Sometimes you can’t choose your life, but you can always choose your books

My husband is drunk again and my perfect little baby has a cold and I’m feeling overwhelmed by the weight of the world- the news, the president, the bank account, the student loans, the disappointments. 

How do I cope? How do I retain a sense of control and freedom when every trip out is highlighted with an anxiety attack about finances and a fragile marriage to the best friend who somehow feels more and more like a stranger?

I do a lot of a little and a little of a lot. And then I open a familiar book and turn to a familiar page. Or I gamble with the universe and open a book I’ve never encountered before but that has a beautiful cover that feels like velvet on my fingertips.

I read what I want. This isn’t my job. This isn’t my family. No expectations from the French author who died thirty years ago. No judgements from Jane Austen.

Turn the page and let it tell me what I can think about that’s greater than what I thought. Turn the page and find the story that takes me away from New Mexico. 

I’m in Moab. Yellowstone. Paris. I’m exploring mountains and psych wards. When I’m in hell I’m an anthropologist. When I’m in heaven I’m an active participant. How I choose to perceive this world. How I choose to learn from this story. That’s on me.

Sometimes I can’t choose my life, but I can always choose my books.

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