In the past year, I’ve had the sneaking suspicion that my brain is turning to mush. I quote TV shows and movies more than lines from great works of literature or, yes, even the Bible. Every time I see an interesting book in the store I think, “Wow, I should read that,” then go home and pick up Something Borrowed for the fifth time. My life is turning into one romantic comedy after another, with some goldfish crackers in between.
After college I was so over studying (ok so I didn’t study that hard, but still) that I didn’t want to read anything that required actual thinking. I have still read non-fiction books by Christian authors that provoke thought, but somehow that’s different. They stimulate me spiritually more than intellectually. When I was a Young Life intern, we were required to attend training where we had to read theology and write papers. I realized then that I was definitely rusty on the academic front, but it was refreshing to stretch my brain again; its a worthwhile organ to keep in shape.
But it’s been five years since I graduated college (yikes) and I’ve been feeling the desire to study again. The trouble is, I can’t decide what I want to go back to school for and think that maybe I want to go back because I’m bored. If I find something I’m really passionate about, I’ll go back for another degree, but it’s not worth all the work if I’m only doing it to pass the time. I’ve been working in an office for about a year and half, doing work that definitely does not require a college degree. Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly thankful for my job. I’m still employed by Young Life and a part of that community; I also work with two women who mean the world to me. But the work itself is taking its toll because it just doesn’t stimulate my brain. I’m not challenged by it. Now, funny enough, I remember as a teacher being so overstimulated at times that I longed to sit at a desk entering data in a computer screen. But, you know, the grass is always greener. While I do enjoy most parts of my job and do have administrative gifts, I’m just too much of an extrovert to really enjoy spending everyday in an office with no windows.
Like I said, I’ve had a desire lately to go back to school and I think a lot of it has sprung out of a growing boredom in my current job. But since I don’t know why I would go back to school, it occurred to me that there are many ways to expand my mind outside of the classroom. What’s one of the best ways? Reading. I’ve always loved history (which is why I chose to teach it) and so I’ve decided to start reading some more historical fiction and biographies. It’s time that I learned more about our country and the world and had something to contribute to intellectual conversations, instead of quoting Friends episodes.
So here we go – I’m choosing to read things other than *gasp* romantic chick-lit and Harry Potter. I’ve picked up 1776 by David McCullough and I’m looking forward to diving in. The problem is, this whole thing will take discipline, and I’m not always very disciplined. It’s going to be tough to enjoy reading about Abe Lincoln as much as I love spending time with my friends in their Traveling Pants. This doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy the occasional silly book – if you haven’t read The Princess Diaries books you really should because they’re hysterical – but I want to finally read the books that win awards and end up on best seller lists.
On my Library tab I keep a list of books that go along with this new resolve. I created that list at the beginning of the year and am sad to say I haven’t made much progress. But better late than never! I’m determined. I need to read more classics; if one more person tells me how much they adore East of Eden, I’m going through my hands up in the air and say “Alright already!” as I head to the library to get it.
I’m looking forward to learning again. I think it’s important to be a life-long learner and to do the things we always say we’re going to do. I’ve been learning that a lot this year, to get off my butt and just do it already. Join me, it’ll be fun! Then we can sit around and talk about how much we love The Great Gatsby while I play you a song I just learned on the guitar.