Start with this Reading List

2 weeks ago I pledged to finish 12 books before the clock struck midnight on 2019. I’ve since finished another book and am well underway with my next few targets.

Okay so this isn’t some soapbox exclamation that my list is the recipe for happiness for everyone but I love to fall down a rabbit hole and explore everything these books have to offer. It’s an escape where I’m screaming YESS YESS YESSSSSSSSS — tell me more and teach me deeply. Knowledge & wisdom from books will always transcend further than mind-numbing telly.

  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
    • What makes me happy about it?  Have you ever tasted something so decadent and rich in flavor it felt like swimming in the river of chocolate from Charlie & the Chocolate factory? Doerr’s prose makes you experience it all.
    • Status: I’m currently Day 2 in Shanghai and still plan to have this wrapped before I touchdown back in Cali.
  • Wildcard by Marie Lu (Book slated for Q3 2018 release)
    • What makes me happy about it? Three words: Female power overload
    • Status: About to pre order!! Those of you who haven’t heard of Marie Lu need to 100% make sure you do now. She’s an amazing writer for the YA and I’m seriously honored to have met her last summer. She tweeted to me on my birthday out of a request from a dear friend. She’s just an awesome human being and her stories inspires me to write and perpetuate the female protagonist.
  • Meditation by Marcus Aurelius
    • What makes me happy? Ryan Holiday swears by this, my life has 180’d since I’ve exercised Stoicism, and the excitement itself that I’m about to read the teachings from one of the OG’s simply makes me leap with joy.
    • Status: Book ordered & delivered. I’m so excited to open my package when I get home in July!
  • The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
    • What makes me happy about this? Ferris found the loophole we all need. The key that frees the chain around our ankles. Life has never been about work for me, I just thrive to be in it and yet he found a way to do it with more efficiency.
    • Status: book delivered to my flat in Cali. I love having physical copies.
  • Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
    • What makes me happy? Rhimes is a creative storytelling demigoddess. She guts us with plot twists. She champions other women and she’s human. She’s so god awfully human like all of us and that motivates the hell out of me. I can be fabulous and so painfully human at the same time as well.
  • You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
    • Status: I’m awful at self-help books. Its been a bit rocky to finish them out. (I received & 7 Effects during college and it’s still sitting on my nightstand waiting to fulfill it’s destiny with me) But! Sincero has humor, Sincero has realism. I’m going to finish this because I’m already a baddie, I just need a reminder every once in a while.
  • Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
    • Status: delivered to my flat! I’m ready to sink my teeth.
  • My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
    • Status: We all need fiction in life, especially Kinsella’s casual light read stories to fulfill the days when we just need a homegirl by our side.
  • [REMOVED] Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them By JK Rowling
  • [ADDED] The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
    • Why it makes me happy: You mean to tell me the tactics I’ve used in life has been an actual device for power?! This is the Yoda for all things power and I am the young Padawan thirsting for more.
  • The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • [CODENAMED] My friend is writing a Trilogy and I’m beta reading Book 1.

9 more books to go, 4 of which I’ve basically sprinted through half. It’s rather cathartic to read and thrilling to log about it with a mission.

I hope you all find this list helpful in your journey to happiness.

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Revenge of the Sixth: My Star Wars Story

Today is two days after the ubiquitous “May 4th” otherwise known as May the Fourth Be With You. A pop cultural phenomenon that’s blasted it’s radius worldwide since nerd culture became the new “IT” thing like froyo a decade back.

After the famous May 4th every year, we nerds spend the next day(s) or day celebratinng Revenge of the Sixth (or fifth), depending on your preference.

This year, I’d like to recollect my very first Star Wars story.

In scorching hot May of 1999 in Arcadia, CA, my father heard through his coworkers the long awaited Star Wars trilogy has revived since it’s introduction to the silver screen in the late 70’s. In the 90s, there wasn’t streaming services to catch up with the Skywalker family so my parents and I went into the theaters with fresh eyes and no background what Star Wars was all about.

