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It’s crazy what can happen in a month. Everyone is back to work after another weekend of festivities for the Epiphany here in Italy. Soon the Christmas lights will come down and the trees will disappear, and we’re left with a quiet Florence until the new students start to settle into the city in the upcoming weeks. Then by April, tourism season is heavy again – just as the nice weather starts to float in.

I want to do so much and I feel like I’ve already “wasted” seven days of it when I start thinking about work. After reading the article “How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation” by Anne Helen Petersen, I can hopefully tell myself with security that spending a few days away from my computer is OK. That seems to be the theme of things lately. Regardless, there’s a time to get back to work and we’ve hit it.

As I get into the rhythm of writing these every day, I am also reading more every morning – which will hopefully transition also to a nighttime routine. Rami dusted off one of his favorites and suddenly, we’re both back to reading again. For anyone that wants to write, I urge you to read. I don’t just mean articles you find on Facebook or the occasional book because it was popular. I mean to read for the art of how the words are sewn together to make you feel things. The more I read, the more I want to write. The more the words flow. The more I feel better.

This all goes back to the phone-addiction and how social media is a reward system that we’re getting addicted to, etc. A book is focus. A book is one meditative artform to focus on in a world where our attention is requested elsewhere every few seconds. PS. If anyone ever wants to make book recommendations, I am always looking for more. Leave them in the comments here, on Facebook, on Goodreads. Doesn’t matter. If you liked it lately, I want to hear about it. Also, I need more friends on GoodReads. Hint.

Another extremely talented writer sent out an email explaining that she likes to choose a word for the intention she sets for her upcoming year. My word seems to be “focus” so far. I don’t hate it. There’s a story in Buddhism called The Flower Sermon where Buddha simply held up a Lotus flower in silence. Focus makes your brain a superhero. Makes you slow down, analyze, experience, understand. At least, that’s what I’m going with for now.

I’m cutting this short because my bulldog just walked right across my laptop and confidently stuck her face in my bowl of soup. She had been focusing on it for the past half hour and finally decided the only way was right over me, which actually worked. She’s definitely not getting away with it, but as I go to wipe squash out of her nose, I will say that in the end, her focus was rewarded? Let’s hope mine will too – but let’s hope I achieve something better than a nose full of soup.

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