Finding My Happy Place

I’m not going to go all Elizabeth Gilbert on you and gush about trips to exotic trips where I’ve found myself in some transcendent moment of self-discovery. I’m far too cynical for that, even though I not so secretly wish that I could drop everything (including my timidity) and run around the world for a little while.

This marks the evening of Day 3 of my current 10 day “no extra media” stint.  These things are my type of cleanse dieting ritual. Only when I do this, my brain goes into withdrawals, not my body. Day 1 wasn’t so bad. I had a busy day at work where I got things done, followed by Zumba at the gym and the second night of a new study. Day 2 was a little harder but still manageable. My adorable little nephew got to come over for dinner, and hang out for a while afterwards.

Trouble struck once he left. See, my evening usually consist of watching TV shows on hulu and trolling Buzzfeed and facebook. All of those are currently under my no media ban, so what did I do? I stared at the walls in my room and drifted off to sleep sometime between 8:30 and 9:00. Hmm. What’s my excuse for that? Somehow the maps that hang all around my room must not have seemed so interesting last night, and three nights in a row at the gym was more than I’m used to right now. I’m not sure if that excuses me falling asleep so early, but it was enough for me to determine that today would be different.

The key seems to be me needing to go back to some old habits that have existed for much of my life, long before facebook and hulu existed. Those happy days of childhood, right? Today I determined to do things a little differently. First, I decided to not work on homework for the online class I’m taking. I’ll save it for Saturday. That’s okay. Instead I took the dogs for a walk, and called Miss Holly for a chat. That was a much more enjoyable experience than going to the gym.

After dinner things got trickier. What to do, what to do. Ah! But of course! To my happy place!

For those of you who have paid attention to my ramblings over the years, you’ll know that my happy place could be one of two places 1) nature and 2) any place that has lots of books. Given that it now gets dark about 7:00, the bookstore sounded like a better option.

I cruised over to B & N – the one bookstore still standing in this town, and perhaps for only a couple more months – and stepped inside. College students crowded over textbooks at the cafe’s mini tables, mothers and fathers drug their children through the store, and an older couple poured over a book together near the cash register. What did I do? I wandered.

First to the tables full of new books, then to travel, then psychology, sociology, business, fiction. I couldn’t figure out what I was in the mood for. My tastes have changed so much these past few years. Fiction is usually off-limits, a side-effect of having read so much of it in college. Two years ago food/cooking/diets and travel were the genre of choice, but that phase has come and gone. Travel? No. I’ve felt much more settled lately. My wanderlust is hibernating. So what then do I read?

Ultimately, I went for two books and a compromise. One social science, one fiction. In honor of this week’s theme, I bought, The Digital Divide: Arguments for and Against Facebook, Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Networking, and Girl in Translation. 

Want to take a guess as to which is the fiction and which is a collection of essays? The other top contender was a humorous memoir about life without kids. Eh. Maybe I’ll come back for that one another day. I made it in and out with my new treasures in about an hour without having a sales person pester me asking if I need help. It’s like an introvert’s dream.

Speaking of dreams…I’ll confess the fantasy before I leave to explore these new texts. I totally have the fantasy of meeting someone as we reach for the same book. Our hands brush as we awkwardly stammer that the other person can take the book because, hey, they got there first. Then we both make excuses about how we didn’t really want it anyway and walk away, wondering if we just met the person fate held out to us.

Yes. Seriously. I would love for that to happen. Not so much luck so far. I’ve had a few significant life conversations in and around books, but none that quite match up to that made-in-a-movie scene. Maybe someday. I’ve got a few days left in this media fast. Maybe I’ll make a return trip soon.

Back with a vengeance. Or rather, more words than I’ve ever typed in one post. If you made it to the end, congratulations. Check back soon. I may be writing more than I normally do these next few days. I’ve missed it. This whole reading to writing proportion of time needs to find a better equilibrium.

Before you go, tell me – Where is your happy place and what makes it awesome?