What Alice Forgot: Book Review

Since getting involved with the book club through my local Air Force spouses group, I’ve read so many books that I might not have picked up on my own, and I love that.

Of course, since I’m one of the leaders of the book club, I do have some say in which books were a part of the poll, but our members voted on the top picks, and we ended up with a few that I wasn’t so sure about.

One of these books in particular was What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.

This was our November book club pick. I have to admit that I thought this would be another silly chick-lit book that I’d end up getting bored with halfway through & have pretentious feelings about. But, as it turns out, I was wrong.

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Resolution revolution

Every year, I make resolutions & barely keep them past week two. I want to change that by not making any resolutions at all.

{I think I wrote a post on this a while ago, buuuuut I’m fairly sure it got lost in the transition last week and I’ve been too dang lazy to figure out how to find those posts again… so here we are.}

It seems odd to think about starting the new year without making specific “resolutions.” It’s a family tradition to get together on New Year’s Eve (or a few days later… or a few weeks later…) and go through a multi-page document that my dad puts together, where we write down our favorites & memories from the last year, and make resolutions and predictions for the year ahead. As we’ve all gotten older, the predictions for each family member have been more and more similar from year to year! It’s always fun to go back to see the previous year’s predictions and to see where we were wrong or right.

For me, though, it is so disappointing to look back on those resolutions, year after year, and not be able to check off any of them as completed or kept.

Even if the year has been full of love and laughter and emotions and growth and all of that good stuff, it still makes me feel strangely inadequate to know that I wasn’t able to stick to these lofty resolutions that would’ve apparently made my year so much better and worthwhile.

So I’m rethinking my need to make resolutions this year.

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Dayton Coffee Crawl

I don’t think it really needs to be said, but I love coffee.

The first thing I do when I go to a new place is to search for a coffee shop to try out – & the second is to try to find a bookstore, so I think my priorities are set in the right places.

When I found out we were moving to Dayton, I was so concerned that for some reason, they wouldn’t know how to do good coffee in this random spot in Ohio. (I was spoiled by my east coast upbringing, I think) But after doing a quick Google search, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised!

Once we arrived in Dayton, we made pretty quick work of checking a few coffee shops I found off of my list. Somehow, though, I still haven’t managed to get to them all! Now that we’ve been here for over a year, I thought it would only be appropriate to do a series of posts that I’m going to call the Dayton Coffee Crawl – visits to every single local coffee shop in the area, with an overview and my thoughts on each one. Traditionally, “coffee crawls” are single-day tours of a number of coffee shops in an area, resulting in some SUPER CAFFEINATED people. But I don’t have the time for that and goodness knows my heart can’t handle too many shots of espresso in one day!! It’ll be a slow crawl.

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Bear with me

Please bear with me while I take a (hopefully) short ride on the struggle bus with my blog – I decided to switch to a self-hosted blog, and while many sites promised the transition to take just five minutes and be as easy as a few clicks, that has not been the case for me!

I’m currently missing about 30 posts (I don’t know which ones) and my galleries within posts are no longer formatted the way they used to be, so some things look a little wonky and not the way I planned. Changing this blog over to self-hosted is turning out to be a mess-and-a-half, complete with tears at 2am when I couldn’t even access my blog.

Here’s to hoping that things only get better & more beautiful!

In pursuit of passion

Maybe not everyone has one big passion, but many people seem to have that one passion that drives their career. It’s what they get higher education in, what they studied and practiced for, what gets them going in the morning, what gives them butterflies to think about.

I used to be so set that my passion was education. I thought, I’ll get a teaching license, get my first classroom, then have a career for life. But every time I thought about having 25+ children relying solely on me for their entire education for a year, my stomach dropped – & not in a good way. I kept telling myself that this was just nerves or self-doubt, again and again, as I was student teaching, doing pre-practicum, and searching for jobs after graduation. I’ll get that confident “teacher voice” one day, I kept telling myself. During those two weeks of full classroom takeover, I was a mess, but that was just because it’s my first time doing this, right? Being up in the front of the classroom isn’t supposed to feel totally natural at first, right?

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I’m not assuming that everyone who teaches feels totally natural at first, or even after their first full year, but to me, it just felt a little too unnatural. I don’t know if it ever really clicked. It felt like I was trying too hard at something that I didn’t have my head fully into. My heart was there, all there, still is there, but that’s not enough sometimes. Or it wasn’t enough for me. I’m not writing this to say that I’m completely, totally, & forever giving up on the idea of being a teacher – but that I’m thinking it’s just not for me at this moment, and I need to stop beating myself up for not going down that path right now. I’m listening to that tiny voice coming from the depths of my soul telling me that it’s okay to spend some time flopping around like a fish out of water, and that maybe I’m just trying to find the right pool to dive into.

