Taryn digs deep

*WARNING: It’s about to get all Dr. Phil up in here.

I’ll be blunt, working through your feelings is annoying, tedious, frustrating, necessary, healing, and all of that stupid stuff. I get that it’s crucial because it helps you grow and mature as a person. But dangit, it’s hard.

Admittedly, I love/d being numb. It allows me to float through life and not feel. Avoiding things/feelings means that I don’t have to try or put any emotional “skin” in the game. To that end, my subconscious has been dealing with me in that even when I try to “go numb” it has this precarious way of forcing me to confront with what’s going on with me.

I’ll give you an example. My dad puts out daily devotionals of which I edit. I also help edit and format them into books. I don’t mind doing it, especially since what he has to offer is quite beneficial for readers. Today, as I was going through his latest manuscript, I couldn’t help but notice how he phrased the dedication section. Normally he lists my siblings and me chronologically. This time, he grouped it by kid and spouse. While this seems innocuous on its own, the salt in the wound stems from my Dad’s bias towards marriage and family.

I just finished a stint in Vegas visiting my family. It was a great time as I love seeing my family. My brother recently got re-married to a wonderful woman whom I also share a birthday with. I could not be happier for him, especially since she is a great person and her family is pretty awesome too. This new edition to my family has gotten my father to reignite his “marriage and family line” diatribe.

I will wholeheartedly vouch that in terms of parents, I hit the jackpot. I couldn’t ask for more supportive and loving parents. That said, my dad loves his family. So much so that every conversation usually has some lowkey marriage, partnership, and children slant. Seriously, the man does not shut up about the sanctity of marriage and child-rearing. Now, I don’t have a problem with either of the two. But, as of right now, I don’t want either. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t know if I will ever want them.

So back to the dedication and my reaction to it. Thanks to my recent sobriety stint and leveling up in self-awareness, I realized why it bothered me. While my dad has always told me he loves me and he’s proud of my accomplishments, it’s no secret as to what he values the most– marriage and grandchildren. I’m 0 for 2 with no signs of changing the score anytime soon.

Even though I’m happy with my choices and am stoked about where I am headed, the Ego in me feels incredibly inadequate and pissed. So much so that I’ve been unconsciously avoiding my dad’s calls.

I mean, I’m kicking butt and taking names. I’m in a position where I can focus on my art, my craft. I have my autonomy and I know how to use it. Why isn’t that enough? Why does it feel like the only goals worth bragging about are getting married and popping out children? It wasn’t until I saw the dedication page that I figured out this was bugging me.

This isn’t my dad’s fault, it’s mine for internalizing this feedback. Admittedly I am quite guilty of putting people’s opinions above my own. I can’t change people’s perspectives or views. I can, however, change how I react to them. I’m learning how to accept my choices and be proud of them. I can’t live my life for others. While part of me wants to go back to living with my head in the sand, I can’t help but admit that I feel better chipping away stuff in my head.

So, that’s it for this post. It’s weird being this transparent, especially to myself, but I suppose I won’t get to where I need to go if I don’t dig deep. On a side note, I will be posting my first podcast episode this week. I didn’t realize how much time I’d need to learn GarageBand. That and I’m being a “precious perfectionist” about the quality. Anyway, stay tuned for an announcement this week!

My Dad the Introvert

In honor of Father’s Day, I’m going to share a funny tale of the man I call my father. My dad is a musician and music teacher by trade. To put it mildly, he’s a really talented dude. During my formative years, there wasn’t a soul who didn’t know my dad within the next 4 cities. Seriously, we couldn’t go to the grocery store or movies without running into some my dad knew. As a kid, it was totally annoying because it usually turned into a talking session lasting 30 minutes or so (maybe 5 minutes, but to an 8 year old, that’s infinity).

