I ate my first book. It was one of those indestructible, pseudo-fabric “baby’s first book” books, but I ate it. I believe this to be the reason behind my love for reading and writing, for all things literary. As a child, my hunger for literature was fed by trips to the local library; as a teenager, I worked there. I would imagine that the books waiting patiently on the shelves were all mine. Entering a book store, be it an old, weathered corner store in the pocket of a small town or a fresh, commercial chain in a bustling market district, I am confronted with such a menu of choices that my mind growls with anticipation at the meal ahead. Books have a texture, a smell, a feel that elicit a physically powerful emotion, a hunger. A professor and I once had a conversation about this emotion, and his statement that “books are sexy” came closest to identifying it. I harbor a lust for books; they evoke an alluring sensuality and mystery that is a physical attraction.
Despite the craziness of my schedule, I try to make time for reading for pleasure. Often times this means a chapter or two a week, but reading is one of the joys of my life, and one that I refuse to give up – no matter what. I belong to two book clubs, one real-life and one virtual, and they are such a source of pleasure. Recently, my real-life club read Eleanor and Park. Wow. Just. Wow. Go buy it, check it out of the library, download it, whatever you do. It was phenomenal. Some other recent loves include The Goldfinch, Tell the Wolves I’m Home, Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, The Fault in Our Stars, and Wonder. Loved them. Favorite authors include John Irving, Haven Kimmel, Lorna Landvik, Michael Crichton, Michael Chabon. . .
However, earlier this week I finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I loved it. Such an open, honest, raw evaluation of herself as she spent a year trying to increase the happiness level in her already happy life. Although I have not reached the point where I want to take on my own happiness project, there are several concepts within her project that I have begun to think about in terms of what they would be in my own life. I think I have enough going on right now (remember that first post? LOL), but there are definitely some of her practices that can add to my life and help me navigate all of my current interests and pursuits.
One of these is The Twelve Commandments. These are 12 rules by which one lives life, “overarching principles” that guide one’s life. I have to admit that I am following her lead with my first commandment: Be Lisa. She, of course, had “Be Gretchen” as her number one commandment. I promise to be more creative with my other 11, but she just got this one right and there is no reason to mess with a good thing, right?
Be Lisa. So simple, but so difficult. I am who I am, no questions asked. Is that a good thing? Sometimes and sometimes not. Yet, I cannot – will not – be anyone else. I am reflective, yet spontaneous; trusting, yet fiercely protective; optimistic, yet anxiety-ridden; forgiving of everyone, yet intolerant of myself. . . a living paradox. Regardless, I cannot be any other way, nor do I want to be any other way. This is me. I love to read. I love to write. I love to geocache. I love coffee. I love the beach. I am happy to be at home with my hubby, Cira, and the kitties. I enjoy time with friends, but need alone time. Hope to one day live on the water. Always have a bunch of projects going on at one time – multi-tasking is the name of the game. Impatient when I see the need for something to change and others do not see it as quickly as I can see it. Music and singing are a passion, and I cannot imagine life without them. Would be a student for perpetuity if possible. Excited for the future and all of the possibilities ahead with PhD, voice over, That’s My Grape!, etc., but a bit fearful, too, because, well, change can be a bit scary.
Essentially, I am Lisa, and I don’t know any other way to be. I am happy with me, the person that I am at my core. There are always things about oneself that a person wishes to change or works on improving, and I am no different, but it’s taken me a long time to learn to love me, faults and all, and so I keep in my life friends who can appreciate me for me – the good, the bad, and the ugly. So, it makes sense to begin my list of Twelve Commandments with the simplest, most obvious rule: Be Lisa. After all, this is the Golden Rule in my life – if something or someone doesn’t like me for me, chances are it or they are not part of my life. Gotta Be Lisa, or I wouldn’t Be Lisa.
Figuring out the First Commandment was easy, . . . now for the other 11!
What would be your First Commandment?