When I started to write this post I was going to talk about what I read this year. Then I found myself thinking that I might have read more if I hadn’t watched much more TV than I have in many, many years. That led me to start thinking about the many ways that I enjoyed music, movies, and places I visited, in addition to the books I read and what I watched on TV.
I love reading and I love learning. I read quite a bit every day, starting with the newspaper.
The list of books that I read this year was dominated by a bunch relating to Buddhist thinking. My friend, Susan, reads a ton, and has a huge library of books in the Buddhist tradition. After she read my book she asked me what books I had read in that genre. We compared notes and she sent me a list of recommendations. I ended up reading over a dozen. My favorite was Awakening the Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das, which led me to read several others by Das.
Some other books (of all types) that I enjoyed this year: Running With Scissors and Dry by Augusten Burroughs, the latest Nelson Demille book, The Panther, and The Passage of Power, the fourth installment in the acclaimed five-part Lyndon Johnson biography by Robert Caro.
Another book that I read was mine. A friend showed me that she had Six Simple Rules for a Better Life on her iPhone for her Kindle Reader app and I couldn’t resist doing the same.
I still read books almost exclusively in paper form, but once I had my book on my phone, I read it over a period of several weeks when I had spare time, once I got into the habit of remembering that I had it with me all the time.
I read a lot of blog posts this year, most within the happiness genre. My favorite happiness sites (in alphabetical order) are: Marc and Angel Hack Life, Meant to be Happy, Purpose Fairy, and Tiny Buddha. I also enjoy the Zen Habits blog and Becoming Minimalist. For a longer list of blog sites I enjoy, and links to those sites, go to the bottom left of my site’s home page, where it says “Check out…”
I mentioned earlier that I watched more TV this year than usual. The reason is that I got hooked on a bunch of cable TV shows, most of which had many seasons for me to catch up on by renting or borrowing the DVDs—Justified, Dexter, Breaking Bad, Portlandia, Veep, and Hunted (the last two have only had one season.) The one network show I watch is Modern Family, which I continue to find extremely funny. I also loved Downton Abbey, on PBS.
I listen to music all the time. I love my old favorites and I also love discovering new music. In addition to enjoying new albums by Wilco, the Shins, Death Cab for Cutie, and the Silversun Pickups, I saw each of those bands in concert. I went to eight or so concerts this year. That’s probably the most I’ve been to since I was in college, and that’s very cool. I love live music and the artists I mentioned performed at relatively small venues, at reasonable prices. One more band to mention: My favorite brand new band is called Of Monsters and Men.
Marcie and I used to go to tons of movies. Once we became parents, we were no longer big moviegoers, and that didn’t change even after the kids got older. When we do go, we try to go to ones we are sure to love. That didn’t work out for me this year. I saw a bunch of movies that I didn’t love. The Intouchables was a movie that I loved, my favorite of the year. I also enjoyed Moonrise Kingdom and Bernie. Argo was an amazing story, though I found myself more tense and nervous than I enjoy being, despite knowing the ending. I enjoyed Lincoln after the first hour and the acting in The Silver Linings Playbook, though as is often the case, I liked the book better.
I’ve always enjoyed making lists. Going back as long as I can remember, at any given time I could tell you my favorite all-time movies, books, and music (and within music, my favorite artists, albums, songs, and concerts that I attended).
Until now, I never connected it with the happiness lists that I make now. I’ve recommended several times on this blog, and in my weekly Facebook post, making lists of what you are grateful for, what made you smile, and your accomplishments. The lists above—what I read, watched, and listened to this year—all fit somewhere in the weekly happiness lists. Looking back at all I’ve learned, experienced, and enjoyed from books, blogs, TV shows, movies, and music, gives me a sense of accomplishment, a sense of gratitude, and makes me smile.
And I didn’t even mention the trip we made to visit family and friends in Portland and Seattle, the tons of time with family and friends locally, the visits to our kids at their colleges, work-related experiences, book- and blog-related experiences, and so much more. I realize, literally as I write this, what an amazing year it’s been. Pretty cool!
Tell me about your year. What did you read, watch, learn, enjoy, etc? Please join in with your comments below…