Blast From The Past: The Good, The Bad, The Familiar

Today’s Happy Note: I just scored myself an entire set of Encyclopedia Brittanica encyclopedias.  All A-Z of them.  1957 Edition.  For free.

Let me explain.  The apartment I live in is sort of a relative’s.  Sort of.  This relative has had the apartment in her family for over 60 years.  Her father died last year at 90-something.  He saved everything.  Everything.  This place is a veritable museum.  War rations from WWII?  Check.  1950’s GI Joe toys?  Check.   Yearbooks from various high school’s in Manhattan that no longer exist?  Check.

Entire set of unused encyclopedias?  Check and check.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am aware of this thing they call the Internets.  And I like the Internets a lot.  I really do.  But books have a certain irreplaceable value. I find them soft and cuddly and fun and enlightening.  Especially old books.  I like all historical artifacts, but books are my favorite. I enjoy physically holding a tiny — but important — piece of history.  Important words.  Good thing I work in a library full of old books.

I have no idea where I am storing this set of encyclopedias when I move out but I do know that they are mine.  All mine.  I don’t care if not a single other person born after 1970 has a set of encyclopedias.  Old books are comforting.  Old books cannot hurt me.

What can hurt me?  The present.

Namely, this morning’s spin class.  I met up with Missy at a gym downtown (who knew the express trains ran so fast early in the morning???).  I have only done spin once or twice before and found it incredibly hard.  Today was the same way.  I always think my legs are strong from running, but I find biking especially exhausting.  Maybe it’s a different muscle group.  The funny thing is, it doesn’t make a difference how many times I ride a bike — it’s exhausting every time!  My thighs, quads, and hamstrings just feel drained.  Does spin just take a really long time to get used to, even for someone who is really fit?

Sometimes I do feel seriously hurt by living in the present.  I know it’s good for me, but at the end of the day, if I can escape with a good book or a historical artifact, I will be a very happy girl.  The important thing for me is not to live in the past.  And for the most part, I have a pretty good balance going on.

For example, with food: I try new things sometimes, but the base of my diet follows a clear and distinct pattern based off of what has worked in the past.  This is one of those things that “ain’t broke.”  I don’t rely on familiar foods in a disordered way, I rely on them because I enjoy them and they make me feel good.  What’s not to love?

Lunch: Mixed greens tossed in lemon pepper and EVOO topped with asparagus, broccoli, and salmon burger.

Other things I actively work to change, too.  While I see nothing wrong with my adoration of, say, nineteenth century newspapers, I do actively have to work to change my social life.  There have been periods in the last few years where I have isolated myself from others because I thought that was what “worked” — what made me happy, healthy, and functional.  But you know what?  Being alone all the time does none of those things.  It lowers my self-esteem and makes me think no one wants to play with me.  Over the last few days I’ve spent a lot of time with friends.  Which means I spent a lot of time smiling, laughing, having fun, and chatting about, well, everything.

SIABs work.  Running works.  Dark chocolate works.  Running around in the pouring rain wearing paper-thin flip-flops and sans umbrella?  Doesn’t work.  Writing as an emotional outlet?  Excellent.  Other artistic endeavors?  Not so much.

It’s hard to know when we are limiting ourselves by restricting our pursuits and passions and relationships based on the past.  I think it’s important to continually integrate and try new things.  Like spinning.  Or chocolate coconut topped peanut butter brownies.

New things I want to try this summer: knitting, real outdoor rock climbing, momofuku, getting a mani-pedi, and dating.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to tackle that list.  Right after I prepare the exact same lunch I had today for tomorrow. 🙂


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Erin
    Jun 09, 2010 @ 21:10:29

    I grew up with a set of encyclopedias in the house. My mom thought it was such an important thing to have. How cool you got a vintage set!


  2. Kyle
    Jun 09, 2010 @ 23:51:32

    I. Love. Your. Blog.

    so honest, and…a lot of it really resounds with me. Especially rhe being alone thing. I am pretty bad at making friends, but I think it’s all coming from within me – I’m manifesting my fears. I *think* i’m an introvert and a loner, but when I give into that I become unhappier. It’s kind of work for me to break out of my shell 😦

    Anyways, keep on the great writing, and I LOVE old, dusty stinky books.


  3. Sarah
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 01:22:59

    Omg I am so jealous! What a dream to have been given such a gift of old books 🙂 As you saw from my blog, old books float my boat 😉

    Cycling/spin does take a long time to get used to, and someone once told me that running and cycling don’t really go alongside one another, something to do with the different ways the muscles have to develop…Idk, but apparently it’s really hard to be good at both. I always found doing less running made me better at cycling/spinning, but that might just be me and my weird body!

    I know what you mean about having to work hard to change, given that in the past I’ve found it so easy to keep myself to myself, and it’s been hard to admit that actually I do need people, and they really help me feel more real. Being alone enables negative thoughts to multiply more easily…

    Sarah x


  4. Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 07:02:51

    Spinning is always really tough for me too…I think it’s a more strenuous exercise in general, but it definitely works an entirely different set of muscles as well! My quads are always BURNING after a workout. So neat about the enclyclopedias! We have a set from the 60s when my dad was in college, but the 50s is even cooler! Enjoy them 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful day love!!


  5. Missy Maintains
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 08:18:39

    Yes spin takes getting used to but it is always hard!! Every time I look at the clock and see there is still 20 minutes left, I want to run out hahah. We should try to make it as many Wednesdays as possible.


  6. Lele
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 21:32:23

    Aagh totally with you on the being alone thing. I am 21 and am basically like a 95 year old lady. I have to force myself to go out more too.


  7. Maggie
    Jun 10, 2010 @ 22:06:36

    I definitely want to try momofuku too!


  8. Joanne
    Jun 11, 2010 @ 08:33:08

    Let’s go on a momofuku date! K? Sounds like a plan.

    I went to my first spin class two days ago. And I’m still sore. And I stationary bike a lot since that’s one of hte few things I can do that won’t hurt my stress fractures. Very sore. I loved it though. I thought it was so motivating and it gave the runner’s high that I haven’t felt since I got injured. Priceless.


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