Life with Lin: Healing my inner middle-schooler

Graphic+courtesy+of+Canva.

Graphic courtesy of Canva.

Lin Luo, Multimedia Editor

I’ve recently felt like I’ve been living in some sick, twisted, time-loop. I wake up at 5:30 a.m. Monday to Friday, and I’m not able to fall asleep until around 11 p.m. In the vignettes of free time I get throughout my packed day, I seem to only do one thing: stare at my phone. Descending down my TikTok For You page, scrolling through my Instagram feed, or even just stalking my classmates’ various social media accounts, my day-to-day life mostly consists of staring at a screen or deep in dreamless sleep. 

As a result, I’ve felt intensely horrible. 

My horrendous posture while I’m on my phone makes me feel like some teenage Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the burning of my retinas does absolutely nothing to help my already poor vision. Even as I’m scrolling, I’m aware that I could be spending my free time on something else that would benefit me exponentially more. 

To try and help my issue, I decided to fall back on something that I’d previously had an addiction to: reading books. I’d already been lightly reading over the past year, but as I enter the winter of my senior year I’ve found that I have more time on my hands — thanks to the end of my marching band season — and I can actually indulge myself in things I enjoy. 

As with any relapse, my descent started relatively small: “Normal People” by Sally Rooney. A soulful, contemporary classic, “Normal People” captured my heart as I riddled its pages with various underlines of the lines describing intense yearnings.

From there, it only got worse when I decided to dive into the “The Six of Crows Duology.” 

From only reading a couple of pages my heart was gone. Not literally; stolen by a fictional man. The morally-ambiguous, sardonic, and raven-haired Kaz Brekker is a master thief, both in the book and to me. 

This situation only further escalated when I made a trip to my local Barnes & Noble and purchased the YA-dystopian “The Red Queen.” I instantly judged from the back summary that the novel would be mediocre at best, and probably heavily pandered to teenage-girl readers with a classic love triangle set-up between the personality-lacking female protagonist, the proper and virtuous “good boy” and the angst-riddled “bad boy.”  None of this seemed to matter to me, however, as I flipped through the pages. “Bad boy” Maven Calore had a hold on my heart, and even when his slightly unsurprising villain twist came and went, I didn’t care. I actually felt myself rooting for him purely out of attraction. 

Now, I know it’s a little silly to have crushes on YA love interests — quite literally strings of words written by someone else — but I can’t help myself. I felt myself getting emotional towards books in a way I haven’t since I was a small middle schooler, blissfully unaware of the stresses that come with getting older.

As I’ve gotten older, life’s become over-intellectualized. 

College applications, AP coursework, and a long-winded string of extracurricular activities make it difficult to experience media purely for pleasure, and not for any deeper, analytical purpose. After a grueling day, sometimes it’s best to just turn off the critical thinking part of the brain, lay back, and meet up with your literary crush.