When I turned 30, I was happier than I’d ever been. Newly single, living in California, ready for the future. When I turned 31, I was even happier, knowing myself a little more, being in a new relationship, and excited for what’s next. Now at 32, I feel like I could literally burst with happiness. I finally have my own apartment for the first time in my life, I’ve found an exciting passion in making rope light signs, and most importantly and amazingly, I have met the most loving, supportive, appreciative, silly, tiny, frail man, that I have ever known, and I feel so incredibly lucky to have found real love.
(The tiny, frail man is an inside joke we have, but Stephen isn’t exactly a massive guy. Sorry… I mean “Steve.” My family (and Kelly) have told me that I can’t call him Stephen, because Stephen is my brother. So fine. Steve it is. My darling, Steve.)
At 32, I would say that I’m back to being a student again. I am reading and listening to anything and everything that interests me, and I am learning so much. And it’s so invigorating.
I have to first give a shoutout to audible.com (@audible_com). This app has changed my world. Your first book is free, so do it! After that, it’s like, $15 a month. With that, you get one book a month. You can always buy more books, too, but you get one free “credit” each month. They also have Daily Deals. Every day, there’s a book on sale for only a few dollars as opposed to its usual price of $15 – $25. I recently purchased a Daily Deal for like two bucks! And it’s amazing! It’s called Long Story Short, by Margot Leitman. All about storytelling. And that’s me! I’m a storyteller! Leitman had been doing stand-up comedy for a long time, until one day, she did this storytelling thing, where she just got up on stage and told a true story. And finally, she got a laugh, a big, long laugh from the crowd, and she realized that she didn’t want to tell jokes anymore. She wanted to tell stories.
That is so cool. A year or so ago, I went to see my friend do stand-up at the Ha-Ha Club in North Hollywood. Her name is AB and she is fucking hysterical. So funny. I was dying. Truly. (I wouldn’t bring it up if she wasn’t actually funny.) Leading up to her act, I was exposed to some other performers who were not as … funny. It’s rough. I give them so much credit for going up there, being brave and all that. I’m truly rooting for them to be funny, as I think most audience members do. But some just weren’t. And I thought, if I ever had the impulse to get up on stage at one of these things, like if they just said, OK, does anyone out there want to give it a go? (don’t ask me why I thought this; I think up random scenarios all the time), I realized, I would never get up there and try to be funny. I would get up there and tell a very true story. One of my many, many extremely embarrassing stories. And the more vulnerable I was willing to be, the funnier it would be.
I knew this. And that is exactly what Leitman explains in her book. Our real life stories are hilarious on their own. We don’t need to make shit up. And that makes me excited.
Anyway, I’m going on a tangent. Back to Audible. You need to get this app.
Dreading doing your laundry? Or washing the dishes? Or sitting in traffic on your way to work? Not with audible! Just pop on your headphones and get lost in a book as you perform those monotonous tasks you never feel like doing.
That was my quick commercial. Did I sell you on it?
Would you like some recommendations?? OK, I’ll tell you. If you want something thrilling. Where you’re invested in the characters and the story and hanging on to every word: The Girl on the Train (@girlontrainfilm) by Paula Hawkins. I resisted listening to this book for so long and I don’t know why. It starts slow, and quite depressing, actually, but this thing will grip you and you won’t know what hit you. The Traitor’s Story by Kevin Wignall. This was my very first audible book and I completely found it at random. I searched and searched, wanting to find something really good. You can read the overview, the ratings, see listener feedback, and even listen to a 4-minute audio sample. That’s what got me. I found myself hanging on to the reader’s every word. The man who narrates this book is Simon Vance (@SimVan). And he is wonderful. The story is about a 15-year-old girl who goes missing, and the parents seek the help of their neighbor, Finn, “a seemingly quiet historian rumored to be a former spy.” It’s a page-turner!
Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris (@BAParisAuthor). I found this one at the top of the best seller list. Again, after I listened to the audio sample, I was in. The narrator is Georgia Maguire, and she has a wonderful English accent that I wish was my own. I’ll just give you the tagline on this one: ‘The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?’ Boom.
Currently, I’m listening to The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg (@joelcrosenberg), narrated by Christopher Lane. I’ve always been fascinated by Nazi, Germany, and while I basically know this fiction story based on true events, I can’t help but become completely invested in the main character, a young man, as he tries to escape the infamous death camp. It’s awful, but suspenseful and compelling. (So far!)
As for my nonfiction faves, I’m slowly working my way through an extremely helpful book that I’ve previously mentioned: Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works (@IntuitiveEat) by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, narrated by Pam Ward. This book has been so helpful in my approach to changing my relationship with food and my body. It’s not a quick fix, by any means, but I don’t think there’s such a thing anymore. For anyone who has been dieting for most of their life or thinks about food and their body in a negative way, or just obsesses over it in some ways, this book might be for you.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg (@cduhigg), narrated by Mike Chamberlain. The idea of this book is fascinating. It’s all about why habits exist and how we can change them. Many of our issues or troubles stem simply from bad habits, and they can be changed. “Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.”
You are a Badass, written and narrated by Jen Sincero (@JenSincero). This is not a self-help book. It’s a get-your-shit-together-and-go-for-it book. Sincero is honest, funny, and to the point. So obviously, she’s from New Jersey.
That’s about it for all my Audible recommendations!
…but there’s more. I’ve also become enthralled with podcasts. Kelly has been listening to podcasts for a long time now (I believe her favorite is Throwing Shade), and I never “knew how they worked.” Seriously. I didn’t get it. So I didn’t figure out how to listen to them. (Just download the app, Overcast, and listen to whatever you want!) Then I met Steve, and every day we talked on the phone, I’d ask him about his day and he was always listening to these things called podcasts. (I know, I’m so behind on life.)
THEN one day at work (at Brick), Taylor was telling me about this podcast she just started listening to called Sword & Scale (@SwordAndScale). The specific episode she mentioned was about psychopaths and how so many of them live among us (lightbulb!). From the website, Sword & Scale “covers the underworld of criminal activity and the demented minds that perform the most despicable and unthinkable actions.”
She’s telling me about this podcast and I’m getting so freaked out and actually say, absolutely not, I can’t listen to that. I have enough trouble sleeping as it is!
I proceed to make her tell me every detail of the episode. And now, I’m completely hooked. It’s insane, and insanely good, and oh my God, so entertaining and scary and REAL. You have to listen to this podcast!
I could go into a lot more detail, but for now, I’ll just list my other top faves:
Foodist with Darya Rose, Ph.D (@summertomato); Girlboss Radio with Sophia Amoruso (@sophiaamoruso); How I Built This (NPR) (@HowIBuiltThis); Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin (@AlecBaldwin).
Here’s to a year of learning and becoming the best version of me possible! 🙂