limits

Review: Jane Eyre

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Jane EyreBook Review
3+ out of 5 stars to Jane Eyre, a wonderful novel written in 1847 by Charlotte Brontë. I read this book on Spring break just prior to my 21st birthday, perhaps not the best time to take this beauty on. At 21, being a guy, and English major and forced to read a few books I didn’t think I’d like, this came at a time where although I liked it, I wasn’t as in love with as most others are… hence the 3+ rating. I believe if I read it today, it’d be a 4+. But I have 1200 books on my TBR and simply can’t afford to take on any re-reads without losing my mind. Perhaps I should watch a TV or Film version to renew my interest? It has all the right parts… young woman suffering at the hands of the conventions of time and family (two things I enjoy in books)… the love of a ‘good’ man (meaning you see a relationship grow high and low)… and drama (will she escape it all?). Society was harsh nearly 200 years ago. I would not have survived. I am not vocal about my opinions of people’s behavior or societal limitations, but I believe anyone should be able to do anything they want without hurting someone else or the world we live in. If you want to marry your cousin, go ahead… not my business. If you want to sleep with a new man or woman every night, more power to you. Doesn’t affect me. If you want to wear revealing clothing… go look your best — just don’t do it where someone may cause an accident as a result! 🙂 Point being…. I struggle sometimes with books that cover these conventions because I want everything to be free and open. And when it isn’t, I can enjoy the battle to get there, but it’s a bit difficult when I combine it with 200 year old setting and guides. That said… I adore Jane. I empathize with her. I could be her on some levels. The words and language are great. It should be read. But know what you’re getting into!



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

365 Challenge: Day 38 – Passive

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Passive: accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance

Passive is a tricky word. We’ve adopted it across so many aspects of our lives. Passive meaning we do not stand up and fight in a war. Passive meaning we prefer to relax and rest more than rush around. Passive meaning we are lost in thought. For today, I plan to focus on my energy level, which means I am much more passive than I am active.

There are lots of people out there who are energized by running around all day, constantly involved in something and unable to sit still. Folks who get up super early (4am?) to find the time to accomplish all their goals. Those who can survive on 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night. And some who must be doing some physical activity throughout most of their day. That is NOT me. But it isn’t all that bad.

I’ve always required 7 to 8 hours of sleep per evening. I can survive on less, even for a few days in a row, but I’m a bit listless and slower than usual. Productivity and quality probably decrease in all that I do, so I know my limits and try to put myself into bed around 10pm each evening, read for 30 to 60 minutes to relax and fall asleep somewhere between 11 and 11:30. I am not a quick sleeper… it takes a while for me to nod off. I’ve never been able to nap. I’m usually awake between 6:30 and 7:30 each morning, without an alarm, as my body says “let’s start the day.”

I’m good with about an hour of exercise each day. I try to walk if I need to handle any errands, or when traveling on my way to/from work where possible. But when I’m done with work or errands, or socializing at meals or events, I am a passive person. I much prefer to be sitting in a chair / couch / bed, where I am reading, writing or watching TV. By no means am I lazy. I certainly go out to do things, take trips, try new opportunities, play with the dog (he likes to run around the apartment in circles… therefore so must I, it seems). Generally, I could sit for 8 to 10 hours keeping myself busy without feeling the need to get outside and go for a jog, run off to the sports center to play tennis or plan a trip to climb some mountain. I’d rather go walk about a museum, drive through and stop at view points, or poke my head in a few stores for an hour and call it quits for the day.

Some of you are thinking… wow, he’s boring. Yes, probably true. But it’s part of who I am. My brain or body don’t need constant physical stimulation, as they’re both content to express creativity and action in my head. When I am flying in an airplane or in a long car ride, even up to 8 or 10 hours, I can go without needing to stop for any sort of break or even getting out of my seat. Part of me thinks it is “mind over matter,” meaning I can tell myself “this is your plan for the next 8 hours… no need to try to change it.” And then I am capable of sticking closely to it. Of course, this isn’t always the case… and sometimes on a weekend when I have no plans on a Saturday or a Sunday, I get a little stir crazy. Then it’s time to take the dog for a walk, find a store to dash into or look for a friend to go out and do something different.

I certainly wonder how these affinities develop in people. Of course DNA and health have a large factor in it, but how much of one’s upbringing defines how passive or active they are in their activities? Is it about availability of money and time? Or is it about how much you’ve been forced to do as a child that determines what you want to do in your future? Do you choose these behaviors yourself or do they develop as a byproduct of those around you?

