As I was scrolling through Instagram, a post caught my eye. It asked, “How many books have you read in your lifetime?” Pondering that question, I got emotional.
If I counted the number of how-to books I’ve read on becoming a better something or other: a better leader, a better negotiator, a better communicator, more productive, more influential…
If I counted the number of required reading books from bosses (I spent 13 years in Corporate America) and professors (13 years in college), I’ve probably consumed… Oh gosh… maybe 1,500 or so books.
If I don’t count those and just add up books I’ve solely read for fun and enjoyment – because I wanted to, no hidden agenda, no trying to be better, no one assigning me the reading – I’d bet the number is around 100 or so. Maybe 150 if I’m being generous to myself (which I always try to do).
And that is why I got emotional. You see, most of my adult life was focused on ego: You gotta get to the top Danielle! Improve, improve, improve! There’s no time for fun… fun is a waste of time!
Fortunately, this isn’t me anymore.
Three years ago, when I was 33, I lost my job. That loss sparked a Dark Night of the Soul, a period of depression and a burgeoning spiritual awakening. I was forced to look at my life with fresh eyes: I was a workaholic using external validation and to-do’s as a way to distract myself from healing past traumas and stepping into my TrueMe.
For the first time in my life and because of this Dark Night, I put in the hard work. I journaled. I spent more time in nature. I had difficult (and needed) conversations. I worked closely with spiritual mentors.
My efforts eventually showed me how to have fun. I read, wrote, watched TV, played games and did many other things for the simple enjoyment of it. I realized fun is anything but a waste of time. It’s a creative reset. It’s restorative. It teaches. It’s one of the most authentic ways to experience and honor life.
The last three years, I’ve read about 50 of those 150ish books. I’ve savored novels and memoirs that explore things I care about: spirituality, family, sex, love, transformation. And I’ve consumed a few how-to books too; not out of ego, but because the TrueMe wanted to learn something that would feed my soul.
From my story, here’s what I hope you walk away with: Have fun! Travel. Take that cooking or ballroom or guitar class. Read that fantasy or sci-fi or self-help book. You don’t have to wait for your Dark Night to evaluate your priorities. Be proactive and prioritize what really matters. Your soul and your “books read” list will thank you.
Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this newsletter to a few family members and friends. The greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.
PS – Here’s an affirmation to remind you to have fun, ‘I honor life by finding and creating joy, playfulness and celebration.
PPS – Has it been a while since you reflected on and prioritized fun? If so, grab your journal and a pen. Take a few minutes and reflect on your childhood. What things did you like to do? Camping? Catching frogs? Doodling? Singing? Try and come up with as many things as possible. Once you have a full list, reflect on which of those have been missing in your life. Next, figure how to make those things a reality.