Tuesday, July 20, 2010

#12 - Read a book

I'm back to my list. Well sort of.

I finally read and finished my first book in months. I've began reading several but completing them seems to be the challenge for me. I seem to get half way through and lose interest. Leaving me with several books scattered through out our apartment with book marks in them (ok so I never seem to use book marks, usually just receipts or subscription cards from magazines).

The last book I read was just after Christmas. I mentioned it on here and totally loved it. So much so that I felt as though I could've written it.

This was the first time I've ever experienced this feeling. I remember getting to the end and feeling so sad to say good bye to my book. It seemed a part of me. It seemed to be actually connected to me, and I didn't want to lose that connection.

I didn't think it was really possible for that to happen again. It's kind of like a kindred spirit. You can't plan on someone being that to you, and you can't really look for it, it just happens.

Well, I've been fortunate enough to find yet another kindred book spirit in my recent read from my retreat 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

I just finished it on the weekend and I had the exact feelings of sadness when I was finished. Not really about the story but about the fact that there were no more pages to read.

As I said, this is a new experience for me to have. I've never been so tied to a book, or in this case books. Note these were both memoir type books not fiction - fiction is a different ballgame altogether. I don't find it difficult at all to become addicted to the story in a fiction novel. I mean everything seems to run together and flow so well. All the characters are perfectly placed with drama popping up at the perfect times. There's usually sacrifice, heartbreak, recovery and at some point love - romantic or otherwise.

Memoirs however don't generally seem all that alluring. I mean you already know the ending to a degree. If the author is writing they obviously lived through whatever happened. You even get to skip ahead to the end where they have a blurb about them and update where they are now, who they are living with and how many cats are prowling around their newly acquired abode due to the success of the book that is in your hands.

These two books though took me somewhere real. They took me on a journey with, in one case a man, and the other a woman, who were searching for meaning in their lives.

Both made huge sacrifices in order to find what they were looking for. Both realized the spiritual aspects of living a life of meaning, yet also knew the humanity behind it too.

Though the Donald Miller book was a while back and I can't remember every detail I know that he along with Elizabeth Gilbert opened themselves up to learning. They opened themselves up to being wrong, but taking the time to figure out how to do things better. Maybe not perfectly but better.

Certainly this is what drew me to both books and resonated with me. I love adventure. I love risk. I love a good story. Yet, like anyone else I want all of these things to happen while I'm in the comfort of my own home.

Can't I have a good story and still have a regular job? Sure. Can't I create a telling tale from my 7 story apartment? Why not. Can't I experience excitement in life while doing the same thing I always have done? That's (in my opinion) a no. Sorry.

I think it's funny that we all (or at least most or many of us) want a fantastic life story. We all want to be proud of what our lives look like. This may look completely different to each person but that's a good thing. However I don't think many of us want the key ingredient: sacrifice.

We want to hang on for dear life to the things that we know: where we live, with whom we live, our friends, our jobs, our hobbies even. I'm guessing this is just our overall human response, because it is natural for all of us to do this. I know that for both writers giving things up and changing their lives wasn't easy at all.

Why do it at all then? Why not just live happily ever after in the same spot for the rest of our lives? Tell me: how would you feel if your life stayed exactly the same for the next however many years you have left?

I think as much as it is natural for us to keep comfortable, there is just as much of a desire to grow and experience life. I'm by no means saying we all need to sell our homes and travel around the world for a year to 'find ourselves' because to be honest if I did that I'd likely end up losing my mind, my luggage and most of my hair.

I guess these reads reminded me, as I am at a point when I am expected to 'settle' into a 'normal' life, that I'm never going to be done. I'm never going to be finished searching, or learning or experiencing.

I have a 75 year old grandmother that is a testament to 'it's never too late to ...', as she got her ears pierced at the age of 72, got her first boy friend in 60 years and still wants to someday ride a motorcycle.

Though it's not always easy to step out and shock people (because to be honest I think it's other people's opinions that trap us into monotony more than anything else), but sometimes it necessary.

Speaking from the point of view of someone who, if she didn't have an anchor of a husband, probably would be a floating willy nilly crazy person hopping here and there and everywhere yet not ever getting grounded in the lessons available. It isn't just the act of moving about that gives you experience, it's the act of thoughtfully living out what you are called to do and be.

I often wonder if my challenge in life is learning how to grow in a stationary position, where many people's challenge would be to grow by being stretched to move. We need to constantly be aware of what we ourselves are being asked to do and stepping out and doing it.

I think I've written about this before, I clearly need reminding.

I feel like I'm rambling.

I read a book. Front to back. I feel like I made another friend and learned another lesson.

Now ... to write my own.


trainspotter said...

I love interesting ramblings.

I think humans (in general) just want what they can't have... it's in our natures to feel unsatisfied. If our lives are perceived to be "boring" or "safe", we crave "adventure" and "excitement". Likewise, people who are submerged in "adventure" and the instability of constant change, crave "normal" and "simple".

Sacrifice can be good for ones soul but so can comfort. I think what's important is that we continue to learn and be the best people we can be (not to be confused with being the best) despite "the season of our life" that we're in. Life is a gift and it's very short. Also we are creatures with a dynamic range in emotions, all meant to be felt in my opinion, and nobody has the exact same recipe of life experiences... that is also a gift. And as you so often express, we should be thankful for it all, as it is.

Sorry about the soapbox-ing... you can have your blog back now :)

Eva said...

I LOVE IT!! Thank you!


Danielle said...

The writer of "eat, pray, love" wrote another book called "committed" which is her life after! I haven't read it; I am still working my way through the first one!

I am also excited for the eat, pray, love movie!!