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-My family circa Christmas 2005

Fast forward 15 years, sometime in 2012, I was obsessed with the Myers-Briggs test, and basically held a gun to my parents’ heads in order for them to take the test too. My mom’s results were pretty spot on, but my dad, that was a whole other story. Simply put, my dad loves people, he could strike up a conversation with virtually anyone. So why his results marked him as an introvert is beyond me. I remember my mom and me laughing at the results because it was the complete opposite of his personality. One of the best qualities of my father is the fact that he is such an externally open person, incredibly giving of his time, and just an overall nice human being.

Yesterday, my mom texted me that they were trying to get the internet setup in their house and my dad and the service tech were going on and on about music, while my mother was anxiously waiting for WiFi. Even funnier, after his conversation with the service tech, he made friends with the new gardener. I had to laugh as I remembered the personality test, thinking “yeah, my dad the introvert, he’s so emotionally drained from communicating with others”.

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-The old man sleeping on our way to SF

While I’m here in Santa Barbara and my Dad is at home in Monterey, I’m taking this morning to reflect of the awesome person who I have the privilege and honor of calling my father. Don’t worry, I’ll be seeing him in a week and a half, so I’m sure we’ll have some fun shenanigans, as we always do. So Dad, here’s to you on your day. Thank you for your unconditional love, guidance and support during these last 25 years. I love you!!! Also to all the other dads out there, happy Father’s Day and have a great one!

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-Pops and I 16 years ago

TBT to When My Dad Almost Put Me in a Mental Institution

Lounging in boy shorts has been a pastime of mine for some time now. For those of you who’ve been reading this blog, it’s no secret that pants and I have made a “conscientious uncoupling”.  As it turns out, my lack of enthusiasm for pants could be considered a genetic trait, if you will.

Rewind 8 years ago, (8 years?!!) to my senior year in high school, my life was good. Being the overachiever that I was, my last semester allowed me to take only 4 classes since I had already acquired 8 units of college courses through playing in several university orchestras and some math classes at the local JC (I got shit done back then). Since my plate was full, I opted to just go home everyday at lunch, hit the gym, take a nap (I discovered the gloriousness of naps),  and then go my rehearsals at UC Riverside in the evening. As I said, life was swell. I had a taste for independence and managed to pseudo-achieve it at 17 (or so I thought). My schedule rocked and I could not have been happier. That is, until one day, my dad had gotten sick and stayed home.

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Due to my modified schedule, and the fact that both my parents had careers, I was free to roam at home by myself most days. Kobe and I would have our afternoon nap post-gym and I went about the rest of my tasks for the day. One fine spring’s day, I came home as I would any other day, I came home to one of the most awkward situations since Robin Thicke’s pathetic attempt to get his wife back (yes, it was

I unlocked the door, and went through the kitchen only to find my dear ol’ Dad in the kitchen making a sandwich, naked as the day he was born. To add insult to injury, this dude was on the phone talking business! Our eyes met and he looked like a child getting caught trying to sneak some cookies from the jar. I’ll never forget the look on his face as long as I’ll live. Now fortunately for me, the good Lord intervened and saw to it that the cutting board had been pulled out so I would not be scarred for life.

After a quick nano-second, I roared,Dad!!! What the hell are you doing?!!!” Not even missing a beat, he replied, “I’m making a sandwich, what are you doing home?” (He was/is terrible with remembering details and schedules). I then reminded him that I only went to school for 4 periods and went on to say how creepy it is to make sandwiches in the nude while talking on the phone. To make matters even worse, the bay windows were open shining heaps of light.

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After the brief weird encounter, I grumbled off, got ready for the gym, and went about the rest of my day. To this day, my dad and I laugh about it, and thank God that the cutting board had been where it was, otherwise I would not be the girl behind this laptop you read about today. Had that event taken the unfortunate turn that it could’ve, I have no doubt that I would be in a room with padded walls, unable to cope with the real world. Welp, I guess my love of no pants had to come from somewhere. Who else has had an unfortunate encounter with a family member?

Where the heck have I been?!!!

