Aug. 12, 2021

Shelby Lam on the importance of alone time, fertility nursing & the #bookstagram community.

Shelby Lam, an old high school friend, joins me for a conversation about her recent Western travels, which included visits to five national parks. PLUS, we discuss:

  • her career as a fertility nurse (15:03)
  • her "bookstagram" account and obsession with reading (27:28)
  • three book recommendations for young adults (40:16)
  • our respective thoughts on the single life (47:01)

You can also watch today's conversation here.

Shelby Lam is a 26-year-old fertility nurse who currently lives in Troy, NY. A 2013 graduate of Shenendehowa High School and 2017 graduate of SUNY Geneseo, Shelby is also an AVID reader who spends her free time devouring books and talking about them in book clubs with the passionate bookstagram community.

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peace and love.


Good morning, everyone. Welcome in to another episode of The Troy Farkas Show, a podcast that is not about me, all of us. The twenties are a crucial time in our lives and on this show, we navigate the highs and lows of early adulthood together. Thank you so much for joining me. Hope you are all having a great week.

I'm having a better week now than when I last spoke to you. On Monday, because I was dealing with this coffee dilemma, trying to get myself off coffee, but I'm an addict and I can't. And so that I'm dealing with all this brain fog and can't think clearly. So I apologize for Monday's episode, being all over the place due to my lack of focus, but I've made the switch here to mushroom coffee, couple days into it.

It's supposed to be better for your energy levels. So it gives you some reviews after some more. With that hope it all, having a great week again, that you're working hard, that you're doing shit. You love that you're being physically active, that you're taking a step back and just kind of analyzing things in your life as you should be in this most ambitious part of our lives.

Thank you for joining on today's episode, because I'm super excited for you all to hear a conversation that I had this week with Shelby lamb, for those of you who don't know Shelby Lam, that you know, maybe don't come back to my childhood. Shelby Lam is a girl. She was in the grade above. A lot of people liked her.

Everyone, you know, she's a part of the popular crowd, right? A lot of the guys like there, all that good stuff. And so I never really knew much about her. We were never friends. We didn't cross paths at all. We weren't in the same social circles. Um, and again, she was a year older than me, so I just never.

Talked with her before. And I've been following along with her, just like I have with several other people on Instagram, through the years, just checking in every now and then. Oh, what are people up to? And then I just came across her profile the other day and took some scans at, I said, whoa, wait, this girl looks really interesting.

I think I would like to talk to her. And so reached out last week and we made it happen. And I had a wonderful conversation. We talked about all sorts of things that she and I are both interested in, uh, traveling. She just completed a big west coast trip with some family members across the country, visiting five different national parks, which is sick.

I would love to do something like that myself with people I care about. She, uh, you know, talked about lessons learned from that trip. She's talking about her career path. She is a nurse, one of several friends that I have that are in this industry. So it's okay. Good for me to learn more about it. She works in fertility, which is different.

I've never met anyone who works in fertility. So we will talk about that. And she is also a biblio file. Didn't know that was a term nor did I know that there was this whole different layer of social media bookstagrams. Have you heard of books to grams before? People who are just book lovers on Instagram, all congregate together and post what books they're reading, what they want to read.

They give their reviews, they give synopsis synopsis, synopsis of the books, and they just all have this huge online community. So that's something Shelby and I are going to dive deep into. We're going to give three book recommendations for young people who are out here getting it, trying to. That our best selves.

So if you want to go watch this thing, it is over on the Troy Farkas YouTube channel. If you want to go watch it, but if not, you're just listening out on a walk in the garden, cooking, cleaning on the treadmill, whatever it is you're doing, I do hope you kick back and enjoy my conversation with Shelby Lam.

So some photos that you've been posting recently came across my feed and I was like, all right, this girl seems really interesting adventurous. We could talk about some things here. So Shelby lamps, super excited to welcome you on today. Thank you for joining me. I'm so good. Thank you so much for having me.

