Recently, I got back into reading novels in paperback form. To be honest, I haven’t read a novel in several years. The last book I read was on a tablet (H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine). While I have quite a few eBooks, I’ve made very little time to read them. Out of curiosity, I checked on the status of The Sholan Alliance, a book series penned by Lisanne Norman, which I have been reading since 2003. The penultimate book in the series was released in 2010, and I wondered if I had missed picking up the last book since it had been seven years. Amazingly, I had chosen the right moment to look. The final book, Circle’s End, finally came out in September of this year and I purchased it without a second thought. I read the book on my lunch breaks at work and it felt good to read fiction on paper. As informative as reading the news via phone is, sometimes it’s nice to escape somewhere else even if only for a half hour per day.

Letting my imagination soar was a fantastic experience. It was more enjoyable than watching videos, going on social media, or playing video games. While other entertainment is fun, there’s just something special about paper books. There’s no buffer time while waiting for a video to load, no frustration from the latest events on social media, and I don’t have to find a save point like in a video game when it is time return to work. In short, reading fiction may have kicked started something I haven’t done in a long while and I realized how much I missed reading fiction.

Now that I’m finished with the nearly 500 page book, I may have to find something else to read while on my lunch break. Momentum and interest are on my side, and it seems like a good time to pick up the novels I told myself I would return to someday.

 

Do you enjoy reading fiction? If so, what catches your attention?

Summer Read by LWYang of Flickr

Summer Read by LWYang of Flickr

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Recently, I participated in a group project at work where we looked at a problem, found root causes, and came up with a solution to fix it (in our case, this meant creating an internal document to help with a particular task). I really like working for a company that encourages employees to get involved with identifying and solving problems to help make our work quicker and more efficient. I also received a request to speak (very briefly) about our group’s work–what we did, how we collected data, and the document we came up with. This portion is a bit more of a struggle for me.

hate public speaking. I’m sure I’ve written about this before on the blog because it’s something that I’ve experienced almost my whole life. The idea of speaking in front of a room full of people is terrifying to me (worse than spiders, even!). This particular “speech” I’m going to make is literally going to be only a few sentences but it’s going to be in front of my entire department. I know I’m going to turn red (I’m already kind pinkish-pale on normal days, so when I blush I blush), maybe forget what I want to say, etc. So why am I doing it? Because as much as I hate it and as uncomfortable as it makes me, it’s necessary in my job and I want to do well.

I want to push myself out of my comfort zone and I want to do things that make me uncomfortable so that I become more confident in myself. There are very few feelings that compare to the one I get when I finish doing a presentation and I know that I did well. Actually, this is part of my personal “goal” for 2017 that I set when I met with my manager for my year end review (almost a year ago now–I can’t believe it!)–participate in and present in at least 2 presentations to the department in order to strengthen my public speaking skills. This upcoming “presentation” will be my third for the year. I think that’s cause enough for celebration, don’t you?

How about you? Do you get nervous before speaking in public and, if so, how do you deal with that?

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The plan to give my house a winter cleaning was mostly successful. I started cleaning on Friday afternoon before work and then returned to finish the job on Saturday. It was a tough task because some chores literally hadn’t been done since moving into this duplex two years ago. I began cleaning around 4PM and didn’t finish until 11PM that evening. I was so tired that I ended up taking the following morning off from church. The only regret I had was not being able to clean my storage room. Everything else went well. Amusingly, working with expanding foam makes for an interesting experience since it is very sticky. I still have areas of foam I need to trim, but I’ll do so at my leisure in the future. At the end of the day, it felt good to scratch some long overdue chores off my list.

The following weekend was spent in the opposite manner. I decided I needed a long rest, so I spent Saturday sleeping in and recovering. I also took some time to get started on some Halloween themed video games for the weekend. On Sunday, I managed to balance light chores (food shopping and cooking) with a day of video games. I started playing on and off around 4:30PM and didn’t call it a night until after 4AM (which is close to my weekday working hours). It’s rare that I have a long gaming session and it felt nice.

Sometimes you just need to take some off for yourself and do whatever it is you enjoy, without worry or stress– taking that time off feels even better after accomplishing a few major tasks.

 

How do you unwind after finishing a big personal project?

DualShock 3 by Joey of Flickr

DualShock 3 by Joey of Flickr

This past weekend, my best friend and I treated ourselves to a wine tasting in the city, followed by a nice, quiet dinner. I haven’t felt so refreshed after seeing a friend in I can’t remember how long. We talked about everything–work, our families and friends, what we’ve both been doing recently–and we both were able to laugh and let off steam in equal measure. I highly recommend taking a few hours to hang out with a good friend, doing whatever you want to do–it’s good for the soul.

Talking about work with someone else who doesn’t do what I do was immensely helpful to me. Sure, I complained about the little things about my job that annoy me, but I also talked about what I enjoy doing day to day. She asked thoughtful questions about different aspects of my job that made me sit and think about what I do. I also thought about what I really like or love about my job. I think that kind of introspection is important and I certainly don’t do it enough. Talking with her made me consider where I want to go in my career as well as in my life–do I want to stay in the area I’m in, both in my job and in my home? If I do want to change jobs, what else am I interested in? Do I even want to make a change like that?

These types of questions are something that everyone should ask themselves from time to time. I think it’s important to do a kind of self check-in–how am I doing? Am I happy? If not, why not? If so, why? These questions, even if they sound simple and straightforward, take a lot of thought and introspection. I hadn’t done a check-in with myself in a long time because, in general, I’m pretty happy. I do think, though, that when a person is happy it’s a good time to assess goals and ideas for the future. I’ll make this confession: one of my biggest fears is feeling complacent in any area of my life. I never want to be afraid of or reluctant to change because I know that it’s so easy for me to stay where and as I am for a long time (I am afraid of change).

So go ahead–find that good friend (or group of friends) and hang out, talk, laugh, complain, and make each other think :).

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