So I started this blog with the expectation that I would be writing pretty consistently, and I straight up have failed. Not intentionally of course but still, all I can offer up are some meager excuses. So like a game show host: “Let’s bring them on down!”

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“Starting with contestant #1, we have self deprecation and avoidance! This lovely little charmer has left our dear blogger, Taryn in a pensive and anxiety ridden state, rendering her almost useless hiding under the covers with her pup, Abbey, in a bottom of the Netflix bottle. You’ve heard it here first folks she’s been avoiding life!”

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(8 seasons of House, anyone?!)

 

Ok ok, writing like that was getting annoying so back to first person! So yes, I’ve been struggling with moving forward in more ways than one, but I am proud to say that I have been made strides to becoming a professional “Life Ass Kicker”! 2nd on my list of absenteeism is that fact that I’ve been making friends at a record rate! That and some college friends were in town. I got a chance to see Seether downtown for free while sippin’ on some $10 vodka from the back of my trunk (God bless open container laws in Vegas). It tasted absolutely vile, but it was a throwback to the college days where I had to depend on others to get alcohol for me. As fun as the night was, nostalgia doesn’t taste so good the next morning. Since then, I’ve vowed to never drink cheap vodka again. I like to believe my liver is rejoicing from that decision.

 

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(Drinking + Being far away= crappy photos)

 

 

Anywho, I’ve also been MIA due to a lovely trip to Monterey to see my parents. I’m fortunate to have really caring and supportive parents who noticed that I’ve been a little blue. So randomly they sent me a ticket and whisked me away to Monterey for a whole week and boy was it glorious! I cannot say enough awesome things about that place. I never thought that Central California had anything to offer other than produce and farm animals. I am glad to say that my ignorance was disproven, ten fold.

My dad as my tour guide, I went from Carmel, to Capitola in one day and I was just amazed at how beautiful, calm, and serene it all was. Carmel is super posh and quaint, I’m going to have to marry an old rich man to get a residence there eventually, haha! We saw the car show while passing through. Everywhere you turn it’s all just super scenic.

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(The sand was so cool at Pebble Beach!)

I have to say, Capitola was one of my favorite new discoveries to date. It reminds me of Santa Monica (My favorite place ever!) but way more chill. The traffic isn’t nearly as gnarly and it had such a good all around chill vibe. It has me thinking maybe SoCal isn’t my premier destination after all. Oh well, I’ll figure it out sooner than later.

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(Kickin’ back in Capitola, and they had a cool telephone booth too!)

My absolute favorite part of the trip was just spending time with my parents. I am seriously willing to wager that I have the best parents ever! Honestly, they’re two people I never get tired of hanging out with. Not because they’re my parents, but they happen to be pretty hilarious and know how to have a good time. I suppose that’s why I like to nag them as often as possible. My mom took me to this place called Moss Landing, and it’s this really cool overcast beach where you can go whale, dolphin, seal, sea otter watching. I fell in love with the place! Next time I go, I’ll bring some writing things with me as it seems to be the PERFECT place to just get stuff done. My dad took me back out there to go kayaking! It was my first time and I had an absolute blast! It is a hell of a workout though, so I ended up falling asleep on the couch right next to my dad. Going to Monterey was such a fun and wonderful experience. Despite being there for a whole week it felt like a day or two. Rest assured I’ll be back sooner than later.

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(Moss Landing, Kayaking with my dad, and my mom took photo evidence of our napping, haha!)

 

So there you have it folks! The reasons why I’ve been a quiet little church mouse. Don’t worry though, I seem to be getting back into the groove of my writing so I have more nifty stories to share with you! Until then, stay caffeinated my friends! 🙂

Are We Waiting to Grow Up?