It was so unexpected, but like such a pleasant surprise. I was like, wow. I feel so cool. I'm like a cool Clifton park girl now. Oh, you are definitely a cool Clifton park girl. Definitely. One of the coolest girls. Do you ever call her? Let them park. I'm sure. Every guy in the class of 2013, uh, kind of cuts to that, which by the way, I am using these shoes.

2013 yearbook to prop up my laptop right now. Amazing. I don't even know where mine is. Honestly. I really got to whip that out for the memes, you know, or the memes. Okay. So there's a bunch I want to talk to you about, and I will try to get you out of this in time, because you've got your big bachelorette final to go to catch me up quick.

What's the situation what's going down tonight. We're talking about. All right. So apparently the season ended early because she, I don't really know. She was down to her bottom three last week. There was a guy she was clearly in love with, but wouldn't tell, tell him she loved him, even though he was saying that he loved her and he kind of lost his shit and left.

And then that's where they live. So now we have him gone in only two less, but I don't think that she like gets engaged at the end. So we got to see how it all works out. Ooh, interesting. Okay. I'm hooked. I'll have to go back and watch it off. I want to first talk to you about today. So you've been doing, you've just wrapped up a big trip out west.

You were out in Utah and Nevada and Arizona and all these places. I was out west. Uh, earlier this year, I was just bouncing around. I was living in Colorado for a couple of months, bouncing around Oregon, California, Arizona. Is really my first time ever spending a lot of time out there. And I fell in love with it.

It is so much different than the east coast. I'm a big history buff. And so the history is just completely different and it's so young out there, but in terms of how long these places have actually been states, uh, as part of the United States. So I absolutely loved my time out there. Almost considered living out in Colorado.

I've decided to move to New Hampshire. I'm moving there in two weeks. And, uh, yes, it is very exciting. Uh, I'm super pumped about it moving to Portsmouth which I don't know if we've ever been, but add it to your list if you haven't been there. Very cool sea coast town, but this trip, I want to talk about it with you.

First of all. I try to plan trips with my friends. It's so difficult to do it these days, because just the older you get, the more responsibilities you have, jobs, relationships, people are flakes. Like people are less inclined to want to do things. Now it's just a thing about getting old, I guess. So how were you able to first pull this?

Yeah. So it's actually kind of a funny story. So I, back in January, when my boss opened up the year of PTO requests, I just requested off my birthday week. So I was like, oh, I'll find something to do. And then in like June, maybe late may, early June, I was saying to my parents, I was like, maybe I'll just go by myself somewhere like that.

It's so hard that, like you said, it's so hard to plan stuff with friends. Like nobody can take work off the same time as me. So I was like, maybe I'll just like go to the beach for a week or something. And they were like, you should talk to your cousin, Taylor, like, you know, she, she might be interested in doing something with you.

So I just reached out to her. And then we were just both talking about how we really want to go see national parks. And I've, I've always wanted to see more. I've only been to Acadia in Maine. That was wanting to see more. And she was kind of going through a breakup and had originally planned going on this trip with a boyfriend that was no longer in the picture.

So we kind of got the idea in our heads that we would try to plan something. Then, um, we enlisted the help of her older sister and my other cousin Morgan. Who was immediately into it and want it to go to, and within 24 hours of us coming up with this plan, Morgan had planned the entire ship. I was emailed an itinerary for the week of all the places we were going to go.

And like the amount of time we would be in the car and all this stuff, I was like, this is insane. So it just all kind of fell into place perfectly. It worked out so perfectly. I don't think anything like this will ever work out that well, again, traveler are you because there there's two ways to do it.

You can have the itinerary plan, everything down to a T how long are you going to be in each place? Or you can do my preferred way, which is not having any plan at all. And just seeing where the wind takes you. And sometimes that leads to some amazing stories. Uh, of something good that happens, or it leads you to being totally lost and confused and, or like sleeping somewhere that you don't want to be sleeping.

And that also creates a good story, right? Yeah. I feel like that's more, my vibe probably is just going where the wind takes me, but in this case we had kind of a strict schedule to stick to because we wanted to see five national parks in the five days that we were there. So we were kind of limited with that, but for the most part, we would go to the park without much of a plan.

