Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Books I'm Reading in 2015

Every year, I tell myself, "Under no circumstances are you to acquire more books until you have finished the hundreds that lie around unread on the shelves in your living room!" Every year, I ignore that order, and lo and behold . . . more books! I have no idea how this happens. Okay, I do have some clue. It has to do with paperbackswap, free books, and the local library book sale. These are all dangerous avenues to increasing the library.

It is unlikely I will stop acquiring books. It is a thing that happens and has been happening since before I can remember and will continue happening. So rather than setting a goal about not having more books, I have opted for more specific reading goals. These goals are attached to definite numbers and titles so that I can work my way through the existing living room library.

The broad goal for 2015 is to read two new-to-me books each month. To that end, I have set aside these 24 titles to read:

The Mill for Grinding Old People Young - Glenn Patterson
Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
The Time Machine - H.G. Wells
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
The Joy Luck Club - Amy Tan
Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
Jacob's Room - Virginia Woolf
The Hours - Michael Cunningham
Up in the Air - Walter Kirn
My Brilliant Friend - Elena Ferrante
The Edible Woman - Margaret Atwood
Snow Flower & the Secret Fan - Lisa See
The Story of My Life - Helen Keller
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress - Rhoda Janzen
Then Again - Diane Keaton
Tim Tebow: Through My Eyes - Tim Tebow
The Audacity of Hope - Barack Obama
The Story of the Trapp Family Singers - Maria von Trapp
Anna and the King of Siam - Margaret Landon
This I Remember - Eleanor Roosevelt
Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen - Jimmy McDonough
Grace of Monaco - Steven Englund
The Letters of Abelard & Heloise
Dreams in a Time of War - Ngugi wa Thiong'o

I'm also really excited about Amy Poehler's Yes, Please and B.J. Novak's The Book with No Pictures. I'll be picking up Novak's book at the library tomorrow!

What are you reading this year? Anything you're particularly excited about or have been waiting to read for ages? Tell me in the comments about the tales that await you in 2015.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pep Talk

For everyone who needs to hear it . . . including me:




You are awesome for all the ways you change the world every day just by being a part of it.

You are talented.

You are intelligent.

You are kind.

You are generous.

You are thoughtful.

You make a difference simply by being present.

You are important because you are.

Your awesomeness does not depend on my acknowledgment of it, but just in case you forgot or are having a hard time embracing the remarkable being that you are, I'm telling you. I hope you believe it.





Love, Micah

Friday, January 3, 2014

Are there 28 things I should do instead of getting engaged/married before I turn 28?

All the rage lately are these lists of "[Number] of Things to Do Instead of Getting Married at [Age, which is the same as Number]" or some variation thereon. At least two (three) of these posts emerged in response to this one. I'm not sure why some folks of my generation decry marriage as the end of life. (Maybe it's Timon's fault...) On the other hand, I'm not sure why others think life doesn't begin until you're in a stable, committed relationship. I don't hold to either of these ideas.

Coming up on 28, I've had a pretty good run so far. I won't regale you with a list of my accomplishments to date because, well, I'm not a high school student applying to college. (And who wants to read that anyway?) Neither will I deny that I haven't accomplished everything I hope to do in my lifetime, and I'm certainly not married yet. I hope marriage is a part of that lifetime sometime, but I'm not going to stop living now just because it's now a part of my life right now. (For the record, I also don't plan to stop living once I do marry, whenever (if) that happens.)

The blogs I mention read kind of like bucket lists at times, but this isn't one of those. For lack of a better term, these are some of my New Year's Resolutions. (A friend of mine resolved not to make any resolutions because this time of year isn't good for his resolve.) My list of resolutions includes a host of what I'll call "life fixes". (I don't have a better name for them right now. Do you have any ideas?) Instead of setting concrete goals, although I have those as well, I resolve to make choices and develop habits to improve my overall being.

*Connect more with the people in my life. Write monthly to the children I sponsor. Exchange letters with friends. Call my family more.

*Celebrate happiness. Last year, I had a happiness bucket for a hot minute. Now I have a happiness wall.
2.27 update: My sticky notes didn't stick to the wall. It's a happiness vase now. It's working:

Look at all that happiness in just two months!
*Be less critical when criticism is unasked or not constructive. This is particularly in relation to criticism from a distance, criticism of people I don't know, and criticism to make myself feel superior. (Hello, character flaw! Let's root you out!)

*Compliment others generously (and genuinely).

*Invest in people's lives. Ask how things are going. Follow up about projects, transitions, etc. Be present!

*Spend less time comparing my happiness/success with that of others.

Basically, it's all about being a decent, loving human being to myself and to the rest of humanity. If you're present in my life, I hope you'll hold me accountable. If we're not connected on a personal level, I hope you find something in this list worth applying to your own life. If you're inspired, I hope you'll connect through the comments and share your own "life fixes".

Whatever your marital status, age, or number of things to do,
here's to being present in 2014! I'm glad I'm here with you.

At 27, I went kayaking for the first time!
[with Sarah and Ryan (and also Mallory, who is taking the picture)]