I’ve been doing some research on an oh so secret project (I’ll explain myself later, promise) and I have been seeing quite a bit of literature out there “explaining” why Millennials “aren’t growing up” or “things Millennials are refusing to do” and I can’t help but feel insulted. The general consensus of older generations is that we’re: lazy, immature, financially irresponsible children who are shirking the necessary responsibilities of life. I could not disagree more. While no generation in its entirety is perfect, I do believe that Gen. Y has a few things stacked against them.

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It’s true that Gen. Y is holding off on major purchases, but with the average student loan debt at the end of 2013 being $29,400, can you blame us? These numbers were not even on the radar of 30 years ago. Most students today are facing 20 years of repaying student debt whereas our Gen. X counterparts only had a fraction of that debt. Of course, one can argue that we “dug ourselves into this hole”, but I can guarantee you it wasn’t a Millennial who sold the “student loans are a good debt to have because a degree is a solid investment” line. We also have to deal with the reality that workforce is stacked against us.

The days of staying with one job for 30 years are dead and gone.  According to Forbes the average worker stays at each of his/her jobs for 4.4 years. If you ask other generations it’s because we don’t want to stick it out, or we want to be the CEO within the first year. The truth is that most millennials are looking for jobs that can help them manage the unbearably high student loans they have to pay back. The average salary for recent 2013 graduates is $45,327. However, when you put that in context with the $29,400 student loan average and cost of living, it’s not an easy feat. So where are the decent paying jobs? They are still with the same people who applied to them decades before.

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Since the average retirement age jumping up from 57 in 1992 to 62 in 2013, Baby Boomers have not been making enough room for younger generations to fill in. This forces, Gen Y to work any job that comes their way to make ends meet. There are as many as 40% of recent graduates are employed in jobs that do not require degrees. Gen X does not understand this hardship because they have the experience and degrees to go after higher paying jobs.

These are just a few things that millennials are dealing with. I’m not even going to touch the dating scene as that could take some time getting into. With that being said, I fully accept the job market and my student loans. No one held a gun to my head as I signed my master promissory note and I am paying them back. Due to the fact that I (and most millennials too) am being responsible for my debt, certain life goals tend to take a backseat. What grinds my gears about these articles and beliefs held by older generations is that their expectations for us are quite ridiculous.

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The biggest argument against millennials is that we are immature and irresponsible because we aren’t settling down and getting married. So you’re telling me, that on top of trying to establish a decent career and paying back student loans, I’m supposed to be getting married and popping out babies simultaneously? In my opinion that would be the irresponsible thing to do. Why would I join in union with another person facing the same realities as myself while trying to make a family with a bunch of debt and a shaky job market hanging over our heads? Then to add insult to injury put a baby in the mix. Sounds like a great way for a marriage to fail. Yeah, no thanks.

In my opinion millennials that are not trying to rush into more responsibilities are more intelligent than you realize. It’s not that getting to the altar and starting a family are not goals of millennials, it’s just that there are a few things we need to take care of first. So before you go rushing to judgement about how we don’t want to grow up or are killing the real estate market take an honest hard look at what our reality looks like. It’s not 1980 anymore and we’re rolling with the punches as best we can. Don’t worry though, we’ll “grow up” eventually, Millennials do you agree? What are some of the things you have to figure out before you “grow up”?

I’m Only Happy When It Rains

If being a worrywart were a profession, I’d be the CEO. Honestly, I can’t seem to function unless I’m thinking of some impossibly unforeseeable tragedy that is potentially looming around the corner. Right now, as it stands, I should be super duper happy and excited about life. I am, really, but also my psychotic brain is telling me “dude, don’t get too excited, Mt. Everest could come crumbling down on someone you love”. Ok that is a minor exaggeration but seriously, I’m a waiting for the shoe to drop kind of girl. I don’t mean to be but it is what it is.

I wasn’t always this nuts, I swear. I was actually a pretty happy-go-lucky type person until what I like to call the “2008 debacle” occurred. At 18, I suddenly lost both my maternal grandparents within 6 months of each other, my parents were going through a financial crisis, and going to school in LA was taking its toll on me. So what’s a girl to do when her pretty sweet life is turned all the way upside down? The answer simply, is to just shut down. I mean turn your feelings off, live like a robot, and just exist, shut down. I spent the next few years just going through the motions and surviving instead of fully enjoying my life. Also food become my BFF, well carbs/sweets/ etc., that is.

