Wednesday, February 12, 2014

In Which I Look Back on Recent Years and Decide to Make Changes

I was a student at UC Santa Barbara for something like 7 years. I wasn't a student the whole time, mind you. I think that if I added up all the quarters in which I actually registered for classes, it'd be more like 5. Whether taking classes or not, though, I lived in IV (that's Isla Vista for those who are unaware), I did stuff on campus, and generally tried to act like a student, hoping that no one would somehow deduce that I wasn't able to hack it that quarter. (I did, eventually, graduate. With a degree and everything.)

While I was there, I started dating a particularly nice girl who, with a great deal of time and patience, would help to break me out of some of my more juvenile habits. (Later, she very graciously consented to marry me.) According to her, one of her friends, on being introduced to me, said something like "that's the guy that's always walking around reading."

I was really good at walking around reading. There's a certain degree of skill required to do that at UCSB without being killed by a bicycle. I had honed my skills to the point that I could even cross bike paths, in the middle of the day, without becoming a statistic. And this girl had apparently seen me walking around campus with my nose buried in a book often enough that I had become, to her, Reading Guy. She was amazed that I hadn't been run over. I like to pretend that I don't crave notoriety, but even now, 15 years later, this fills me with an indescribable feeling of joy. I was a Guy, who had a Thing, and my Thing was reading.

In light of this, I was distressed to realize, on December 31, when my wife told me that she had read 35 books in 2013, and was less than 100 pages from finishing the 36th, that I couldn't come up with even 10 books I had read in the last 12 months. I read to the kids every night. Last year we read The Hobbit, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Wind in the Willows,  and I'm sure there are others. I had apparently forgotten to read anything to myself, however. I had paid very close attention to Twitter and Reddit, and had been engaged in some heated contention for control of Culver City on Ingress, but there had been little time for books. I have decided that I need to change that this year.

This isn't one of those "social networks are evil" posts. I still use Twitter, though I did reduce the number of people I follow. I gave up on Facebook quite a while ago. Since I started reading again on New Year's Day, I haven't launched Ingress more than once. I gave myself a challenge on Goodreads of 30 books this year, and I've already read 7. According to Goodreads, I'm 4 books ahead of schedule.

1 comment:

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