Have you read Unbroken?
I read it a while ago now, but any time I spot it on my bookshelf, or someone brings up WWII, my mind immediately drifts to this story an Olympian, turned Army Air Corpsman, turned POW, turned vet with PTSD, turned to one of the wisest, kindest human beings known. The story of Louis Zamperini changed my perspective on a million moments in life.
Mostly forgiveness, the beauty of love and the toxicity of hate.
His story is beautiful, and if you have yet to read it, please go buy the book. Right now. Because next month, the movie, directly by Angelina Jolie, comes out. My sister and I are counting down the days.
And in the meantime, you should read this interview Louis had with The Atlantic over the past few years, before is death in July (he was 97). The man was wise and had an outlook not many can carry out. He is so admired. And I so look forward to this movie.
To all of those who have served, are serving or who will serve this country in the future, you are so appreciated, so loved and so supported.
As I sat at my desk this morning, all too familiar with this week looming ahead — the endless events, the early mornings, the late nights, the no time to cook so spending money on Mexican Caesar salads from Chop’t — I made a mental note that I had already created the negativity in my mind. I had already told myself “November 3rd? That week will suck. November 7th everything will finally be back to normal, but until then, I will just complain my days away because I deserve it.”
It’s November 3rd. And, while internalizing my thoughts about this week, I decided to make a change. So I took a post-it note and a pen and I wrote “no complaining”, underlined twice, and stuck that note right on my computer so there was no missing it, no pretending it wasn’t there. And when a co-worker started venting about someone else or some insane situation, I nodded my head and looked at that post-it, reassuring myself that this week is not just hard for me, it’s hard for everyone I work with.
And my life is not hard when compared to countless others. So stop complaining.
And Mondays don’t suck. Mondays are awesome. Really, Mondays are awesome.
I hope you had a terrific day.
My sister flew to California this week, and as a parting text, she asked for book recommendations. And lately, in the experience of the vaguely familiar sense of “free-time”, I had a book to point her to.
And then I realized, in the past two months, I have read 9 books! What a wonderful realization! My subway times have not been wasted away listening to shitty music and people watching (although both probably have occurred). But I have somehow been making my way through books, long and short, bad and good.
Plus, I joined a book club. If that doesn’t force someone to sit down and read, nothing will. It’s like homework and even if I do not particularly like the book assigned, there is a affirmation that comes with finishing that book.
And conversations are centered around books (I think I spoke to someone for 20 minutes last weekend swapping lists, adding and listening to anecdotes). I love the feeling of being so immersed in a book you want to stay up all night reading, or that while you are working, it’s all you can think about.
Below are some books that have made me feel that way… and some books I can’t wait to read. Read any good ones lately? (You can see what I think of the below on Goodreads, my go-to site for book lists.)
The Goldfinch: currently reading
All the Light We Cannot See: read
This Is Where I Leave You: read
Gone Girl: read
Let the Great World Spin: to-read
The Rosie Project: to-read
Love Does: to-read
The Language of Flowers: to-read
Have you read any of these? I’d love to hear what you thought!
This past weekend, Josh and I were walking through the East Village to meet some friends for dinner. As we headed north on Avenue A, passing Thompson Square Park, I noticed a girl swinging at the playground. She was alone, and I could hear the familiar sound of creaking as she kicked forward and fell back, forward and back. She seemed so peaceful, methodical. I blurted that I wanted to swing… not to Josh, exactly, just to anyone, but completely interrupting whatever conversation we were having.
At recess, ever so long ago, swinging was “my thing” (unless, of course, red rover was being played). Swinging felt like almost flying while still being safe; your stomach could drop slightly, adrenaline could build, you could kick the sky. If you closed your eyes, you could completely loose track of where you were. I’ve tried to swing on our old swing set at home, but my legs kick the ground now and nephews would rather be pushed.
But this swing set may be my size. And while I’m late in experiencing it (Savannah and Matt took a ride last year), I do hope the Waterfall Swing makes it’s way back to New York so I can take a spin. Otherwise, I’ll settle for Thompson Square Park this weekend.
I’m a week late on this. That tends to be happening — being late, neglecting this space. And I’ve been noticing and missing and needing to create and be here. But life has had other plans, busy plans, work plans, trying to catch up on sleep plans. So I did just that, worked hard and caught up on sleep after the craziest and best year of my life.
Our wedding. And our reception. And our honeymoon (pictures to come). And less writing here because of those three crazy big things that consumed this summer. Those crazy wonderful things that made us husband and wife.
So as I dive into 26, I can’t help but reflect on what I set out to do in my 25th year and what I can do to better myself in my 26th. Last year, I planned to be intentional, something that, if I were to measure and could measure, I may have failed at. This is something that it not intuitive to me and I wish in every decision I made, it was intentional instead of a whim. But I do think by planning a big day and taking part in so many “big days”, I am learning to be more intentional; it continues to be something I will work on.
Being kind allows you to see the kindness in the world around you. And it makes you love the world around you. When you are angry or annoyed (which comes to us often), kill your offender with kindness, and your worries will go away. I also vowed to be confident, keep sweating and keep learning. Three things I will take with me into 26, along with the following…
-Be decisive and strong. I’m not a decisive person and not because I don’t care or I don’t know — because I want to make people happy and perhaps what’s best for me is not what they want (example: choosing a restaurant). So this year I’m going to work on deciding on the small things in life.
-Live healthy. This has become a priority to me in the past two years: eating healthier, focusing on being happy in my skin, using healthy products in my day to day life. But it’s an ongoing process and I’m excited to continue to grow!
-Prioritize with clarity. Sometimes I take on too much, sometimes I take on too little. I need to learn to prioritize in all aspects in life — what is most important to me and be intentional in saying no to those that I’m not finding the time to do.
-Stop complaining. I’ve been struggling with this immensely lately. Everything coming out of my mouth sounds like a complaint. I’m not quite sure how to turn this around yet, but I’ll study and get back to you.
-Christ-filled. This adventure to focus on the purpose here is ever changing and growing. And I hope that it continue to mold me into the Christ-filled person I strive to be.
Here is to another amazing year, full of love kindness and friends. 25 will be hard to beat but I’m up to the challenge.