The Greatest Gift

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Today marks my 29th birthday! I think about time a lot – the time I have experienced so far and the time I have moving forward. What defines a lot of that time is what I have learned – both from people and things. Books have been a huge part of my life (if this blog gives any indication), and I believe they have given my some of the greatest gifts I could never have imagined. I would love to share the insights I have gained from books I have read in the last few years as a way to reflect back on who I have been and who I want to be while I celebrate my 29th year.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I once wrote a book in order to save myself…If I’d sat down to write Eat Pray Love with the sole aim of helping others, I would’ve produced a book that was insufferably unreadable (Gilbert 99)

Being honest with myself and saying what I mean has been a huge learning point for me. I value altruism and selflessness, and I also value my health and integrity. Sometimes I need to put me first and be ok with that. What I put out in the world through my social channels and future novels I need to be proud of and tells my truth.

Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Millburn

…the American Dream really just seems to imply that we are fat and in debt, discontented and empty, every man an island, leaving a void we attempt to fill with more stuff (Millburn and Nicodemus 40)

Being more aware of what I am spending my time and resources on, I have felt a huge relief and decreased my FOMO significantly. My American Dream is to be loved and to share that love with others – things do not contribute to that, but moreso experiences I can share.

In the Neighborhood by Peter Lovenheim

22 percent of the homes and 38 percent of the apartments in the country are occupied by just one person. That works out to nearly 30 million people living alone, a higher number than ever before recorded…So if there was ever a good time to break down the barriers that separate us from our neighbors and instead take advantage of the potential for companionship close at hand, that time is now (Lovenheim 236).

I still struggle with being more social with my community. This past Halloween I went outside my comfort zone and attended the community event at the clubhouse. I feel there is so much we can learn from our neighbors who we may pass by countless times without even saying hello. So many stories and memories we are missing out on.

My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock

Do the things that interest you & do them with all your heart. Don’t be concerned about whether people are watching you or criticizing you. The chances are that they aren’t paying any attention to you.

I have found a sense of adventure and courage to just go and do things regardless if I am alone in that endeavor. It is the idea of breaking that thought of What If. I have been fortunate in the experiences and trips I have gone on because I wanted to and have not regretted any of them, even when some people’s responses are “Good for you” when I say I am going by myself. You’re right, good for me!

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

One of the things I always try to remind myself is that everyone has scars…A lot of them even worse than mine. The only difference is that mine are visible and most people’s aren’t

We all hurt, but it is not up to us to compare the level of hurt to others, deeming ours more or less hurtful. Sharing these scars is not a sign of weakness but courage to trust someone else with what you may need help with – sometimes that help is just listening.

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch

We all need a space to just let things be, a place to remember who we are and what is important to us, an interval of time that allows that happiness and joy of living back into our consciousness (Sankovitch 221-222).

That space has been reading (and blogging) for me – the escape and time of renewal, reminding me that I have things to be thankful for in my life. Being immersed in a story and in the lives of characters I adore gives me energy and positivity. I can enter this space in a variety of moods, but the results are always affirming and enlightening.

I feel books and quotes come to us when we need it the most, and what we need to hear and have realizations that inspire. The more time and experiences I gain, I look forward to tying them to words that are beautifully crafted in the books I read. Those a-ha moments are what I look forward to the most when I read – the relate-ability and connections to my life. I cannot wait to see what this next year brings in terms of gifts from reading!

What books have been the greatest gifts to you? 

One thought on “The Greatest Gift

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