The eternal struggle of books vs Netflix

I used to be a reader. There was a time when finishing books consumed me and little else seemed to matter. I was the kid who stayed up late, sneakily turning on my bed light to read when I should’ve been asleep. I couldn’t wait to get home from going anywhere because it meant I could read my book again.

When the last Harry Potter book was released, I read it in 24 hours. Literally. I took it with me to a baseball game. I stayed up all night reading. I read it in church. I couldn’t stop.

Now when people ask what I like to do, I draw a blank and feel like the most boring person in the world. I don’t think this is uncommon for my generation, though. We like to watch Netflix and engross ourselves in social media, but that makes us sound like the most boring people ever. I default to reading and taking walks, because I am the most boring person in the world and I actually don’t know what I like to do.

I’m not sure when I lost it, but I did. Maybe it’s all part of adulthood when you think through your answers too much and want to seem cool while impressing someone with the interesting hobbies you enjoy.

Deep down, we know Netflix and chill (minus the sexual connotations of said ‘chill’) is basically the defining hobby of our generation. The ability to access thousands of titles across multiple platforms has made us numb to doing anything else. It’s the easy answer when you want to relax, plus new shows are dropped every day and you want to be in the loop.

We watch until the black screen appears, judging us ever so gently by passive-aggressively asking if we’re still watching. Of course we are, but you’re just being nice. I want to meet the person who accidentally leaves Netflix on and that question is actually warranted.

Before Netflix and social media and really even easy Internet access, all I had were my books. They were my escape and comfort. My imagination grew arguably too large because of the constant immersion. When I wasn’t reading, I was likely creating some elaborate world for my toys to inhabit.

As I got older, I had more distractions and less time to read for endless hours. I didn’t want to stay up reading all night because I was tired. Sure, I still told everyone I was a reader and acted pompous like one, but I knew. Reading was replaced by screens and the easy escape versus the one I have to concentrate on.

Every so often I read a book that pulls me in and I can’t stop. I’m riveted and feel like I’m a part of the world and it just stays with me, causing my thoughts to obsess about the world long after I’ve left it. Too often I start a book, get distracted, put it down and then start a new one. My stack of half-finished books is almost as high as the ones I haven’t read. Oh yeah, I still buy books. A lot of them. Because I’m a reader, and I like books, remember? I like spending money so they can sit on my shelf and remind me that I don’t actually read anymore.

This year, I decided to set a goal of reading 50 books. That’s roughly one a week and kind of intimidating and I’m already behind but hey maybe I’ll pull a couple of quick reads to make up for it. I wanted to find the determination I used to have in reading and the dedication to finishing every story I start.

I mean, I read through the entire Twilight series because I didn’t leave a series unfinished. And it was garbage. It’s okay you like it, we all have things we like that are garbage, but it’s not good.

The bigger issue is in recent years I’ve allowed adulthood to rob me of a lot of things. My temper is shorter and my optimism is waning. I’ll tell you I’m a glass half full person, but I don’t feel that way. It’s rare I wake up excited for anything and mostly can’t wait to go to bed again.

Right now, it’s like I’m in the middle of one of those long rainbow, twisty slides. For years I’ve been letting it happen and winding down, hating the static shocks that remind me slides aren’t as pleasant as you think (seriously why do kids love them). Now I’ve stopped myself and I’m in limbo. I can climb up, but that’s terrifying. I’ll likely slip and lose progress and get all hot and sweaty, but what’s the alternative?

I don’t want to lose myself anymore than I have. Change is natural, but I’ve let the hallmarks of who I am fall because it’s easy to let it happen then fight in a world telling you to give in, this is adulthood, it doesn’t get better. Maybe that’s true, but I can get better.

Reading more books may seem like a strange start, but I know it’s the exact right place to reclaim part of who I used to be and find that girl again. The one who would rather stay up late reading about the adventures of fictional characters than spend hours in text conversations trying to find the exact reason of a social media post. Not that I don’t love sleuthing, but I need more.