Like when we went to Yosemite, we kind of just were like, let's just drive around and just kind of see where we want to go. Like, you know, cause when you make plans, a lot of the times they just don't work out. Like there were things we had had on our list for each national park, but most of the things on our list we weren't able to do for one reason or another, whether, you know, Falls aren't there.

The water's too low, whatever it is. So I feel like in the parks, we kind of went with the flow, but definitely besides that, we were on a pretty strict schedule typically though, I like to go with the flow. Love that. So what, what was your, did you fly into somewhere and then just drive around? Yeah. So basically we just flew into Las Vegas and then they actually have a rental car center there that I assume is open 24 hours.

Cause we went at like midnight. Um, so we had already kind of planned out the rental car in advance and we like, we like found a good deal on one. So as soon as we got off the plane, we got the rental car and then we just stayed in a cheap hotel nearby. And then started our journey the next day and just like we went into California and then like back to Nevada and then to Utah and then to Arizona and then back to Nevada.

And then we just finished in Las Vegas for the night and then flew back home. So what was the highlight? Which is such a hard question. I know massive though, since I feel like I changed my answer every time I get asked the question, but it would have to be this hike that I went on in Zion. It was only like intense like that we went on all week, really, because for the most part, we wanted to just do as many things as possible in each park.

And if you're doing an intense, like this is going to take a lot of your day up. Um, but my cousin Morgan had been to Zion already and she'd done this hike. And she said it was like the best thing she'd ever done. Like we had to. So it's called angels landing. And, uh, I think it's, it's like a 1500 feet elevation gain something SU two too crazy, but it's like two and a half miles, but the whole last, like, I think the last half mile is pretty much rock climbing.

These chains that you're holding on to, to get up to the top. So it was pretty intense and I wasn't, I'm not really afraid of Heights. Like I wasn't scared, but like physically, it was pretty grueling for me. I don't do a ton of hiking. I wanted to start now. I feel kind of inspired to now, but I don't normally do a lot of it.

So I was nervous about that. And then my cousin Taylor is afraid of. So she was afraid of that part. So my poor cousin Morgan is like, just to like encourage us the whole time. But yeah, there was definitely some points where both Taylor and I were like, I don't know, going like, this is a little scary. It's a little intense, but we've made it to the top.

Right. So beautiful, like just incredible. It's like such a small area. You're out on the top and you're just on this like flat rock. And it's like, if you go like a little bit, one way or the other, like you're dead. So yeah, my, my, my family, every time I go out on a hike, my mom makes me send her the address, like the mountain of where I'm going.

Cause she is so convinced. She reads all these stories about, oh, hiker falls to death, taking selfie on top of mountain. So I'm glad that you have survived to tell the tale here. Now the best part of hiking obviously is you're burning a lot of calories. You're working hard all day. You're sweating. The reward afterwards.

So I personally love to go get like a nice IPA on a hot day after a good hike. That's the move. What's the post hike move for you? Yeah, so I'm not a big beer girl. I wish I was, but it's, it's not my vibe. Um, so after it'd be good and got food and we got this, I got a really good sandwich and I remember the fries too.

Just chefs. Cause they were just on point exactly what I needed and that hit the spot. Like for me, it's like, I want greasy. I feel like after I like get a good work on him, which is so stupid, but it really hit the spot. It was perfect. Now when I'm traveling and such every time I go out on a trip or they're just a vacation or a longer term deal, I like to kind of just keep tabs every day.

Okay. What am I learning? What am I learning about the world? Or what am I learning about myself and the way in which I view the world. Did you come away from this trip with any like big lessons about your life that you're going to carry with you? Yeah, that's a really good question. I feel like I just really want to do more.

Like the whole time I was there, this is a lot, but I was just thinking like, this is what it's all for. Like when you're just working all day, every day and you're doing laundry and you're cooking and you're cleaning and all that stuff just kind of feel so monotonous. And you're like, this is all I'm doing.