I am an only child, so I often spent time alone. I had friends and saw them a lot. But rather than go play hoops on the driveway or climb a tree, I stayed in my room to read or watch TV. It may have contributed to me being shy, I’ll acknowledge that part of the impact. I was a really good child, never asking for things or to be entertained, so my parents never felt the need to yell “go outside and play,” just so they had a moment’s peace. They certainly pushed me every so often to be more active and get outside, but only when they thought I was spending too much time shut up in my room.

If I had a child, it would be about balance. I don’t agree with setting up activities all day and evening long for your kids to be busy. Whether it’s 50/50 or 60/40 (either direction), alone time is important to help develop your analytical skills, as well as build your ability to learn things other than what someone else forces you to focus on. I’d limit the amount of reading, TV and computer time, ensuring at least an hour a day was some sort of physical activity. Maybe even an hour a day of some group activity or sport. Weekends would be 1 down day and 1 up day, meaning they’d go to some cultural or community event, but also need to focus on the whole eat/pray/love theme.

When I started this post about 10 minutes ago, I never intended to discuss parenting styles, but I let the words take me where they did today. And if I were to interpret what I’ve written, I’d say perhaps I’m being a little too passive in my own days. I should challenge myself to try something new every month, get out at least once per weekend to some physical activity other than my normal trips to the gym, and I should probably join a group (book club, writer’s group, museum or community thing) to help expand my self-imposed limits.

How often are you out and about versus home and relaxing? Do you find yourself with 15 minutes of free time on a normal day or 3 hours of free time? How do you balance it all? What’s your preference? For those who can’t just sit still, what’s happening in your mind and body when you just need to bounce?

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.

365 Challenge: Day 31 – Impartial

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Impartial: treating all rivals or disputants equally; fair and just

At a quick glance, is there any reason for someone not to be impartial? Isn’t fair and just the right way to live, part of the American Constitution (for international readers, I’m sure there is something a bit similar for you, but not always, I suppose…)?

It’s often hard for people to be impartial. We have favorites. We have anger. We have revenge. We have loopholes. We have a very disparate set of rules that vary from person to person, family to family, house to house, city to city, state to state and country to country. But for most of us, it’s what we strive to accomplish in all that we do. I’m sure there are moments when we wish for someone to win, maybe talk up someone more than another person in the hopes they get the job, boyfriend, girlfriend, house, car, etc.

In today’s post, I will discuss being impartial when it comes to my immediate responses to things, people or situations. I’m not focusing on when people are judgmental, racist or biased. I’m looking at pure state of mind without seeing the specific decision in front of them.

For example, can you walk into a situation without pre-conceived notions about how you will react? If two people are fighting, and you know one of them, do you automatically decide whether they are guilty or not guilty based on past experiences with them? Or can you forget everything you know, starting from scratch, listen to both sides and weigh in with an impartial mind? If you hear that someone likely hurt another person, do you immediately think the person is guilty, or do you want to hear his/her side of the story before determining your reaction?

For me, I battle these thoughts all the time. No matter how confident I feel in a decision, there is always a lingering “what if” in my mind… and I can never 100% commit to a feeling or thought. Sometimes it’s a big enough concern that I tell whomever I’m discussing it with what the lingering concern is and why… other times, it’s trivial enough that I don’t feel the need to explain why there’s a bit of doubt.

Regardless, being impartial should be an automatic given for all of us. No matter the situation, we should have the ability to look at the entire end-to-end picture, big and small, and then come to a reasonable conclusion. Sometimes, it’s simple and you can take turns, alternate or split something so that it ends up being equal. Often, it’s not and you have to communicate and share your thoughts so that the full exposure can occur.

I would have made a good mediator. I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes. I hope to understand why they chose to do something, not just think about the impact it had on me. I believe in fairness and equality. My mind doesn’t think of other ways. If there are two people and two of something, each gets one. If the two objects are not of the same size, then I look for ways to make it as fair as possible. If two people have a story, but differ on the details, I need to hear both and then work with them to see if they can figure out why they each saw it differently.

If one child typically is the poorly behaved one, and an incident occurs with another kid, I wouldn’t assume it was the poorly behaved one. Nothing is that obvious. That said… you can have an opinion, a bias, a judgment, but shouldn’t we do our best to ignore those in the beginning and try to be as impartial as possible? If there’s minimal time, yes, an educated guess or prior research would come into play… but when there’s available time and opportunity, use it wisely. Be impartial.

