Make Yourself

31 Dec

In 2003, when I decided to turn my life around, I had to come to terms with the fact that not only had I let my physical self deteriorate; I had stopped challenging my mind.  College was an intellectual marathon, where rigorous classes, insightful disagreements, mind-provoking films and sacred texts kept my mind sharp.  Afterward, my literary currency was reduced to In Style Magazine and the occasional Chuck Palahniuk or Douglas Copeland read.

I decided to broaden my horizons with literature first.  For every one ‘fun read’ I enjoyed, my next read had to be something of critical value to the literary or historical canon.  I waded into Anna Karenina, Trilby, Lincoln in the Times, Silent Spring, The Winter of our Discontent and other non-fluff…and I found I actually enjoyed it.

Secondly, I decided to explore other cultural places of value and significance in San Diego.  John and I hiked around Cabrillo Point, checked out the Missions and became frequent visitors on “free Tuesdays” at museums in Balboa Park.  We discovered Arts Tix, and with affordable half-price rush tickets, started to see live theater and explore new music that neither of us had experienced.  We drove up to Los Angeles to visit the Getty, stopped by the Aquarium of the Pacific and put our hands in the pavement at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

One Saturday around town, John picked up a flyer for the Ken Theater, a small movie house in North Park that plays only independent films and features popcorn with real butter.  (Not so healthful for my exercise kick, but a nice treat every once in a while.)  We purchased a discount book of tickets and watched zany comedies, crazy anime films like Tamala 2010, and sad documentaries like Manufactured Landscapes, that left us raw.  We started going to film festivals in town, and John started taking film classes at City College.  The next thing you know we started making short films with our friends and were invited to help make City 7.

In 2003, I flipped on the light switch of my life.  It wasn’t easy making it out the front door when I was 207 pounds, depressed and my only friends had been Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and television reruns.  The first few steps outside of my living room were the hardest.  And maybe you’re in that place right now.  2012 is going to be a great year, but it will only be as great as you make it.  Take the first step outside, take a walk, see that indie movie, go to an art museum.  Now is the time to believe in yourself again and grow.  You are stronger than you realize.

Make yourself.

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2 Responses to “Make Yourself”

  1. Deana January 3, 2012 at 15:29 #

    Although my first semester at CSUSM left me feeling completely exhausted, I am now realizing- during the lengthy semester break- that all of the work kept my mind active and sharp. I feel stimulated and fulfilled when I’m taking time out of my day to read, but I otherwise feel like my brain is deteriorating. It’s important to remain challenged. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming semester, but when my schooling is finally over, I’m going to need to keep my mind sharp myself.

    Good post.

    • phungette January 5, 2012 at 21:00 #

      Thanks Deana. Keep me posted on your reads over the break. LMK what you think of The Book Thief! xoxo

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