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The Library

The Library

“AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH—!”

He landed hard on his back. He struggled to catch his breath, while his mind scrambled to understand what had happened. One moment, he was being shoved off a cliff by his wife; the next, he was lying on a marble floor, in what appeared to be a library.

He sat up. Not dead. No blood, no broken bones, no shattered organs. Somehow, he didn’t die, and ended up here instead.

“No, you died,” a voice said behind him.

He whirled around to see a woman sitting behind a high counter. Slowly, he got to his feet. Dead or not, he hurt like he just fell off a cliff.

She smiled politely at his approach.

“Have you come to return a book today?”

“I’m sorry?”

“The book you checked out is due today.”

“I don’t have a book—” He suddenly felt something in a pocket he didn’t know he had. Reaching in, he pulled out a well-worn paperback, with random pages dog-eared. The covers were sun-faded, the pages slightly water damaged. He hesitantly handed it up to the woman, embarrassed.

She took it without a word, without breaking the polite smile that looked like it reached her eyes, but may not have.

“Where am I?”

She flipped through the book, smoothing out the folded pages. “You’re in the Library.”

He glanced around. “I can see that.” The room was round, bookshelves covering every inch of wall space. There was no door. Or windows.

He turned back to the woman. “Where is the Library? Why am I here?”

She finished the inspection and set the book down, placing her hand on top of it. “You’ve come to return this life and check out another.”

“What?”

“It’s a routine procedure, you’ve done it many times before.”

“WHAT?”

She picked up a leather-bound book from a stack that magically appeared on her left and wrote something in it, then handed the book over the counter to him. He took it. It was a blank journal, brand new. On the first page, she had written:

CHECKED OUT 11/21/1907
DUE 3/26/1944

“Wait, today is October 12, 2019. How can I go back in time?”

She tilted her head. “Time does not exist.”

His vision begins to darken. Her voice cut through the last traces of his conscious:

“Have a good life.”

 

 

Photo by Jaredd Craig on Unsplash

The Pros and Cons of Traveling Alone

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I’ve gone on four solo trips, two planned and two that became solo trips because my friends bailed on me at the last minute. I was originally upset and nervous, but in hindsight, if they hadn’t bailed on me, I would never had started traveling solo. I wouldn’t have such amazing, memorable trips in five different countries.

That said, solo travel isn’t all fun and games. Here are some of the pros and cons I’ve encountered while traveling alone. (I’m starting with the cons cuz they can be fixed.)

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I’m a few days into my birthday month; ever since I first heard of it, I thought it was a wonderful idea. We all need to celebrate ourselves for a whole month, especially when our birthday falls on a work day – it’s the epitome of self-care. Since it’s been a rough few months for me, I made the resolution to focus on creating more joy for my birthday month.

What is joy?

Joy is defined as “an intense, momentary experience of positive emotion.”

We don’t necessarily think joy can be created on a daily basis. We reserve joy for the big events in our lives: birthdays, graduations, weddings. But in Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness, Ingrid Fetell Lee shows us that we can create joy in our lives with little design changes to our surroundings.

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A couple of times I thought of emailing the professor to cancel my application (other students did, for various reasons). But somehow I worked up the courage to go on the trip and didn’t end up making a fool of myself on the assignments. And if I did, people were kind enough not to say anything.

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