My days are too short.

Do you have these days when you feel like there’s just not enough hours in your day to do all the things you want to do ?

Yesterday morning, I woke up at 7, feeling tired and drowsy from lack of sleep. I went to bed at 10pm the night before, thinking a solid 8 hours of sleep would help me get back on my feet the next day and perform better at work… but my flatmates had decided otherwise, and invited their friends for a dinner party in our apartment, that rendered me unable to sleep until 1:30am. Instead of the good 8 hours of sleep I had wished for, I barely managed to get 5:30.

I couldn’t stay in bed any longer, so I took a couple more minutes of rest and then went to take a shower, get dressed and start my day – make my lunch, take a shower, go to work, work for 7 hours with a 30 min lunch break, get out of work, go to a meeting for my volunteering activities, go to the community garden to water my crops, realize that I need to go to the grocery store get some gardening supplies, move my schedule around so I can take an hour for that and leave immediately for the store, go home covered in dirt and mud, take another shower, answer my professional and personal email, wash the dishes and make dinner, check my social media and play a small video game for 20 min to relax a bit. And then it was 11pm and I fell asleep.

My day went by extremely quickly, and I didn’t do half the things I wanted to – or was supposed to.

  • Cleaning my apartment ? Taking out the trash ? That was put aside in the morning, in exchange for those few extra minutes of rest.
  • Going out to meet a friend, maybe get some bubble tea ? I went to buy gardening supplies instead, and told the friend we’d catch up another day.
  • Calling the tennis club to ask if they had any adult beginner’s classes that I could attend ? Sadly, the club was already closed by the time I got home and started sorting through my professional and personal communications.

And then there’s the things I would like to give a little more of my time – taking photos with my camera, for example, would be a nice addition to any day, really, but I can’t carry the camera to work, and would have to go home and then get out again to take pictures. It would take an extra amount of time that I just can’t figure out where to take.

“But Maude”, you’ll tell me, “why don’t you just get rid of superfluous activities in your day ?” That would give you more time ! And yeah, sure, I could cut on those 20 min of video games (or reading, depending on the day) – but would it really do me any good ? Cutting back on your leisure activities often means cutting back on the things that help your mental health and well-being, and I have a feeling that that’s not the right way to go for this.

I don’t have a miracle solution – but I do have some tips that I use to try to make it work :

  • I plan my day in advance, the day before, and go over what I have to do in the morning, to make sure I don’t have to make more than two different trips during the day. I know myself and my strength, and I also know that past 6pm, if I get home, I’m not going out again if I can avoid it in any way.
  • I consider my weekends to be vacation days – and by this, I mean : no work, at all. No thinking about work either. I’m lucky enough to have a job that I can be completely disconnected of during my days off, and I use that fully.

If you don’t have to answer emails this coming Friday, don’t do it. Give your brain the time to power down. Vacation is seen as a luxury, instead of a right, and it’s made it so that few full time working Americans are taking time-off. In 2014 42% of working Americans didn’t take a single vacation day.

(from the blog create and cultivate)

  • I always take the time to do at least 1 leisure activity in my day, usually after dinner – whether it’s video games, reading, editing photos or browsing the web for cool blog articles to read, I know that these briefs moments help me maintain my mental health, and that’s a thing I do NOT want to neglect in any way.
  • I eat good food. And by good food, I don’t mean “healthy” food, just food that makes me happy when I eat it. If ramen makes me happy, I’ll eat ramen. If breakfast food makes me happy, I’ll eat breakfast food, whatever the time may be.

Even though I try my best to stay positive and not let myself be influenced too much by that feeling of not being fast enough, not doing things the way I should, I still have those days when I feel like I’m running out of time and don’t have enough hours to finish everything I have to do. Like I’m not productive enough, and am a bad person because of it. And that’s okay – as long as I know what those emotions are, where they come from, and how I can manage them for the time being, until I feel better about what I do and remember that extreme productivity at the detriment of my mental health isn’t the path I want to follow.

Do you have any tips on how to deal with that ? Any blog posts on that topic that I should read ? Feel free to link them in the comments !

Top ten tuesday – books that I refuse to let anyone touch

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

What are the top ten books that I refuse to let anyone touch ? Oh. Um.

All of them.

I don’t really let other people touch my books – so, instead of the 10 books I don’t let anyone touch, here’s a list of 10 things that make me wary of ever letting anyone other than me touch my precious books :

  • That time I borrowed a book from the library from a friend, who ended up keeping it for months, getting library fees, and letting me bring it back on my own (and pay the fees!) without even reading it.
  • That time I gave a book I borrowed from the library to a friend, who read it, then instagrammed it with a comment about how nice it was to have a moment for herself, and how much she recommended this book… but never tagged me or even sent me the post. (Yeah, I know it’s petty and lame, but I’m extra petty and I felt genuinely hurt.)
  • What if I let someone borrow one of my books, and they don’t even read it ? (They’d break my heart, that’s what would happen)
  • What if someone touches one of my books, and damages the cover ?

There’s also the things that I did (and am ashamed of) :

  • That time I borrowed a book from someone, then moved to another school and never saw them again. I felt terribly guilty and got rid of the book after 10 years by donating it to a charity. What if I lend a book to someone and this happens ??
  • That time I was eating chocolate while reading a romance novel and it made stains on multiple pages. What if someone puts coffee stains on my Harry Potter books ? Grease stains between the pages of my favourite adventure novels ? The horror.
  • That time I didn’t have any bookmarks on hand, so I folded the corner of the page I was on. This book will never be the same again.

