May 23, 2021

This week, I realized that I was only superficially reading my current book (The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, by Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago). Then I did something I can’t remember doing in a book I am reading for pleasure – I started over, with pen in hand, underlining the phrases and ideas that I want to remember. I did that because now that I am retired, I have 50+ additional hours a week and so suddenly, I am not in such a hurry to finish the book in front of me. As a member of an ambitious book club, I am often awed at how much the other members get out of the books we read and how much I miss because of the hum of urgency that has dominated my brain for so long. It will be so rewarding if I can go deeper, like they do.

I usually make many New Year’s resolutions to increase the probability that I will make progress on at least one front. Not in 2021: The precise words of my 2021 New Year’s Resolution are: “Build a sustainable retired lifestyle – economically, physically and emotionally healthy, productive”.  I now wish I had included the word ‘intellectually’… Even without an added word, the resolution feels like a challenge and if I am going to do it, I can not waste time. I can, however, re-read chapter by chapter to try to understand a complicated and layered novel — learning to go deeper, building a healthier, more satisfying intellectual life.

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