terms of actual time elapsed. Those pretty young things in today’s ads will be my age in time. If they’re lucky! And i was their age once. I kind of think of aging not so much as passing from one age to another as collecting ages. Because i know what it is to be ten years old, what it is to be eighteen years old, what it is to be twenty-nine. I will (hopefully) always have that knowledge, so in a way i will always be all of the ages i have ever been. Except my baby years, of course. I can’t remember those.

I saw a quote somewhere that said something along the lines of: “never be sorry to grow older; it is a privilege denied to many.” And that’s the main thing. A birthday is a celebration of life, and a milestone birthday is extra special. Look how far i’ve come! I haven’t accomplished as much as i always thought i would by this age, and i think that’s the thing that i see pain people the most about turning thirty. We all set these “thirty by thirty” goals for ourselves, or maybe just a few big things we feel we must accomplish: get married, have kids, get a terminal degree, get our dream job. We set ourselves up for disappointment on this particular birthday for no real reason. Just because humans happen to have ten fingers and probably for that reason settled on a decimal numbering system, which naturally places emphasis on multiples of ten. So thirty is where we stop and look around and ask ourselves if we’ve landed where we wanted to be as adults. I think when i was twentyish, i wanted to have published a beautifully designed book of poetry and recorded a couple of life-altering albums by now. But i never set a hard-and-fast deadline—and that is probably part of the reason that i haven’t created anything of note yet—but it has also kept me from feeling like a failure. I still have some time. I am probably not going to record music, but i still have plenty of time to publish something (probably). And i have made a lot of really good decisions and achieved a pretty great life for myself, so i have nothing to feel sorry about.

I am by no means content, mind you. I once told a friend that i didn’t think i’d ever achieve contentment. I think artists just have restless souls, so to speak, and i think i have an artist’s soul after all. I must create something, because i want to honor and help and contribute to this world in a way that goes deeper than just giving money to my chosen cause. I have a voice and a unique perspective, and i might just have something to say that the world needs to hear. I just need to do a lot of exploring to figure out what exactly that might be and how to say it.

I feel deeply grateful for all of the people who have shown me love on this very special birthday. I am so supported and loved, and it’s touching in a way that makes the tears just spring from me. So you might catch me sobbing if you see me in the next couple of days, but i promise i’m not feeling purely sorry for myself. I am so happy to be turning thirty, because it means that i survived the dark days and the scary car rides and the unknowable risks that come with being alive. I’m still here, and i will never stop being grateful for that. Life is easy and it’s hard and it’s ugly and it’s gorgeous, and i am so thankful for all thirty of my years and for this moment, and for however many future moments i’ll be lucky enough to grasp. I want it all. I love everything.

On Turning Thirty – V.1

Milestones are constructed to provide reference points along the road. This can be used to reassure travellers that the proper path is being followed, and to indicate either distance travelled or the remaining distance to a destination.

I’ve come to a milestone, which means now i can take a gander backward at how far i’ve come, and also forward at how far i have yet to travel. Except that’s the tricky thing about life; you never know how much farther you have to go.

I think what i’ve done so far is pretty darn alright. I’ve made a lot of sensible choices, and i’m in a good comfortable place. In fact, i may be a little too sensible for my own good. I’ve never taken any big risks, and because of that i’ve never done anything terribly notable. There are just two things i regret so far, though: everything i’ve ever done and everything i’ve ever said. Just kidding. The two things are: not talking to people more, and not creating more. It’s true, you regret the things you didn’t do, not the things you did.

I’m trying to find balance in my life right now. I have plenty of free time, and yet i feel like i never have enough. I can never get enough time to travel and read and create. I devote pathetically little time to creating, which is why i never write on this blog anymore. I’ve got to change that somehow. I keep deleting things from my life in an attempt to create more time: less facebook, less twitter, less sleeping (ha), less shopping, less going out. I’m even making a meager effort to cut back on my possessions, since more space and things just means more time organizing and cleaning. Yet my house is always dirty. And i never have time to create.

