Last week I was sitting in the yoga studio, waiting for class to begin, when in walked an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in years. We used to be in a book club together, which was started by a mutual friend. We called ourselves Litterati, and we met once a month to discuss our selected book over a meal and a few bottles of wine.
We took turns hosting the meetings and choosing the books. Some of my favorite reads were titles I never would have selected on my own…Bel Canto, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and The Other Boleyn Girl among them.
I stayed with Litterati for about a year and a half. When I left, I told everyone it was because I was too busy, which I believed at the time. But looking back, I was just beginning to realize how unhappy I was. There were problems in my relationship, my job was highly stressful, and my self-esteem was in the toilet. It was also around this time that I began dieting and exercising almost obsessively, thinking if I just reached the “perfect” weight I would finally be happy. My life was a mess, and I think I was secretly worried that people would find out and be disappointed in me, so I kept them at a distance.
It took a few more years, but I finally figured things out. The real problem wasn’t my weight, or my busy schedule, or any of those other superficial things. The real issue was that I had stopped being me.
I stayed in an unhealthy relationship because I was afraid of what people might think. I was already divorced once, and had broken two engagements before that. I stayed in my career because it was all I knew, and worried it was too late to start over. I wasn’t writing because I didn’t think I was good enough to be a “real” writer. I had millions of excuses as to why I couldn’t live the life I really wanted.
Isn’t it funny how a chance meeting with an old friend brought new perspective to events that happened nearly a decade ago?
I chatted with K. after yoga class that evening, and she said Litterati is still going strong, though some of the members have changed. They are celebrating their 10-year anniversary this month. At the last meeting, she said they discussed inviting all the old members back for a reunion. I told her I would love to come.
Seeing K. reminded me how long it’s been since I curled up with a good book. Last summer I finally read The Kite Runner and loved it, but to be honest I haven’t done much reading since that wasn’t work-related. I’d like to change that, and could use some recommendations.
Have you read anything amazing recently?
Photo by Denisa Kadlecova on Flickr