February–Ruminating on South Sudan

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I’ll start this post off this month by saying I’ve been a bad reader. I’m a little frustrated that I’ve been so consistent with this blog for over a year, reading 2-5 books a month and posting regularly, to fall off the wagon in February with only 1 novel to share and a monthly recap coming in four days late. Ugh.

However, the reasons I’ve been a bad reader are because I’ve been excelling in other areas of life. Hardly an excuse, I know, especially since one of my favorite life mottos to espouse is that we must always make time to read (cheers to Confucius: “No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”).

This month, I was a very productive bride, finalizing our cake, our hotel blocks, our registry, our photographer, our videographer, and our wedding coordinator. These were ticky-tacky details that required reading of contracts, negotiating fees, and comparing minuscule details that seemed both mundane and completely essential. I was also a good teacher, coordinating our school’s first Read Across America event where students decorated their doors, dressed up as book characters, and community members joined classes for reading and activities. It wasn’t a perfect event, but it was an extra passion project that didn’t fall within the normal scope of my job, and it earned me the Employee of the Month award, on top of giving many of my friends and family an opportunity to get to know my students. Lastly, I was a good fiancee as my partner began the training routine for his new job, a new 9 to 5 schedule that has included many tough workouts. This has left many of the cleaning and cooking chores we normally split to me, on top of being left with a man who was cranky, exhausted, and worried about not being the best firefighter in his group.

So, while I wish I could say I was a better reader, I also realize my shortcomings this month were not for nothing.

Nevertheless, Michael Paterniti’s Love and Other Ways of Dying was a cerebral, heartfelt journey across the globe and across the human experience. Scatter-brained and spread thin as I was this month, it was lovely to check in with these diverse essays for a pitiful 15 pages a night before passing out in bed. From plane crashes to Albert Einstein’s remains, this collection was unusually poignant and a great means for reflecting on the peculiar and tender nature of life in a fast-paced, short month.

I’ve realized I have been reading less since getting engaged; each time I crack open a book, I wind up on Pinterest or adding items to my checklist. I’ll only be engaged once, so I’m trying not to be too hard on myself for this, but I hope with Spring Break and wedding planning progress on the horizon, I’ll be able to pick up the pace just a little. Here’s to finding a balance between being a successful human and a literate blogger!

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