The number one reason for this problem is that i tend to fill whatever time i do manage to carve out with reading instead of creating. I set reading goals for myself on Goodreads and i earn my annual badge faithfully, and i absolutely can’t stand to read fewer books each year rather than more. So i’m up to 30 per year now, and i can’t bring myself to back off from that. If only i could read faster! I am trying, kind of, to learn.

I say “create” because it isn’t just writing that i’d like to do more of. There are all kinds of things that i wish i had time to create: stories and drawings and sewing and food and books. Making things with my hands is like a meditation for me, and i know that that’s an important thing that i should make time to do.

But aside from that dilemma, i’m in a good place. I’m healthy, happily married, financially comfortable, and i have good relationships with my family and friends. I’m happy right now. I was unhappy mere months ago – weeks, if we’re being honest – but i think i have a sort of backwards Seasonal Affective Disorder, where i feel the least happy when things are warming and sunnying up, and then i start to feel so much happier this time of year when things are starting to head in the direction of fall. It’s strange. But, it’s just my truth. I’m glad that i’ve gotten to a place where i can see that what i’m feeling on a given day has very little to do with the external world, and almost everything to do with the particular chemical cocktail going on in my brain. There are small things i can do to affect it, but not big ones. And it’s not quite so severe that i need the help of drugs to get by.

Thirty. What is it about thirty that makes people so uncomfortable? This is the age where people kiss youth goodbye, i think. We’re undoubtedly adults now. We’re on our own two feet. We’ve reached a point for which we set certain goals for ourselves, for whatever reason, and we’re forced to take note now of whether those goals have been met. I’ve watched slightly older friends of mine hang their heads upon turning 30 because they aren’t where they expected to be: they’re unmarried, they don’t have their dream job, they still haven’t gotten that terminal degree. Their names will never appear on a “Thirty Under Thirty” list now. And i told them that thirty is just a number, and that if you think about it, it’s only significant because humans have ten fingers and therefore chose a decimal system of numbering. If we had twelve, i mused, we might not assess these things until the age of thirty-six.

There are things i’m disappointed about, too. I haven’t created any of the things i wanted to create when i was younger: a book of poetry, an album, a piece of art worthy of a hipster’s dormitory wall. And i wish i were an easier person to have a relationship with, but that stuff runs so deep in my personality that regretting it is simply an act of self-loathing. I’m never going to throw my hands up and stop trying to be a better person, but being hard on myself about my shortcomings is only going to be counterproductive. God knows there are a hundred phone calls i should’ve made in my lifetime and didn’t, but all i can do now is let them go and try to make the next call.

As far as wanting to create something, i am going to. I can feel it. It might not ever reach the hands of more than a dozen people, but no matter. I will create for the sake of creating, just as soon as i figure out the right way to balance my time. Maybe i could cut back to 25 books per year, much as it pains me to do so. Or eight hours of sleep per night, even on the weekends.🙂 I am a firm believer in unique biology, though, so i’m not making any promises on that one. I need more sleep than the average person, i swear. The internet says that is a thing, and i believe it.

My twenties were a lot of fun, and also really sad at times. I fell in love and got married, and that’s pretty hard to beat. I was laid off three times in as many years. I lost three of my four grandparents, and for a moment i felt the absolute terror of potentially losing my brother. I went to Europe twice, I honeymooned in Cancun, i made some friends that i know i’ll have for the rest of my life. But i think my thirties will actually be better. I may soon get to be an auntie to a little person who will live very nearby. And i think i’m going to get this balance thing figured out and start creating again. I’m probably going to travel to more amazing places, and deepen the relationships that already exist in my life. There will be rough times. I think a couple of the people i love will stumble, and i hope to be a source of strength for them. It’s statistically likely that i will live beyond the next decade. It’ll be interesting to see how the world changes. Things are warming up, and i fear for the planet but i think the political climate is actually improving very gradually, despite what all the clamoring on facebook might lead one to believe. I don’t care about it as much as my eighteen-year-old self would’ve wanted me to. But that’s true of a lot of things.