The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

Barnes and Noble chooses a book of the year each year.  For 2019, that book was The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy.  This is not really a children’s book; not an adult book; not a young adult book.  It is a book for all ages (although the script might be difficult to read at times for younger readers).

I love the messages in the book.  It really highlights how kindness, love, and friendship are important.  I also love the pages where he emphasizes that behind perceived perfection is imperfection and difficulty.  The hand drawings on every page are fun, and I love that the book is handwritten (no typesetting here).

The boy, the mole, the fox, and the horse meet with each new character introduced one at a time.  Each character imparts an important message, and each occupies an important place in the friendship.  They travel through life together and share words of wisdom and thoughts.

The book is almost meditative in a way, and I felt very calm after reading it.  I think this will become a go-to book for when I am frustrated, when I lose confidence, when I need kindness and friendship to guide my back to my path, etc.  I am contemplating giving this book to my family and friends for birthdays and Christmas presents this year.

In my last post, I started talking about how my confidence has been shaken.  This has really been building up for about the past 10 years, but it has been exacerbated in the past year or so.  I wonder if the people who were a part of this even think about me now. I wonder if they realize the impact that they have had on me.  Former co-workers, former friends, former professors, former students.  All are still on my mind.

Family members have told me to stop thinking about them and forget about it.  How do we forget about people who were important to our past?  Should we forget about them?  Do we learn from it when we just forget about them?  I know that a lot of my overthink comes from anxiety, but I do think it is important to remember, to reflect, and then to slowly find a way of letting go.  It all takes time.

I am noticing that my posts are slowly revealing more and more of my thoughts and feelings.  I am allowing myself to become more vulnerable.  Some might say these feelings don’t belong in a public sphere on the internet.  I think that we help others by revealing more about how we are feeling.  Vulnerability is not necessarily a bad thing.  Sometimes we need to let ourselves be vulnerable.

Sorry for the stream of consciousness thoughts this morning.  I need to have breakfast and start the laundry – and another book.  I will say this.  I think the smartest thing I have done so far in life has been to trust my current partner and open myself to love again.  The next smartest thing I have done is to stop chasing money and making more and more of it.  I have stopped worrying what others think of my decisions.  I am no longer concerned that people will think that my current job is “beneath” a person with a Ph.D.  I am not concerned that I make less than I did when I was 21.  I am loving my job, the people I work with, and the kiddos that I meet and learn about every day.  That is worth far more than the large paychecks, the publication success, or getting your name in the news for your work/research.  Perhaps more Ph.D.s need to learn these lessons if academia is to survive.

More on that later, I think.  Until next time, Happy Reading!

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