There’s also the fact that, sometimes, I write in my books. Which brings me to the following two problems :

  • What if someone writes in one of my books, with something other than pencil, so it can’t ever be erased and the book is defaced forever ?
  • What if someone reads what I wrote ?? (And even worse : tries to talk to me about it ??)

But more importantly, there’s the worst thing I ever did to a book, ever. I was 7 or 8, and it still haunts me. I had obtained a brand new book from A series of unfortunate events, and I was reading it outside our house when my parents called for dinner. I got distracted, and left the book outside.

When I came back, the morning after, the night rain had soaked through all the pages, and half of them had gone flying through our garden – I had to run around all day trying to catch all the missing pages, then dry them all and put them in my toy paper press to make them flat again, and try to bind them in the book again. It was a disaster (and I cried a lot. I mean I was 8, so, an event like that was a really good reason to cry.).

What if someone borrowed one of my books, and let it suffer the same fate by accident ?

That’s it for me ! Hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it !

What are your reasons for not letting friends borrow your books ? And what’s the worst thing you ever did to a book ?

Top ten Tuesday – page to screen

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I’m back with a top Ten Tuesday ! This week, the theme is “page to screen books”, and boy do I have many of those in mind !

Some that I’ve read and watched :

  • The Chronicles of Narnia series – I love the books, and I remember that when the movies came out it was such a huge thing for me ! (It also made me want to actually try Turkish delight. And I hated it. Totally not worth betraying your family over. 0/10 would not recommend).
  • The martian : I watched the movie first, absolutely loved it, and then thought “the book is probably even better, let’s give it a chance !” and I was not disappointed.
  • Crazy Rich Asians – I actually started reading the books because all the hype about the movie made me discover this series. Then I cried reading the books. And then I cried again watching the movie.
  • A series of unfortunate events : read it. Listen to it. Watch it. Devour it. Get a tattoo of it. This is the book of my entire childhood and I will never stop loving it with all my heart – so when Netflix gave me a 3 seasons-long, perfectly adapted TV version of it ? Of course I watched it, multiple times, and learned the dialogues by heart. (And got a tattoo)

Books I really need to read :

  • A song of ice and fire – I can’t believe I’ve lived this long without ever trying to read this series. I’ve watched the TV show, of course, like every other person on earth at this point, but I keep hearing about so and so’s amazing character development in the books, and about how “this scene is so different !” or “but what about…” and I need to know.
  • American gods : I’ve been watching the TV show for this, and I know it’s good, I can feel it, it’s just that… I don’t get half of what’s going on in this, and I’m pretty sure it’s because I haven’t read the book first !
  • Good Omens : I have absolutely no excuse for this one. A friend let me borrow her copy of the book once. I had it in my room for three months. Never read it. I really need to do that before the show comes out though…
  • The Expanse – the show is SO GOOD, and when I started watching it I didn’t know it was based on a series of books first, but now that I’ve seen how good the story is, and how well written the characters are, I really need to get my hands on a library copy of those !

Books that someone, somewhere, with a lot of money, really needs to adapt :

  • Any of Terry Pratchett’s books about Sam Vimes. I’d like to see an entire movie about Sam Vimes, in HD, with good cinematography and amazing actors, and the incredible writing of the books, please and thank you very much. With some Angua and Carrot too, if possible. Carrot is played by Chris Evans and Angua by Brie Larson. (What ? You can see that I’ve thought about this way too much ?)
  • Ewilan’s Quest : now that we’ve got “realistic” CGI dragons, and special effects for cool magic in every other TV show, a movie (or series, I’m not picky) about a girl who can create things by drawing them in detail in her thoughts – and has to free her people from their monstrous oppressors – shouldn’t be too hard to do, right ? (I insist on monstrous. They’re supposed to look like a ten foot tall mix between a lizard and a mantis, standing upright. And they can talk.)
And you, what’s the worst book-to-screen adaptation you’ve ever seen ? The best ?

April Wrap-Up and May TBR

I’m writing this post from the comfort of a Starbucks chair in the corner of the shop, inside my city’s Chapters bookstore, with a coffee frappuccino and a brand new writing journal (that I might even dare to use in the next few months… if the results are any good, I might post them !). I’m the stereotype of the millennial young woman, and I like it.

The month of April has been eventful, with 6 exams at the end of it, 2 big semester-long projects to complete, a whole lot of stress and not enough time to read any more books, let alone write reviews of them. I’ve been feeling extremely guilty for abandoning my work here for two whole weeks (and then wrote a post about self-care, that you can find here !) , but today is my first actual day off since the semester ended, so here I am !

Even though I didn’t completely meet my reading goals this months, I still managed to finish :

– the Uglies trilogy, by Scott Westerfeld, reviewed here.

Art Matters, by Neil Gaiman : you can find my review of it here (made when I had the time, at the beginning of the month…)

Hand to mouth, living in bootstrap America, by Linda Tirado : as I expected, this was a bit too hard for me to review, because of the heavy topic of this book, but it is definitely a must-read for any American out here, and anyone who ever read the sentence “Well if they’re really poor, why don’t they quit smoking ? They’ll save money !” somewhere on the internet, and actually stopped to think about it and try to understand.

Sadly, I did not finish The light between worlds, by Laura Weymouth – I’ve been desperately trying to finish it for two weeks now, and I can’t seem to be able to read more than two pages at a time, so I’ll put this one on my nonexistent March TBR and see if I can finally get to the end of it !

I’m not actually planning a TBR this month, for a couple of reasons – I’m in between two full-time jobs, and just moved into a new apartment, so I’ll need some time to settle into my summer rhythm before I can plan things properly again. For now, I’ll just try to read whenever I can, and stick to my post schedule for some time !