Like, what is the point of just like doing this every day? So while I was there, I kept saying my cousins, like, this is why we do this. Like, this is why you work. And like struggle through the hard stuff. Like it's for experiences like. And I definitely want to do that a lot more and put more effort into that.

Like, you know, usually I would be more for like a relaxing vacation, but I got so much more out of this. I was tired at the end, but like, it was just so worth it. So it's hard as those trips can be to plan and everything. I definitely want to try to do a lot more of that and just see more and do Warren be more adventure.

So I find it curious. So I also being an adventurous person. So you are still living, you're living on the outskirts of Troy New York, which is not far from where we grew up. Uh, I have no desire to live in the area in which I grew up loved the 5, 1 8 love Clifton park, upstate for life. But, you know, I just feel caged in there.

Like I've accomplished everything that I've wanted to do in that area that, that I just want to go and spread my wings and see new things and, and all that good stuff. So as someone who, you know, like yourself is adventurous, how do you feel about being in the area in which you grew up? Yeah. If you asked my close friends or family, I talk about moving all the time.

Like I've played with the idea so many times, but I just I'm really close with my family. My family's all here and I have close friends here, but mainly honestly, Like jobs. Like I always planned to just work at Albany med for a couple of years and then maybe move to like Boston or I don't know, like a city, you know, move somewhere different, do something different.

Um, but then this job I have now kind of fell into my lap and I love it. I love the people I work with. Like, it's just not the type of job that you can find very easily in nursing because I'm doing hands-on nursing care, but I'm in the outpatient setting. So I have normal hours and I'm getting paid pretty well, you know, for what I'm doing.

That's not a job. That's easy to find. So now I, now I guess I feel a little bit stuck because of the job, but yeah, I still kind of play around with the idea too. And like, I still have friends moving regularly, moving away. So, I don't know that I wouldn't say that I never will move away, but I just really like it here.

I don't know. I don't know if I'll find anywhere better. Yeah, no, listen, there's nothing wrong with that. I wish I could feel that way about the area, you know? Cause I similarly have a lot of friends here and family here and my mom convinces me all the time or tries to convince me all the time. Hey, there's these nice apartments right across from hand or food.

Thank you. Would be great in them. And I'm just like, sorry mom. I got to go do my own thing. You mentioned your job. So you are, and I found out all about this today. So let me try and get this straight. So you went undergrad to Geneseo and then you graduated with a degree in biology there, and then you got into this.

You decided that, okay. I want to be a nurse after Geneseo. You go to a Utica college, which is in Western New York, kind of on like a fast pace program to try to get you. To get you to become a nurse. And at some point you also become, you know, you work at Albany med and then you make the transition into being a fertility nurse, which you are now, which you love or doing well with.

So I just kind of want to get into your head here. Yeah, we're at Geneseo doing biology. And then you decided you wanted to become a nurse. Why? Yeah. Yeah. So when I was applying to colleges in high school, I actually applied to nursing programs and biology programs. Um, but I just, I don't know, Dennis Hill was kind of like my dream school, I guess they had this great biology program.

And I don't know once I visited, I just kind of fell in love. So when I got in there, I was like, I'm just going to do that. Do the biology thing. I'll figure it out. I still was toying with the idea of maybe like PA school or maybe I'll be a veterinarian or I don't know. I was kind of all over the place.

Um, and then while I was there, you know, taking different classes, like especially my anatomy class and working with my professors in those classes. I don't know, I just realized that I didn't really want to do the research thing. I wanted to work with people more. Um, I wasn't sure that I wanted to be a provider in medicine, nothing wrong with that.

Obviously it's an incredible and important job. Um, but I just felt like I really wanted to have it. You know, close hands on relationships with your patients. And I wanted to be the one advocating for them. Um, so I don't know. I just, something just kind of clicked into place with that. Um, and I was like, that's, I'm going to do, I'm going to be a nurse.