I am in the 92% of those who fail at their resolutions

I almost started this by saying ‘like most people, I make New Years resolutions,’ but it turns out most people actually don’t make them. In fact, some statistics I found on the Internet claim that while 41 percent of us always make them, 42 percent NEVER do. NEVER?

It’s hard for me to imagine that almost half of people don’t resolve to change their life, lose weight or make better financial decisions. What is New Years for if not the fresh start?

But maybe it’s because of the crazier (but not unbelievable) statistic. Only 8 percent actually keep their resolutions.

Maybe these non-resolution makers are the ones who realize you don’t a new year or even a Monday to change your life. Maybe they’re the ones who wake up on a Thursday and decide today’s the day and actually make it happen. Perhaps they don’t want to set themselves up for failure and instead pretend there’s nothing they wish to improve.

Either way, I am not in the 42 percent. I am part of the 41.

I can’t make a good life decision if I’ve already had a day of bad ones. If I decide to stop using my credit cards, I live it up until the next day when the ban officially begins. If I realize it’s time to eat less, I eat everything I can today so I can ‘start fresh’ tomorrow. Although tomorrow turns into Monday, and Monday into next week, and next week into next year, and I’m still here wondering why my life hasn’t changed.

I am part of the 92 percent who fail every year.

While cleaning my room last week, I found a misplaced notebook filled with my resolutions for 2017. Excitedly I scanned the list to see what I had actually completed, but then my enthusiasm waned almost as quickly as it began.


I’m pretty sure I didn’t do any yoga last year. I managed to rack up a lot more credit card debt instead of paying it off. Lol still a lazy a sloth and still have a lot of room to grow as an employee.

I did move out from parents’ so that’s probably a win.

Surely I’m done, you think. Maybe this is the year I just accept life as it comes and try to be the best version of myself as life happens instead of overthinking everything. I’ll switch teams and join the 42 percent who don’t play the resolution game.


This year feels different, not because I’m so full of hope, but because I feel so defeated. I’ve pushed myself into this place where if I don’t make the necessary changes, I’ll drown. This is God working in me – instead of the pride that carried me for years, I’m accepting my way sucks. It SUCKS. And I’m ready to rebuild my life and finally address my problems.

So because I’m sure you’re overwhelmed with curiosity, here are my resolutions for 2018.


  • Grow my faith


This looks like reading the Bible in its entirety for the second year in a row and fasting one thing every month. I already have a prepared list because too often I think I should fast something and then I never know what to do. I’m trying to take away every opportunity I have to make excuses.


  • Take care of myself


Basically this starts with counseling. I can’t keep denying I have real issues that I need to address, and I’m going to struggle in a lot of areas if I don’t take care of them. I usually say I want to lose weight or be healthier, but I really want to care less about my weight and more about why I am overeating and being lazy.

This is also about saying no and accepting my limitations. I often say because that person can do it, I can too, but that’s not a healthy way to live. I need to go only as far as I can and not be afraid to admit when I need to stop.

Maybe I’ll try to do more yoga.


  • Spend money on ONLY what I need


I have a real spending problem. I’m in an embarrassing amount of debt and I keep pushing myself down further into the whole. For a number of reasons, I’m sick of it. I should be clear when I say what I need is like a First World need, not the basics of food, water and shelter. More on that later.


  • Write one thing a month


Last year I wanted to write a book proposal. This year I thought about a themed series each month. For where I’m at now, that’s way too aspirational. If I can consistently write one thing a month, I’m already a success.


  • Read 50 books


Before a world of texting, Instagram and Netflix, I used to read. A lot. And I still do, but only sometimes. My goal is roughly one a week because I feel like the old me would scoff at that because she could read like 50 in a month, but I’m out of practice.

So here they are. Five resolutions. Two days in and I’m doing great, so we’ll see how the rest of year goes. It doesn’t necessarily feel like a fresh start, simply the end of my pretending I don’t need to change my life. They’re different, I promise.