It wasn’t until my mom found me in the laundry room with a Dutch apple pie (the best pie in the world I might add), watching The O.C. on my laptop at 5 in the morning that my parents decided I was going to go to therapy. I’ll admit my first go with it, I wasn’t in the sharing mood, but it did slightly give me a wake up call as to the fact that I wasn’t being myself. To be completely honest, it took me about 2 years to kind of start waking up from my gray life that I’d grown accustomed to. 6 years after the fact, I can proudly say I’m “seeing in color” once again. However, anxiety is still a close friend of mine.

After leaving corporate slavery and doing my own thing, I cannot think of a better transition for me. I absolutely am enjoying where I’m at in this point in time. My issue is that from time to time, I get nervous about being happy, because the last time I was truly content, my world came crashing down. So how does one go back out into the world knowing that bad things can happen at anytime? Well according to my parents, you do it one day at a time, which is some pretty sound advice. I can’t live according to the fear of things that might happen. Furthermore even if bad things do happen, me worrying about it is not going to change the outcome. So I’m choosing to try and take the good with the bad. Life is a tragically beautiful thing, so it is important to cherish the moments that you have. Ok, now that my neurosis has subsided for the moment, I probably should get back to writing some articles. Who knew that being a freelance writer meant that you actually have to do work? 😉

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Talking to Strangers

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I find it absolutely ironic that the one major thing our parents told us not to do (talk to strangers) is one of the hardest things for people to accomplish. Well, it is for me at the very least. I can be described as an introvert cloaked in an extrovert’s clothing. Meaning, I look like I’m totally outgoing and will act as such, but really I’m just a neurotic weirdo who silently has anxiety attacks when thrown into unknown social situations. When I was a “slave to the man” I had to interact with tons of people. Extroversion was a muscle that I had flexed quite a bit. Now that I’m on Bum Island, most of the time it’s just my fur-child and I.

Quick exercise science question: what happens to a muscle when you don’t use it? You lose it. Same goes for my learned extroversion. Granted I have made more friends in the past 7 weeks than I have all of last year, but the little things tend to freak me out. Grocery shopping while it’s crowded or calling customer service people for example. Recently, I’ve discovered that doing the simplest tasks involving massive amounts of people terrify the hell out of me. Seriously, I’m getting an anxiety just thinking about it. Yesterday, I had to go to the grocery store at night. It went more smoothly than the last time, however I could sense my apprehension as I entered the store. Maybe it’s because I’m not around a lot of people as I used to be but, crowds can get a little overwhelming. Now, I’m not agoraphobic, in fact, I love walking around my neighborhood with my dog. The weather has been nothing short of superb, so I’m trying to enjoy it while it lasts. I also frequent the Starbucks near my house to write and to people watch. I absolutely love people, though I’ve been known to observe people instead of interacting with them. I am trying to find a happy medium between the two.

Since my whole declaration of getting out of my comfort zone, I have made progress. I chatted up a cutie at the coffee shop (my execution was laughable, but progress is progress). Also I’ve been really getting into eating healthier and exercising regularly. Now it’s time to start exercising that social muscle. Still, talking with strangers is something we need to do to make them friends right? After all, we all started out as strangers at some point.   

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Family Time

I took a little break from the internets mainly because I went to Monterey to visit my parents and surprise my dad for his birthday. I decided to leave my laptop home and unplug while enjoying some family time. It was incredibly nice to see the ‘rents, though it was hard as it was the first time visiting without Kobe.