Like, I think that's the right move for me. It feels right. And then I, you know, started doing some shadowing and, and stuff like that in the hospital setting with nurses. And I was like, yep, this is what I want to do. Like they just care so much and work so hard and they're all such rock stars. And I don't know, I was just like, I want to be that I want to do that.

That's what I did. So how'd you land on fertility nurse? So when I was in nursing school, I already kind of had my heart set on PDFs. But then when I did my labor and delivery clinical, I was like, wow, like women's health is really fascinating. Like this is really cool. Like I just didn't know that much about it really.

And when I was applying to jobs, I was planning to apply to both like labor and delivery floors and pediatric floors. So when you go out of nursing school, you have to start in the hospital. You have to start on floors. Um, and then when I got a pediatrics job, I was like, this is great. You know, I'm lucky to be getting a job like that.

It's usually hard to get jobs in that field right out of school. Um, and then while I was in pediatrics, I realized I love kids. Like I love working with kids, but I felt like I maybe wanted to work with adults. Like sometimes you do feel like you're kind of going a little crazy when you're doing like baby talk all day, or like just try spending a half an hour, trying to convince someone to take their medicine.

Like I was going a little crazy. So. I was like starting to play with the idea of women's health again, and thinking more about that. And I was like, maybe I'll go to the labor, labor and delivery floor, you know, see what I can do and not thinking I would be able to get an outpatient job. But then my friend that I had previously worked with there had this job at a fertility clinic and she just texted me when they had a job opening and I was like, you should just come check it out and shadow us and see, and yeah, the rest is history.

Wow. Okay. So I'm so naive when it comes to women's reproductive health. So forgive me if I ask any dumb questions, uh, what is it that you enjoy the most about working in the clinic? Yeah, so, um, I feel like it's just, it's definitely its own worlds, fertility, and I like it because it feels like it combines the, my biology background and nursing because I work alongside the embryologists, which are the people making the babies, making the embers.

I get to watch what they do and be a part of that while also, you know, being that, you know, comfort person for the woman, going through the process and helping them feel more comfortable and talking them through things and giving them advice. And it just feels like a combination of all the things that I like.

So I just love it. So I imagine this is a very emotional job. This is maybe a nursing job more so. Other types of nurses that involves you to be kind of like emotionally invested in for people to lean on you for emotional. Yes, that's definitely true. And it's, they're taking hormone therapy, so it like their emotions are actually like out of this world.

Sometimes it's not their fault. It's just the medicine we're making them take, but it is, it's definitely an emotional process. And they're also, I work in the, or so they're also undergoing anesthesia, which tends to bring out emotions and people when you come out of the anesthesia. So definitely a lot of emotions going around, but a lot of the time it's happy emotion.

Which I love, but I definitely, like when I see my patient here, I tear up immediately. Like in voluntarily. It's just, it is, it's such a it's, it can be really exciting and it can be really hard too. Um, and it's hard not to feel it with them alongside them. Um, but I, I love that part too. I love like, I dunno, being there for them.

Yeah. Are you able to, for example, you know, I had someone on a couple of weeks ago who was a reporter and there's some times where you cover stories that, you know, like a kidnapping or something happens to a child and you take those stories home with you. Like that's not something that you can just leave at the office.

Do you ever struggle with things like that, where you leave the office and you're still thinking about something that happened. I definitely do sometimes when you see patients that just really are going through it and they, you know, they've been going through this process for years on end and they just, just cannot get lucky.

Like they just cannot have anything work out for them. That definitely is hard to see. And, you know, in nursing too, you definitely, sometimes you can definitely have compassion, fatigue. Hmm. And, you know, I felt that way when I was in pediatrics, like you were, I was just seeing so much sadness constantly 24 7, and it was bringing all of it home with me that it was like, weighing me down that I felt like I almost couldn't be compassionate anymore.

So this one, I feel like it's a, it's a healthy amount. Like, yes, I bring it home with me sometimes, but I feel like I am still able to kind of take a step back and keep myself a little bit more separated from it, which is better for my own mental health. So definitely bring it home with me, but not as, as much as I used to.

