Time to Read?

TTR Featured GraphicThis blog is all about one woman’s struggle to find time to read.

These days it’s harder and harder to prioritize personal time. We are all working 40-80 hours per week, sleeping two-six hours per night, running on triple venti Americanos, and trying to keep up 37 hobbies. I say “we,” because I am a member of this club (I’m also a member of the put-punctuation-inside-quotation-marks-where-appropriate club, so I get a gold star). My genetic makeup is such that I literally don’t know how to have nothing to do. I come from a long line of very strong, very smart, very independent women who, it sometimes seems, are all trying to compete for having most on her plate. This is a battle I don’t want to win, and yet…

For the last four years, I was involved in a local non-profit club type thing. Why did I decide to add that to my already busy schedule? Not, I can honestly tell you, because I was passionate about the cause. No. It was, rather, because I thought, “Hey, these people are doing a kind of crap job of communicating to their members and I could totally help!” Typical of literally every woman in my family (and perhaps some of the men, too).

Now, as I’ve finally freed myself from that commitment, I was hoping to find myself with oodles of extra time. But I do not. This time, it’s not entirely my fault. I was asked to be a bridesmaid for a friend and the maid of honor for my sister in the same year. I’m completely honored, of course, that anyone would want my cranky ass anywhere near their wedding. But it does mean extra responsibilities and traveling.

In my day job, I am the office manager at a small consulting firm. My boss is…well, I’ll just say that you’re likely to hear an amusing story or two in these pages. My job, in a nut shell, is to try to keep everything running smoothly, despite my boss’s and sometimes my coworkers’ best efforts to thwart me (this is how it seems from my perspective, but no one at my office is actually maliciously trying to piss in my Cheerios; it’s like family: you love them, but you really want to strangle them sometimes).

All that is to say that when I made a goal to read 52 books in 2016, I actually laughed at myself. Riiiight. Sure. I can totally do that. Yep. Typical me, take on too much. But so far, I’ve surprised myself by my diligence to this goal. I think it’s because I actually do like to read (you can read more about why this goal on the landing page of the site, if you haven’t already). And I have actually managed to make it a priority. The secret for me, so far, is listening to audio books to and from work. Last summer, I bought my first house. That wonderful house is twice as far from work. My commute, however, didn’t just double. It tripled. Standing between my house and my office every morning and every afternoon are what seems to be every citizen of the DFW metroplex in various stages of creating an obstacle course on the interstate. It tests my patience. But listening to a good book makes it more bearable and it is also helping me meet my reading goal!

(In case you were wondering, my other four goals for 2016 are: start writing again (check!), stretch every morning for 10 minutes and drink at least the recommended amount of water everyday (hahahahahaha, no), pay off as much debt (in the form of student loans, car, and mortgage) as possible (CHECK!), be a better friend/family member aka call your grandparents you jerk (uuuhhh, yeah, no this isn’t going well).)

So I, busy woman of 2016, have managed to find time to read. I listen to books in the car on my commute. I try to read for about an hour each weekend morning while I enjoy a steaming mug of coffee with frothy milk.  I listen to audio books while doing household chores or tedious tasks. If I go out for lunch by myself, I read instead of looking at Facebook or Instagram. Josh (my amazing partner and writer of the Forgetful Film Critic) and I are actually reading a book together, because one of the Read Harder Challenges was to read a book aloud to someone and while I was totally going to read a baby book to my friend Erin’s (the lovely and talented writer at The Speckled Palate) adorable baby, I went typical Rachel and decided to read a 300-page book to Josh instead. A decision he is probably regretting, but I love that it means we’re actually reading the same book (The New Jim Crow – GO READ IT NOW) at the same time, so we can really discuss it (we usually don’t read the same types of books – unless I get all YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW – and even when we do, we typically read them months apart, making it hard to discuss). For now, this is a little book club of one. But you’re welcome to join me to see if you, too, can find time to read!

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