Maybe it’s photography. Maybe it’s something in the coffee world. Maybe it’s being a librarian. Maybe it’s working in publishing. Maybe it’s writing a book. Maybe it’s something else that hasn’t even yet crossed my mind.

I keep trying to remind myself that this is normal. This is so fucking normal, especially for people my age. It’s also such a privilege to be able to spend any time at all waffling around with different career ideas & not having to rely on my job to pay all of the bills. I know I am so lucky to be where I am, and to have the time to figure things out. Still, it’s hard to be in this limbo where I have no purpose in particular & I don’t know exactly what I’m passionate about. Just because many of my peers have figured out where they’re going with their careers and are charging full speed ahead doesn’t make me any less-than. They are so lucky to have figured things out already. But of course, no matter how people appear on their resumes or their social media profiles, no one actually has it all figured out.

Not everyone’s life paths are as straight and narrow as they may seem. I think mine’s just got a few more curves at the start. But at least I’ve got a driver’s license and a great co-pilot to help me navigate. 

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Bit by the travel bug

Throwback Thursday turns into me looking through all of my old photos on Facebook, and reminiscing on all of the incredible travel opportunities I’ve had – which just makes me want to pack up a suitcase and hop across the pond. I’ve been bit by the travel bug & I don’t want to find a cure!

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The Emerald Isle

Tip-toeing out of my comfort zone

I’ve been a little bit MIA from my blog lately, partly because I’ve been under the weather and feeling very bleh, and partly because I’ve just had a lot going on at the moment that’s been taking up my mental energy. I’ve been more in the mindset to make endless mental to-do lists than I have been to come up with blog posts that I’m comfortable sharing.

But on that note about comfort…

With tiny baby steps, I’ve been trying to to tip-toe out of my comfort zone, ever so slightly.

How, you may ask?

Processed with VSCO with g3 presetI’m doing this by being active on the board of my local Air Force spouses group, which included helping to put on a holiday ball for ~250 people. Oh, and at that ball, I ended up wearing a dress that highlighted my very un-toned arms & shoulders, which I was sure people would judge me on – guess what, things got so busy that I ended up not caring about it and just enjoying myself. Wild, right?

I’m doing this by applying to jobs that I might not be 100% qualified for, but that could help put me in the right direction for a career that I would really like to explore. And I got an interview!

I’m doing this by posting pictures of myself, not just lattes, on my Instagram.

I’m doing this by doing a Christmas photoshoot for my friends & their families, which is something I’ve never done before. I had to confront feelings of possible inadequacy & major self-doubt around the photoshoot, which had been taking up a lot of mental space in the past few weeks. Taking pictures for a friend might not seem like a big deal to others, but to me, I could’ve ruined their Christmas cards with blurry, mediocre photos and wasted their time/money. The end result was even better than I had hoped for, and the photos will be cherished by these families for years to come.

 

I’m doing this by entertaining the idea of taking my photography hobby to the next level, which is scary & exhilarating & nerve-wracking & bringing back all those beautiful feelings of self-doubt… right now it’s just an idea, being spurred on by sweet friends & a supportive husband, so we’ll see where I end up with this.

I find that I’m a person with a lot of dreams that put butterflies in my stomach but that I don’t often make the leap out of my comfort zone to put these plans into action. I know that I won’t get very far staying in the confines of that zone, but I also know that forcing myself far out all at once is way too overwhelming for me. So for right now, I’m sticking with tip-toed, clinging-to-the-handrail baby steps. I’m working on letting go.

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Worry less – or don’t, whatever…

I’ll never be a free spirited, go-with-the-flow, super chill kind of person, and I’m mostly okay with that.

I tend to worry a lot about most things, big and small. Worrying is definitely not one of the traits I am most proud of, and it can lead to some intense feelings of anxiety sometimes, but, get this – I don’t think that all worrying is bad.

Sometimes my worrying causes me to catch details or issues that others might miss, or allows me to fully think through and process a situation in front of me. I can mentally prepare for multiple outcomes, as I have that “let me think of every single thing that can go right or wrong in this situation” kind of brain. This brain has also gotten me into many a sleepless night because I was pretty sure a murderer was about to break into my house, but hey, I didn’t say that my worries are all good! I just think that so much of the conversation around worrying is that it’s something that should be avoided, shamed, or crushed immediately, and that that mentality isn’t helping anything.

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Instead of trying to immediately force any of these thoughts out of my head or beating myself up for my worries, I am putting my focus and attention to worrying less and trying to understand why I am worried in the first place. Can I turn this worry into positive thought on what I can practically do to make the best of this situation or prepare for something? Most of the time, my worrying won’t actually change the outcome of the situation. Many of my worries are not productive, and therefore should not be given priority in this strapped-for-space brain of mine. Repressing them is not going to get me anywhere, but reflection and gentle thoughts will.

… any tips?

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