Has any of this changed your own feelings about, and forgive me for being invasive here, I have no idea what you were, what your reproductive plans are in the future that has any of this, uh, you know, affected how you think about your own. So I feel like it's hard being around women that are like trying so hard to have babies.

And sometimes some of my patients are really young unexpectedly and are having problems getting pregnant. So it definitely makes me not want to wait too long. Like I always sort of pictured myself doing it way down the road. But now I'm like, oh God, like after 35, it really gets really hard to be one.

Like, I feel like I have a ticking clock now, but I try to, again, I try to not think about it too much. Like everything will work out it's okay. I've always wanted to have kids. So, you know, I still do it. Hasn't changed that. But I definitely try to keep myself a little bit separated from that. However, it has definitely taught me because this is something I didn't know before working here, not to ask people if they're like a couple that gets married, you're like, oh, we're going to have babies.

Or, you know, when are you going to start? Like, people ask that that's a normal thing to ask, but that can be really triggering for people. Um, and I just, I just didn't realize how many people were going through. You know these struggles. So it's definitely taught me to be more mindful about that topic too, which I never knew before.

Yeah, no, that's a really good point. Uh, I know people don't go around bragging about conception issues or anything like that. So I'm curious. Do you have any, any data on just how common it is for people to have, uh, difficulties conceiving? Like how is it more common than we think it is? It's definitely more common than we think it is.

I don't remember off the top of my head, the statistics, but I do know that. More often than we think it's actually a male factor in fertility. Um, which is interesting in a, in a lot of that is actually like lifestyle related, like alcohol, you know, drugs, the food you eat, um, things like that can have a really major effect on that actually, which I didn't know at all.

Um, and I just feel like it's something in fertility, if you're in fertility and you immediately assume that we're talking about a woman. But it's not, that's not really the case. Um, that it is definitely in general, more common than, than I ever thought it would be. Okay. So now you've got me freaking out, uh, as a manager, what are some of the most important things I can do right now to make sure that I'm good?

Whenever if ever. At this present moment, I have no interest in ever having kids, but I imagine that will change at some point. I get that. Yeah. I mean, I think there are changes that you can make right around when you're starting to have kids. It's not something you have to make an advancement is really just living a healthier life, like being active and eating healthy.

And the big one is alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Those are really big ones that, um, if the man is able to quit smoking, quit drinking, it can make a really big difference. Um, so I would say those are probably the biggest two. Okay. I feel like I'm good. I don't smoke cigs and I eat a lot of oatmeal. So I think that covers, so why aren't you, why, why have you been putting, having kids on the back burner?

Because you make it sound like it's something that like is way down the line. Why exactly. Yeah. So I feel mentally 19 years old. So like, I don't feel like I'm playing. Right. So it still feels to me like a very far away idea, but I guess now there's a lot more people, my age having kids and everything. And it is, that is kind of like a scary thing.

Like, oh yeah. That is something that probably isn't that far away. Um, But it's still, I don't know. I just, I don't even, I don't have a boyfriend or anything. I'm not even like, like my clients ask me this all the time. They're like, oh, do you have any kids? Or, you know, like, what's your situation? And I'm always like, I don't even have a boyfriend I'm I got a few steps to reach before that.

So I guess it just feels far away for that reason. Um, but I definitely, I definitely want them hopefully in the future. Can you imagine right now, just taking care of another human being. I cannot do that. You're 26, I'm 25 taking care of myself as I'm sure. You know, you can probably relate is enough of responsibility.

I want to get a dog, but then I think about, all right, well, I want to go out west for a week. I got to figure out what to do with the dog. I have to pay someone to hire someone when we worrying about the dog. Like not just the dog, not another human being, I can't imagine. And the people, our age that are out here having kids, I have no idea how they're.

I can't even fathom that at this stage, in my life. Like I had absolutely no idea how I could possibly take care of another human being and say, I also want to get a dog at some point. I've been thinking about that a lot too. And that scares me. Like, not even just the, all the lifestyle changes and stuff, but it's just like, I'm responsible for this life.