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-Fisherman’s Wharf

Though the flight from Las Vegas to Monterey is only 1 hour, one can expect it to take about 3 when traveling with Allegiant Air. Right in the middle of take off, they all of a sudden break and we are immediately escorted off the plane. With no clear reason as to why, we had to wait almost 2 hours for another plane. Upon boarding sister asked the flight attendant why we had to switch planes in the first place. The attendant responded with “Be glad that we did” and that was all. They really should change their motto to “Allegiant Air: We’ll get you there… at some point”. A word to the wise, give yourself a 6 hour window when traveling with Allegiant.

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– Window seat!

For my dad’s birthday, we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and it was awesome! I never thought I liked aquariums (I was wrong). I suppose trying new things isn’t so bad 😉

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-Monterey Bay Aquarium

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-Jellyfish!

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– One of the coolest looking jellyfish I saw that day

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-Fish

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-Octopus taking off

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-Fun times at the aquarium!

It’s nice visiting my parents. They’re actually pretty cool peeps. I’m very lucky to have them because they’re so legit. Even when growing up doing my “angst” years, I never really had any parental “drama”. I think it’s because they’ve always been straight up with me and my siblings, I’ve never really saw the need to rebel or alienate them. Plus they’ve always given me the autonomy to be myself whether they understood my actions or not. Anywho, it was a really nice break from Satan’s buttcrack, though I must admit the weather has been nothing short of amazing here in Las Vegas. Let’s hope it stays that way for a few more months. It was a very nice visit and I’ll probably head back sooner than later (the perks of being a bum). Now that I’ve had a little digital break, it’s time to get back into the swing of things!

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-On the way to the airport

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-Getting ready to take off

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-In the air

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-Back in Vegas

Whatever you do, do it well

That was something my mother told me when explained to my parents that I wanted to leave my “cushy corporate life” for the unknown island of bummage. A decision I have not regretted in the slightest. As I’ve said before I have the “gift” of doing things “half assed” and still come out smelling like a rose, well for the most part. The one thing that I love and respect about my parents is that they never tell me what I want to hear. They tell me the truth whether I like it or not, and for some reason I’m able to swallow my pride and run with it.

I am (or was?) predictable to a T. Anyone who knows me can tell you what I’m doing, where I’m doing, and who I’m doing it with (no pun intended 😉 ). Seriously, calling me a creature of habit barely begins to scratch the surface of it. Why? Honestly, I think it’s because there is comfort in the predictable. When you know the outcome, you can never be hurt, disappointed, or fail ultimately. I think that’s the reason why I’ve always been a “successful” slacker. If I succeeded, great! If I didn’t, I could always blame it on my lack of trying. Bottom line, I don’t always want to be a person with “potential”. I want to use that potential and be great.

“The greatest waste in the world is the difference between what we are and what we could become.” -Ben Herbster

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The Origin of My Reading Addiction

I LOVE LOVE LOVE to read. Seriously, getting lost in a book has been a past time of mine ever since I can remember. Being able to get lost in the imagination of literature is very enjoyable for me. The more vivid the imagery of the book, the more enthralled I become. When I was young I was very fortunate to have parents who not only supported my reading addiction but funded it enthusiastically as well. Every year in elementary school, there was a book fair. They would hand out these little pamphlets which had an assortment of books you could purchase. I would diligently circle every single book that I had to have (usually about a dozen books). 100% of the time my parents purchased every book on my list. (thanks mom and dad!) And every year I’d burn through the books as if I was fire and they were wood.

My childhood bedroom was actually a library which my parents converted into a bedroom. I insisted that it had to be my room because of the floor to ceiling, wall to wall book case that was in it. During that time it was my mission to possess every Nancy Drew book ever made. I owned all 56 of the Nancy Drew Mystery Series (Not every one ever made, but close enough). My formative years were spent filling up my bedroom with all the books I could get my little fingers on. 

Presently, my passion for reading is still very strong. I don’t do it as much as I would like (I currently have 15 books that need to be read) but I’m working on it. What got you into reading? What was your favorite childhood book?

 

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