The one thing

“Just another beautiful day of not finding sine or cosine,” is a joke I’ve seen in funny videos and photos online. NASA scientists aside, most of us who had to memorize these during our K-12 education haven’t recalled them since.

Keep in mind this is coming from a journalism and political science double-major who works for state government, so maybe I’m just missing all the great uses for it. The point is, there were many things beaten into my brain growing up that don’t serve any purpose as an adult.

Rotting folders in my brain library from my public school education include:

  • The importance of exercise.
    Turns out I do like working out as long as someone is not constantly screaming at me to run around a track three days a week. Cardio in small doses, please.
  • Multiplication tables.
    Shout out to Microsoft Excel and calculators for doing it better.
  • Math in general.
    Seriously, I don’t know what I would do as a writer and editor without technology to help with math.
  • Pledge of Allegiance.
    I can barely remember my name first thing in the morning, just no.
  • How to make sure everyone participates in a project.
    Once the high-GPA student who does most of the PowerPoint by themselves, always that person.

The only activity I have continued is the one I looked forward to the most back then; Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) or Sustained Silent Reading (SSR.) A sweet half-hour of the entire class quietly lost in a book aka my personal introvert heaven. On top of that class time once a week, we were also expected to read an hour a day and log it. I didn’t even do it for the free personal pan pizza coupon, I just loved reading. And I still do.

But as you get older, so many other activities start to fill up your day. Work 40 hours a week while also keeping your home clean, cooking meals for yourself, exercising, keeping up with that multi-step skincare routine, and keeping in touch with everyone. Extra credit if you are a masochist like me and go back to school on top of all that.

It’s taken me longer than it probably should have, but I have learned the importance of setting aside time for necessary relaxation time. It needs to be up there with the other red exclamation mark, high-importance daily items. Not “self-care” that seems like chores (sometimes the big bubble bath with all the additions is just too much) but just something that helps me unplug and relax.

Turns out, the best thing for that is still reading. I no longer log my reading hours but I do try to take at least one hour a day to read. The days I don’t have time for it or have to focus on other things are made up for by the days I end up devouring a particularly good book late into the night. If I let myself go too long without reading something I enjoy, my depression and anxiety increase while my creative drive plummets. This begins to affect my other fun activities, like playing games with friends and writing.

Gotta avoid all that so I aim to read at least an hour a day. The best time to settle in is an hour before I have to go to sleep. Adult DEAR-time with a physical book or a blue-light-filtered Kindle helps me decompress and refills my batteries better than anything.

Still waiting on that moment for the sine and cosine …

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