Past Me has been a real slacker around here. I guess she took that “time away from the keyboard” thing to heart. But Present Me is, well, present. And ready to redesign the blogplay Bubble Mania reflect and write again.
I can’t believe it’s been a decade since Angie and I graduated from high school. It seems like just yesterday that we were learning how to drive, editing the school newspaper, and studying for the SATs. But time flies, and now the infamous 10-year reunion is upon us.
That’s from a recent column that I co-wrote with my friend Angie: “10 Years After High School.” I meant to blog about it weeks ago, but then I never did.
Spoiler: I did end up going to the reunion, and even enjoying myself. I haven’t sorted out all my thoughts on it yet — but I will, because Angie and I are going to write a follow-up column. In the meantime, here’s the tweet-summary:
Just got back from my high school reunion. Way more fun than I was expecting! But also a lot less like Romy & Michele's than I was hoping.
For an introvert, socializing can be draining. When it comes down to it, the internet is all about socialization these days, no matter how you look at it. I absolutely love the internet, but I’m tired of always feeling like I’m at the end of my rope because of all the noise I’m adding to my day. There are sometimes a hundred tiny interactions I have with people throughout the day, and even when they’re good things, happy conversations, encouraging words, beautiful photos, inspiring posts…it still drains me.
I need to be able to disappear from a social network without having to worry about what it will do to my stats or online presence.
I struggle a lot when I know I’m capable of doing something great, but doing it wouldn’t be great for me.
My best friend Angie recently came to visit. She’s a go-go-go kind of person, so we had a very busy few days. Art and ice cream in Columbus, hiking and thrifting at Hocking Hills State Park, and long drives and deep conversations woven throughout.
While she was here, I simply didn’t have time to blog. Then, even after Angie left, I found myself enjoying the “silence.” It’s not that I didn’t want to blog, or that I didn’t have anything to say. It’s just that… It felt right to step away for a bit.
(Tweeting, email, and FB were all at a bare minimum too.)
The thing is, I spend most of my waking hours at the computer. And I really don’t mind that. I’m a homebody who is very comfortable entertaining myself by reading, writing, and watching videos of puppies.
But the more I’m plugged in, the more I realize how important it is for me to disconnect too.
Maybe it’s different for other people, but my life is not lived online. My life is processed and preserved online, and that’s important to me. I enjoy doing it. But that’s not living.
For me, living is exploring a new part of town. Taking a chance on a restaurant I just discovered. Walking around a park in the chilled autumn air, and swinging on a playground next to a little girl.
Living is talking with my friends for hours. Not about the weather, or TV, or even politics, but about love, and work, and the things that are driving us crazy, and the things that we still hope to accomplish, and the things that we fear we never will. It’s about discovering ourselves while we get to know someone else deeply. It’s about honesty and vulnerability and connecting.
I’ve been lucky to do a lot of living this year. Vacations, visits from friends, walks with my dog, road trips with my fiancé. And yet — I’m embarrassed to say this — sometimes the thought of being away from the computer stresses me out. I can’t help thinking of all those minutes “stolen” from my writing. I can’t help wanting to stay in my comfort zone.
But it’s only worrisome until I do it. Once I step away, I realize how ridiculous I was being. And how great it feels to be out in the world.
Living is the reason I prioritize family, friends, and travel. Living is what fuels my writing. Living is what I do away from the keyboard, so that I have something worthwhile to bring to the keyboard.
Please note: My “Reading Reflections” are not reviews. They are simply my thoughts in response to certain passages.
There is no way for me to fit all of my memories and feelings about college into the confines of a blog post. But somehow, author Rainbow Rowell has managed to capture them – my emotions, my experiences — within the pages of her latest novel, FANGIRL.
The tiny dorm rooms. The kind but intimidating professors. The musty, maze-like library. The snowy walks between classes. Seeing different sides of people you thought you knew. Faltering as a writer. Growing as a writer. Falling in love. Making your own home. Living up to other people’s expectations. Learning how to be okay with not living up to them.
All that, and so much more. Rainbow Rowell is now 3-for-3 for me, which means I’ll read pretty much anything/everything she writes from here on out. (Her other two books are ELEANOR & PARK and ATTACHMENTS, in case you were wondering. Which you should be.) I guess you could call me a… fangirl?
(Sorry, I had to.)
“I don’t want to kiss a stranger,” Cath would answer. “I’m not interested in lips out of context.”
Neither am I. Never really have been, for some reason.
Oh, there is a boldness inside me, and sometimes she imagines what it would be like to have “hooked up” with someone. Or to be single in her 20s and dating around. But at the end of the day, that boldness is best served — is happiest — in my stories. She likes adventure without consequences, which doesn’t exist in real life, but is beautifully abundant through fiction.
“How do you not like the internet? That’s like saying, ‘I don’t like things that are convenient. And easy. I don’t like having access to all of mankind’s recorded discoveries at my fingertips. I don’t like light. And knowledge.’”
On the one hand: SO TRUE.
On the other hand: The internet is evil. It’s such a distraction. And such a dangerous distraction, because it distracts you by pretending to be useful. One second you’re researching a “small” and “quick” detail for your story — an hour later, you’ve got a dozen different tabs open, ranging from Wikipedia to the latest controversial think-piece to (let’s be honest) Twitter.
So, I love the internet. But I hate it at the same time.
“I’m afraid,” Professor Piper said, “afraid that you’re never going to discover what you’re truly capable of. That you won’t get to see — that I won’t get to see — any of the wonder that’s inside of you.”
I think that’s what we all fear. Isn’t it?
On a related note — but detouring away from the context of FANGIRL — I don’t care for the one-size-fits-all definition of “seeing the wonder” that our society encourages. In other words, fame & fortune. That is not the only way that wonder can be recognized or valued. And yet that seems to be what we’re telling people matters most. If you’re not spectacular, you’re nothing.
Except that isn’t true at all.
This wasn’t good, but it was something. Cath could always change it later. That was the beauty in stacking up words — they got cheaper, the more you had of them. It would feel good to come back and cut this when she’d worked her way to something better.
Oh words. Words words words. I’ve got to try and remember that you are free. Free to use, free to be bad, free to delete later. Free, and not to be feared.
Disclosure: I make money off this site. Very little, but I want to be open about it. There are ads in the sidebar, and sometimes Amazon Affiliate links in the posts. I never do paid content or reviews. That's it. So are we cool? Awesome!
My Web Serial / Ebook
Beautiful and confident Sophie Lin, goody-goody aspiring writer Claudia Bradford, and boy-crazy scientist MJ Alexander are ready to tackle work, love, and life after college -- or so they think.
As their relationships go sour, their careers sputter, and a few too many ethical dilemmas arise, the girls turn to the one thing they can always count on: each other. But even that will be put to the test...
Welcome to New House 5. It’s not just the top floor of a brand new dorm. For 56 freshmen, it’s home. A place where friends are made and doors are always open. A place where hearts are broken and tears are shed.
Watch as these students try to overcome their flaws and fears to create a bond so special that nothing can pull them apart. Not even themselves.