Friday, 2 January 2009

Area 3: Becoming a well-rounded person

It occurred to me the other day that I don't give an awful lot of time to personal interests. I am a very task focussed person and so unless what I am doing is task-oriented, I don't tend to do it. The flip-side to this is that I waste an awful lot of time doing nothing, because I don't have any tasks, rather than doing something just for fun, just for me, so that I might develop into a more interesting, varied character.

So my next goals, are going to focus on doing things for fun. Developing personal interests.

Now, for those of you who don't know, I am a journalism graduate who studied English Language and Literature up to A-Level and achieve very good grades. What most people don't know, is that I've probably never read a classic piece of literature in my life. The closest I came is Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles, which we studied in A-Level English Lit. However, I skipped class a lot and to this day do not know what happened at the end of the book - I never finished it. (Thankfully, the exam question centred around the first chapter, and I got an A for that paper!).

So, now at the age of 23 in a bid to become a more well-rounded person, I have decided to rectify this terrifying fact of my life and re-educate myself in some classic literature. And where better to start, than Jane Austen? Having enjoyed the various dramatisations I at least have a starting point of knowledge, so getting my head around the style shouldn't prove to be too difficult.

I found these gorgeous new editions in Smiths the other day and couldn't resist (so now I've invested £15 I have to read them!).

I started with Sense and Sensibility 'cause that's the first one she published. I'm up to chapter 11 already, it's a bit confusing because there are several 'Miss Dashwoods' and I have to re-read paragraphs to work out which one she's referring to (why couldn't they just address each other by their first names eh?). Would love to hear what anyone else thinks of Jane Austen, I'm enjoying it so far.

But, of course, the reading doesn't stop at classic literature. I have an awful lot of other books that I am midway through. They can be seen in the background of this picture:

Destined to Reign, Joseph Prince: Joseph Prince is a Christian author / pastor / preacher who has come to speak at our church and related conferences. He has an amazing understanding of the power of grace in our relationship with God and this is his book which outlines that. I started it a while ago and haven't gone back to it. It's actually my flatmate's copy so I must finish it!

Finding Favour with the King, Tommy Tenney: Another Christian book which I got for Christmas. It's about the Biblical story of Esther - a Jewish peasant girl who is chosen to be Queen after her 'One night with this King'. She then goes on to save the Jews from persecution because maybe she was bought into the Palace 'for such a time as this'. The book uses this story to talk about what happens when you find favour with the King and the long process of preparation that goes before that 'one night'. It's the type of book that you read in small chunks, just so you 'get it'. So I'm now up to chapter 3.

Knitting Yarns and Spinning Tales, Edited by Kari Cornell: I got this book from work when we has a massive clear out. It's a collection of essays by various writers who have been impacted by or have special memories of knitting. How it's helped them etc. I'm probably about half way through, but it's the type of book where you can pick up where you left off because you just start a new story. Fun and amusing.

Classic Christianity, Bob George: We have been reading this book as a church. It goes right back to basics about Christianity and the foundations of the faith. The author talks from his own experiences starting from when he was working so hard in ministry that he burned out and forgot what it's actually all about - God! It's a great reality check and also great for new Christians who have a lot of questions.

The Message, Eugene H. Peterson: This is kind of an ongoing project! It's the Bible in contemporary language. Sometimes you read sections of a traditional Bible and you're just like "huh?", but then you read the same passage in the Message and it really comes alive and you totally get what it's saying and the spirit in which it was said. This one will definitely always be on my bedside table to be read alongside my normal Bible.

So.... Goals:

- To read all of Jane Austen's books and then move on to other classics. (Sense and Sensibility - read!)
- To finish reading the other books on this list.
- To read a bit of The Message daily.
- To enjoy all of them!

Health and Fitness update:

I managed a 10minute Pilates this morning before I went out. My legs are aching from yesterday's run - I love that achey feeling!

Budgeting Update:

Ok, so I havn't quite stuck to it what with a couple of things that needed to be spent - but there is some spare cash for those occasions so nothing to worry about. I did get to go shopping for free today though and spend all those lovely Christmas gift vouchers. I came away with a new pair of jeans, some cord trousers and a new jumper and I only had to spend £12! Plus, there's more vouchers to be spent once the crappy end of the sales are over.

I also went to the bank and reduced my student overdraft limit by £50! It might not seem like much but this a big occasion for me, I've been out of Uni for 18 months now and this was the first time I had the courage to reduce it! Every little helps! I'm aiming to do that every month now - I'm hoping to actually pay off more than that, but by reducing the actual limit means I can't delve back into it when times are tight. It's all progress ladies and gentlemen!


  1. 5 books equals "and awful lot"?!!! Em I've got a BOX and I recently gave 3 boxes of books away. Remind me...How is reading classic literature going to make you a more well-rounded person?

  2. These are just the five books that I am currently half way through :0) There's still two book cases full in our bedroom that I will get through one day... promise! And we had a massive cull before the end of the year so the ones in there are the ones I have looked at and said "I will read that again / one day".

    As for becoming a more well-rounded person? It's all about rediscovering personal interests my friend :0) So that when I am at dinner parties I will have something to talk about rather than just work and church.... 'cause I go to a lot of dinner parties you understand!

  3. when you have kids. there will be no dinner parties ever!! Just staring gormlessly at the wall in a toddler group while kids run riot around you for the dole purpose of having enough energy to return home and real life two hours later. THAT will be your social life. P.S I say this because I have heard you're thinking about it.

  4. Firstly, I like the way the people you talk to know more about my life than I do!

    Secondly, you clearly haven't met any of the mums of young children at Hillsong! Life is what you make of it my dear, and gormless is not part of my plan!