The Free Spirit and the Recluse

Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? Bruce Banner or Hulk? Harvey Dent or Two-Face?

Or in my situation, the Free Spirit or the Recluse.

All of us have at least two distinctive personalities inside of us. Mine is the free spirit which thrives on new experiences, loathes routine, discipline and wants to learn new things for fear of growing stagnant.

recluse in me seeks the stability of a comfortable routine, finds that new experiences are tiring and doesn’t care about what is next.

The day after Christmas found me sending an email and then return a package. After that, I was lazy. Could care less abut anything else and it felt good to lay on the couch and watch a movie or read one of my new books. If I try that later today I would probably feel the walls closing in and have to get outdoors.

What to do? Should I find comfort on the familiar road or should I stray from the path and expand the horizon? Re-experience the reliable?

In the past I felt torn between the two. I am learning to come to terms and accept both characteristics. 

2019 Reading Goals

Now that I have completed my reading goal of fifty books this year, I am already making plans on next year’s goals. It won’t be fifty. It may be less than half that, I am not sure. The reasons are many but it boils down to appreciating what I am reading. I want to read intently and purposefully. Fifty books was too fast and unproductive. I picked up a few kernels of knowledge but forgot the rest. Well not this next year. This next year:

  • Read-It-Later I have some time off for a few weeks. Time to catch up on all those articles I’ve saved on Instapaper, Pocket, Feedly.
  • Digital magazines My local library provides no-cost access to hundreds of titles. Time to take full advantage of them.
  • Read my night stand stack I do not want to buy or borrow anymore books until I have exhausted my current supply. If someone gifts me a book, obviously that is different but I need to appreciate what I have first.
  • Mix it up with both fiction and non. I want to be both informed and entertained.
  • More physical less digital I’ve mentioned previously that I will be mentally dissecting these books. Mostly with books in hand, not on my devices.

If interested, you can follow me on Goodreads, a tool I will use to help manage my reading life.


When I am in a mood or uninspired, I know myself well enough on how to change improve it. These aren’t revelations, just simple reminders.

Thankfulness: You’ve had worse. Try recalling those worse moments and then remember that “this” isn’t that bad.

Meditation: I’ve discovered mindfulness and self-awareness by taking the time to stop and listen. Listen to what my mind and body are telling me. Beneficial for short fixes and long term habits.

Sleep: My sleep hours are all over the place and this needs to change. Finding a consistent sleep schedule is crucial.

Help Someone Else: It isn’t always about you. You can snap out of your funk by helping them get out of yours. Go do something for them or simply call/write to them and let them know you care and want to help.

Bite-sized: Your to-do list may be too big. That means it is overwhelming. This puts you into a funk. Shrink your tasks to something attainable which in turn, creates bite-sized wins to keep you going.

Change Something: You’re stuck in a rut. Get out of it by changing your routine. Eat something new, listen to a podcast instead of your same music playlist. Heck, even try silence. Walk around the grocery store a different path than the usual. With all these we might find something we haven’t discovered before and benefit.

Get Out: I am a big fan of wandering. Mindful walking with no destination. That’ll cure what ails you. Solvitur ambulando is Latin for “it is solved by walking.”

Get Active: Everyone knows that exercise improves anxiety, depression and brain power. Go workout already. Stretch yourself with yoga, take a hike or pump those pedals.

Socialize: Most of us can always rely on family, friends or a pet to spend some time with. They understand you and you can be yourself around them. We are in a connected, social world and yet we feel enclosed and funky. Take advantage of these resources.

All of these are beneficial when applied which means you’ll need to apply the maximum amount of will to get there. So even if you are wired, tired or uninspired this still depends on you to change the situation. After that, we’ll be back to normal. Whatever normal looks like.


Music: Classic big bands, swing and jazz. Re-discovered thanks to a local radio station and Spotify

Reading: Oath of Office, the next in Tom Clancy’s long running series

Podcast: Short Stuff. Bite-sized at 15 minutes or less of varying interests.

Food: Spicy chicken. Asian, American. It doesn’t matter

Drink: Bulleit bourbon. I strayed and came back