Awesome Audiobooks

I’ve always got a big stack of books (or several stacks) laying around, waiting to be read. Historically, I am really bad about actually picking them up and reading them. There are several reasons for this:

  • I tend to read at night before bed, when I’m likely to fall asleep two sentences in;
  • Netflix…watching Friends reruns is more relaxing than actually using my brain to take in new information or stories;
  • I read a lot for my job, so often my eyeballs and brain are tired and not inclined to further use in my free time;
  • The books I want to read (like the ones in the picture above) serve a purpose beyond mere entertainment…I want to get something out of them, and sometimes I’m just too emotionally exhausted to put in the work.

During a very long solo road trip recently, however, I discovered something I should have thought of long ago: audio books. I figured I would have to be alone but awake and alert for so many hours, I should download some books to listen to as I drove. I’m ashamed to admit that I bought two audiobooks that were already part of my “to-read” pile. I double paid for them (and audiobooks are expensive! Why?), but by gosh, I finally got them read. I listened to Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin and Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg as I drove, and I completely loved both of them. The sense of accomplishment from finally getting two books out of my towering stack feels great, and my enjoyment of these two books has fueled me to keep moving through the stack. I finished the actual paperback version of Daring Greatly by Brene Brown today. I also downloaded the Goodreads app to keep track of what I have read and want to read. It’s so energizing and gratifying to read (or listen to) books of substance and value, rather than just watching endless Netflix loops.

To be sure, there is still plenty of Netflix in my life. But it’s so nice that the simple shift of trying a different reading format has rekindled my desire to read. I’m trying not to buy any more duplicate audiobooks of books that are physically sitting in my stack, but I’m excited to seek out more audiobooks to add to my virtual Goodreads stack. I do have one question though…what is the deal with audiobooks costing 3+ times as much as hard copies?

 

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Celebrating Freedom

I closed a major chapter of uncertainty, anxiety, and shame today. I feel lighter than I have felt in years. I had a phone call this morning with my lawyer. I had a lawyer. Never thought I would say that. It wasn’t related to anything criminal, but I needed a lawyer to help me get through some difficult things. This morning, in a pleasant phone call with the woman who has been my lifeline, we reviewed some details and financial info, then I said goodbye to my lawyer. Hopefully for the last time, unless it’s to meet her in person (we’ve only ever spoken on the phone), I thanked her for her help and hung up. A huge weight lifted off of me, one that I’ve been carrying for a long time.

The lightness was tempered when I thought, almost immediately, of the long road ahead and the many things still on my plate to tackle. But instead of letting that thought drag me down, I consciously decided that I would allow myself some time (the whole day sounds good) to revel. I’m giving myself permission to be joyful and free for the rest of the day. I took myself to one of my favorite spots for lunch. For the first time in memory, I sat alone at a bar and drank a beer and ate lunch. The old Cheers– style bar regulars who sat on either side of me were pleasant but didn’t make small talk. I was all alone to savor my strawberry cider (okay, it was cider, not beer, and it tasted like dessert) and salad.

I was also alone when my saga (the one that necessitated hiring a lawyer) began, but I was crushed under a boulder of guilt, shame, anxiety, FEAR. Today, I celebrated the end of my case, alone as well. But now I feel free. And while I was eating lunch alone, I realized I’m no longer really alone. I have a team of people who know me, like really know me, and support me. I have a boyfriend who knows about depression and anxiety, both mine and in general, and still loves me for me. And now, best of all, I have myself. Strange to think that I never had me before. Now I know how to support myself, how to understand and handle my feelings, and how to be inquisitive and compassionate with myself. I finished this massive battle on my own, with only the team that I recruited for backup.

When I hung up the phone with my lawyer, even though it was an innocuous call and I wasn’t worried or anxious about it, I said out loud, “I am a badass bitch.” Well, really I exclaimed it and jumped out of my chair. Then I fell to my knees on the carpet, leaned over a leather chair and thanked God over and over for getting me to today, while tears steadily hit the leather below my bowed face. I am so lucky, and so lucky to realize that I’m lucky. Whatever happens, my pain had a purpose, and I’ll be uncovering the full depth of that purpose for the rest of my life. And while the hard stuff will return and I will feel the pressure of worry again, for today, I have permission to be carefree, from the only person who has the power to control how I feel…ME.