“Run baby run baby run!” a homeless woman cheers as I sprint to catch a train. Yet. Again. On the 5:12 Metra, the conductor, a monopoly-man-lookalike named Bill, bops through the aisles, chanting “evenin-erbody-whadda-we-got-fer-tickets-tuhnight” in a thick Chicago accent. Every day is the same – 6:30 alarm, train, bus, work, bus, train, home, sleep.
Routine is supposed to be a comforting thing. A cast of characters and litany of tasks that will consistently fill your day, every day, in the same way. I never think of my life like that, though. In my woe-is-me mind, I’m a drudge whose day is consumed by banality and despondent faces.
Standing on the train platform, in front of the billboard for Ben & Jerry’s newest creation, I realize I’ve watched the sun rise over the I-90 from this exact spot for a whole year now. Every weekday, I observe the same scene. Through winter, spring, summer, fall, and now winter again, I’ve found beauty in this moment – so much so that I’ve taken more iPhone pictures of smoggy sunrises than I can count. Over the past year, this one part of my routine has given me comfort and peace. But that’s just not really enough.
2014 was a big year. I turned 21! I moved in with Max, started working full-time, and received my first promotion. I traveled to Idaho (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) and visited NYC (1, 2, 3, 4) and DC for the first time. I said goodbye to my sweet 18-year-old corgi, Mikey. I read a lot of books and drank a lot of tea and ate a lot of chocolate. I added some wonderful girls to my assemblage of fabulous friends. It’s hard to remember all the things that happened over the course of a year, so I’m glad I have this space to collect memories and look back on moments in time.
It’s the last day of November…here’s what I read this fall (Sept – Nov):
1. Max got me a really nice edition of The Windup Bird Chronicle for Christmas last year, and it took me a while to get to it because it’s so long. My favorite recurring trend of Murakami’s writing is his intertwining stories across characters and time periods, and this was the best example of that (out of what I’ve read of his so far).
2. Dark Places was my least favorite of Gillian Flynn’s three books – but that’s not saying much, because they were all amazing.
3. Elders…sometimes I buy a book based on its cover design, which is what happened with this book at the Strand in NYC…and I would say I learned my lesson, but I also bought Everything Matters! on the same trip for the same reason, and that one did not disappoint. I think organized religion is fascinating and after going to Idaho, I was really curious about Mormons, but this book was more about two guys who didn’t get along than about the LDS religion.
4. I feel like my public-school education failed me a little bit, considering I just now read George Orwell’s Animal Farm on my own at 21. Max has a really cool illustrated edition, but he thinks I mess up every book I read, so I had to read a library copy.
5. Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr. is something I’m going to recommend to all my friends. It made me think about life, death, and everything in between in the way that “Interstellar” and “Boyhood” and The Alchemist made me think about life, death, and everything in between. It’s books and movies like these that make me love books and movies.
Summer reading list: here.