Today I set a lawn chair out on the sidewalk, fixed a tall glass of iced tea, and took a load off. Sassy Dog flopped down in the grass nearby. For at least 15 minutes, I enjoyed the sun to get my daily dose of Vitamin D. When it got too hot, I moved my chair into the shade.
If I really need to mentally go away for a while, I take a book so I can be in another city, maybe another country, perhaps another time in history. Reading is the greatest diversion, the greatest escape, and the greatest joy I can experience without leaving my own yard.
I read almost all genres of fiction, lots of non-fiction related to history, politics, creativity, motivation, and training a dog to walk sedately around the neighborhood instead of dragging me behind her. At the moment, I’m reading two nonfiction books. We the People by Juan Williams is history. The other book I’m reading is Weeping Kings and Wild Boars, a memoir by Jerry Eckert. It’s an amazing story of a man who worked tirelessly to help the poverty-stricken populations in several countries around the world.
I’m dwelling on books, aren’t I?
That’s because I’m downsizing my library and getting rid of a couple of bookcases. This is the fourth time in my life I’ve let a collection of books go, and every single time I do this, I feel as though someone is ripping joy out of life. Never mind the fact I have a Kindle and a tablet with plenty of books plus access to lots more electronic versions through the library’s Overdrive. Never mind that I live seven minutes from a very nice library that shares space and resources with Front Range Community College. Never mind that I also have access to the collections in a long list of other Colorado libraries through our Prospector system.
It still hurts to give away my books. Even the ones I know I’ll never read again, as well as the ones I know I’ll never get around to.
Marie Kondo wrote a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Basically, she says to pick up every object in your hands and consider whether or not it gives you joy. A book, I suppose, gives me joy just because it’s a book. But this is not what Kondo means. She wants me to pick up that specific book and determine whether it gives me a warm, happy feeling because of its content, my connection to the author, or perhaps even the spectacular cover art. I get it! I’m working on it. But it’s still very hard.
So this post about the art of chilling quickly wandered off topic when I mentioned reading, didn’t it? Oh, well. That’s the way I roll.
Let’s see if I can tie it all together. We all have long To Do Lists, some items more urgent than others. We can get stressed out just looking at the stupid list, those looming deadlines, our habit of biting off more than we can chew. I, for instance, have a long list of writing-related deadlines, carpet installers scheduled in a couple of weeks, too much furniture (and too many books) that will be in their way which requires moving stuff, clearing out, and donating.
Sometimes the only way to handle the situation is to put the lawn chair outside, fix a big glass of iced tea, grab a book, and go somewhere far, far away.