Like I am their sole caretaker. That's really scary. Like, you know, it's a lot of responsibility and I know some of my friends with dogs. It's a big financial burden too. Like they're taking them to the vet all the time. Like that's every visit to the vet is so expensive. Like it's a lot. Yeah, for sure. Now, so you mentioned don't have a boyfriend that you were considering going out on this solo trip.

So I'm curious, like how well do you do being alone? Yeah. So I actually really value my alone time. I'm definitely a very comfortable being alone. Yeah. I really like it. And I definitely have like a battery, a social battery, and it runs out pretty quickly and I need like alone time to recover. Um, I feel like, I mean, I like having a roommate because you ha you have company when you need it, but you also can go be in your room and be by yourself when you need it.

Which I think is part yeah. Um, so I really, and I like do things alone. Like I go to the movie theater alone, like, I'll go get lunch a lot. Like I have no problem being alone. Wow. Gosh, I absolutely love this. You just summed up my life there because I also have a social battery. You know, I feel like I need a certain amount of time alone so that when I am actually with people, which is a blessing, which I'm grateful for when that happens, that I can actually be me.

But if I'm just stacking days and days on top of one, another being with people, I'm just so drained. Right. It's kind of a thing that's happening with COVID here now is that we were just all so insular for so long that the such a battery has even less charged to start with. I completely agree. Yeah. Like I've been starting to go out more again and by like midnight, I'm like, yeah, I got to go it's time.

W so, uh, so you go to the movie theaters low and you eat lunch alone. You love reading alone as well, which is also a solitary activity. So I want to talk to you about reading because I had no idea. Uh, that this was a big interest of your Shelby. So as I was scrolling, scrolling on Instagram, seeing your cool travel pics, you know, Lincoln, the bio to your other Instagram account @shelbbsbookstagram which I had no idea.

Books to grams were a thing here. I didn't know, book, I didn't know, book Instagram was popping off. So I'm excited to talk to you about book Instagram, this love of reading. When did you first. Yeah. So ever since I was a kid, I always loved reading to be fair. I did not. I don't like reading things I'm told to read, so I never really liked eating in school, but I loved reading for fun.

Like I loved that. I always did, but I never did a ton of it. You know, when you're in school, you have so much going on when you're young in college, like I only really got to read in the summers. Um, cause when you're reading textbooks all day, you don't really want to go home and then read a book. Um, but pretty much once I got out of nursing school, I.

So back into it. And I've been reading like constantly, especially with quarantine. I feel like that's when I really, really, I was reading more than I ever have a fourth. It's all I did. Um, so yeah, that's when I got into it and then making the books to made me get even more into it. Cause I just found this like community of book lovers and they're all recommending books to me all the time.

And now I have this enormous pile of books that I still need to read in my apartment. So what drove you to create the book? Yeah. So it was like an idea I kind of toyed with. Cause I, within my friend groups, I was kind of the book girl. Like I was the one that would always recommend books and like tell people what to read and stuff.

Um, so I was like, oh, maybe I should just like do it just for like, for my friends, just like I'll follow. And I like taking pictures of books, suicides like that. It seems like take some great photos of books you make these books look really good. I really appreciate it. I really do. I try really hard, but yeah.

So that's what I did. And then I, um, Followed a bunch of other books to grants to sort of figure out what to do and how they do it. And they all, they're like all the nicest people ever, they all follow each other. Everyone follows you back all of the books to grams. So every like every book scrim has thousands of followers because everyone just follows each other and like cheers each other on like comments on everyone's photos and respond to all the stories.

Like they're all very involved, which I just thought was so fun. It's like, I'm so happy that you said that because social media is such a judgmental place these days, everyone thinks about before they press send or post on it on IgE on Tik TOK. Oh my gosh. What are people going to think of this and where people want to think I'm a loser, yada, yada, all of these things that we do in our heads.