I feel preachy today. Perhaps I’m annoyed about some things I listened to on the news while having lunch. Or maybe I have such a hard time understanding people who aren’t impartial, it’s fueling my words today.

I think what I’m most trying to say about myself here… and the way I believe people should be… is that we should always have an open-mind. Try not to be judgmental (and just wait… that’s going to be the topic in a few days… and I have been known to be judgmental!). We should never have a boundary that prevents us from considering the alternative. Never may be a harsh word. Some laws and rules should not be broken. There’s a set of standards we should all follow. This isn’t about religion or politics or spirituality. It’s about recognizing as people, we’re evolved enough to know better.

When my time’s up, the biggest hope I could have is that I know I always did my best to listen and consider things outside of my own opinion. I may still choose my original thought, or to believe I am the correct one… but it’s my responsibility to be impartial and look beyond the limitations of my own knowledge. This is a lesson I have learned the hard way over the years.

Rant done. Thanks for not hanging up!

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.

365 Challenge: Day 29 – Pensive

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Pensive: engaged in, involving, or reflecting deep or serious thought

The word pensive brings to mind Hamlet’s question of “To be, or not to be,” a (wo)man in the throes of the unknown and undecided, lost in indulgent analysis and trapped by an inertia, holding on for dear life. OK, that’s quite negative and exaggerated… but it’s not too far off from my truth.

The brain is a willful and strong organ within our body. It runs without its owner even realizing it; yet, at the same time, when the owner focuses, (s)he knows they are deep in thought. Thought is a powerful concept. And when you are in reflection, contemplating small and big things, you are being pensive. Pensive is a state-of-mind, a transfer of consciousness from the norm and reachable, to the distant and preoccupied.

 

I’m often pensive. I am a thinker. I cover hundreds of topics, images, thoughts and questions throughout the day — all willingly and consciously — challenging myself to push the envelope further and further as time goes by. Sometimes the momentary focus is about the purpose of life, and at others, it is whether or not it’s time to re-model the bathroom. I like thinking. I enjoy questioning. I love getting caught up in the process of considering things that are around me.

Though I’ve confessed to being obsessive, I’m not obsessive about being pensive. And I’ve noted that I’m pragmatic, hence not getting too caught up weighing the pros and cons of a decision, taking forever to finally decide. It’s a fine balance between the two, resulting in people often seeing me as “too much in my head.”

And that’s really the definition of being pensive — being too much in one’s head, in the clouds. Instead of actually getting out and taking a chance by following through on some action or decision, your mind critically analyzes and ponders, considering all the options and outcomes. Wondering how to go about something, what it may be, rather than letting it just happen. It means enjoying thinking about something more than actually doing said something. Sometimes it can drive a person crazy.

  • Pensive can be good. It can be relaxing. It’s a form of meditation and energy.
  • Pensive can be bad. It can hold you back, a way to create false boundaries and limits.

While I can be completely lost in a thought, I am not the type to lose my connection with my surroundings all too often. I may not realize someone’s called my name, or perhaps I miss the rain drops starting to fall for a few moments… but the depth or the degree of the lost consciousness in minimal. It’s like the very first and early stage of sleep; you know things are happening around you, but the temptation isn’t strong enough that you can ignore the sensations.

For me, it’s that I rather enjoy thinking and less doing (unless it we’re talking about completing tasks of things on my To Do list). I’m not saying I am lazy. I’m just saying I am more comfortable and in a natural state when I am pondering, rather than acting on ideas like skiing or fencing (eh, seemed like appropriate things). I respect those that are more active in their day, feeling the energy from an intense work-out. My energy comes from processing ideas and emotions… creating images and sounds in my head that drive realizations and memories.

Have you ever watched someone who is lost in thought? Noticed the focus of their eyes? The awkward position they may be sitting or standing in? Watched the circular path they seem trapped by? And then that moment when they realize how far they’ve gone, startled back into reality? Sometimes they recognize where they are. Others, it’s as if they’ve no idea how they got to that place. Powerful. Strong. Intense. Pensive.

I often think I’d like to be a little less pensive, a step or two removed from always feeling the forces that hold me back from just doing something. It happens sometimes, but like the 80/20 rule, and perhaps 90/10 in my case, it is my mind that overworks itself before the action follows through. Inventors are pensive. Poets are pensive. Dreamers are pensive. Creators are pensive.

And so is “The Thinker,” Rodin’s famous French sculpture. See here for more on this statue. I often feel like this bronze creation… and I think I’m good with that. How about you? Are you a thinker? Or are you a doer?  Doer… such a weirdly spelled word… almost seems wrong.

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.