This Star Wars pastime brings me back to something I hold very dear to my heart. My parents immigrated to the United States in hopes of giving us a chance for a better life. We certainly weren’t wealthy but father did give up his chief role as dentist in a big hospital and mother left her job as a broker agent so I could live in greener pastures.

They spent all of their last savings so that we could start a life here.

The day we went to see Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, we drove out in my dad’s secondhand beater silver Plymouth. Yellow stuffing from the leather seats pushed its way out. The stitchings on the back of the passenger chair were loose and haywire reminiscent of shriveled dry leaves barely clinging on a branch. Those small details never bothered me as a child. It was our family’s first car and I had nothing shinier in the world to compare to.

Back then, we rarely had family outings on the weekends where it cost us any money. Father must have saved every last penny to take us three that day. I didn’t know any better at the age of 9 so when I asked for popcorn when we got in, I couldn’t comprehend the frowns and resistance from my parents. We went back out to the parking lot and got back in the car. I saw my parents bent over picking up quarters and dimes from the torn carpet in our Lincoln. It became this fun hunt for me as I tried to find more shiny coins to point out for my mom to claw in.

I’ll never forget how much my parents showed love that day. Instead of saying no to their little girl, they found a way to still provide for me. We didn’t have enough for popcorn but they did end up buying me this gigantic cookie that was the size of my face. I tried to savor every bite of those ooey gooey chocolate chips as the film went on. I felt happy sitting between my two role models and my tastebuds were in kid Heaven. My first memory of Star Wars brings me back to a time we weren’t at our financial best, and it’ll keep reminding me to stay humble and grateful for what I do have in life.

 

Landing My Dream Job Ruined My Life

Everything in life has an opportunity cost. This is the only thing I retained from my econ class back in college.

You make a choice in life and lose out on some other route you could’ve taken.

Here’s the full investopedia definition:

Opportunity cost refers to a benefit that a person could have received, but gave up, to take another course of action. Stated differently, an opportunity cost represents an alternative given up when a decision is made. This cost is, therefore, most relevant for two mutually exclusive events. In investing, it is the difference in return between a chosen investment and one that is necessarily passed up. 

Though it may not have seemed like two mutually exclusive events at the time, I now reflect and regret the road I took. Three years ago, I fell into a slump for a lack of a better term:

  1. I plateaued in my career falling back on a family business after I no longer felt I could grow in my previous role.
  2. I had a great boyfriend I was totally ungrateful for. He catered to my every need and I took him for granted. The silly thing about stupid young love is you never appreciate “the one” that’s always there- it doesn’t register as fun, but rather boring and safe. 
  3. Nothing thrilled me. I felt I had no passion and no specialized talent which resulted to no direction.

These factors played into a formula where I jumped at the opportunity when a buzz came through my phone pinging me for a position at a dream role. Okay, so it wasn’t a DREAM ROLE, but it was fucking brilliant. Work on the westside where the air is crisp and people are gorgeous, market for a licensed product that the whole damn world knows (hint: they now own marvel AND star wars), and of course eventually move out to westLA where people not only wear yoga for class but as a way to show off their glorified yoga bodies at brunch.

Three years have passed as swift as winter in California, and I find myself sitting at the room where it all started. But it feels different in this chair now. The chair collecting dust at my parents house. Though, I’ve grown up, I reevaluate and realize I’ve lost close contact with all my friends. The oh so perfect boyfriend fell out of the picture after I broke up with him. I’ve literally created a rift between my closest family, and I’ve made choices that have only alienated me from the ones I love more and more.

I’ve jumped ship and gone to an even better company. I have a not so terrible condo I now own 2 miles from the closest beach. I somehow make enough to drive a BMW,

but

I, I, I… 

The opportunity cost of having all those I’s. Was it worth it in the end? I’m sitting here wondering, if I feel this lonely and sad now, what was the point of landing my dream job?

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