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. 🙂