I've actually been finding that with this podcast, with your books to Graham, I'm getting way more support for it than I ever thought. And I don't feel like a loser putting shit out. And you don't feel like a loser taking photos of your books in a nice way, listing them out on Instagram. Like it's actually, once you find the right community, It's actually a lot more supportive than we give it credit for.

It is like, I never would have expected that. I thought it was just going to be my family and friends following it. Like I never expected this to be such a thing, but it is like, everyone's so supportive and, you know, and even like, people will sometimes post like, Hey, I'm just, you know, not, I just need to get away from social media a little bit and just not going to post for a bit.

And everyone's like, yeah, you do that. You got this. Like, everyone's just so nice about everything. And I'm like, oh, I just love it here. So I'm a minimalist. This is a thing about me. Like having lots of things freak me out. And so I am also a lover of books, but with my books, I keep a very, uh, small collection of like five books that I have with me at all times.

I I've moved around a bunch. And when I'm traveling, I always have. Anytime I go on a weekend trip. I have at least one book with me, whether it's like Thoreau's Walden or Merck has released his meditations, all of these, like kind of like philosophy books and such a, I always have those with me. So I have a small collection of books.

And then when I bring more books into my life, I kind of like, okay, buy one, donate one, give one to a friend. Or the library is so underrated. I think people forget that libraries. Amazing. So what is your philosophy in terms of acquiring collecting books? Cause if I were to have a shelf of like a hundred books, I would go and set.

Yeah, it is. And I, I'm definitely not a minimalist. I am not, I wish I was like, that's the vibe. I want my apartment to be. Just not who I am as a person. I have so many books everywhere and they're just like, my nightstand is covered. I have two bookshelves that are filled at them. Like they're just everywhere, but I have, I'm like, I'm a bibliophile.

So it means that I love like book, like real books, like holding them. I love the smell of them. I just love looking at them. So I like like owning books and I, I, anytime I read a book, I like half to buy it. I have to have it to like put it on my read shelf. I've read it. So I'm guessing I'll read shelf in an unread.

Yeah, it's called a TBR shelf to be read. Of course shouldn't have known. That's great. Okay. So you, the digital books thing, Kindles audio books. I I'm not into it. I just really, I like the feel of the pages. I just like, I like in it, there's just something satisfying too about like, oh, wow. I just read this much of a book like that.

So impressive. There's just something more satisfying about it for me. I know financially it's definitely a lot better to do, you know, any of the Raiders. So I really should get into that. Um, and I'm sure someday I will like someday this is going to get old, having this many books in, anytime I move, I have to move all these books with me.

So definitely someday, but for now, No I'm with you. I also like the feel of a book turning the pages. And also, I mean, maybe me more so than you for my job. I spent so much time behind screens when I'm doing my leisurely activities of reading. I don't want to be looking at a screen anymore. And so I've done the Kindle book before, but I just love reading.

Exactly. Exactly. It's just not the same. I don't know. I don't get it. And you're like not turning a page. You're like clicking a button. I don't like it. What are your ideal reading spots? That's a really good question. So we have a really comfortable couch in our apartment and it has this, I forget what it's called.

It's like a cozy or something. It's this weird like sort of corner piece. And it just fits, fits me perfectly with like a pillow behind it and a blanket over me. I have a view of our beautiful porch with my roommate's beautiful garden on it. That's my perfect spot for reading. I love it. Anything else with you?

Like, is there some music in the background, you have a beverage of some kind. Yeah, I love tea. I love drinking tea while I read. And I definitely, I don't like silence a lot. And also I'll either put a random show on, in the background, really low volume, like the office, something has seen a million times, um, or I actually do kind of like listening to classical music.

Like I used to listen to that when I studied, um, in school. So sometimes when I'm reading, I like to do that too. Cause I do feel like it helps me focus on what I'm reading. So sometimes listen to that. So, how do you stay focused while reading? Because today, and I know so many people who they say that they want to get into reading, but something always pops up.

There's always an excuse. There's a distraction. I mean, we have a million distractions right here at our fingertips all the time. So how do you make sure that you just lock it? I have to just put my phone elsewhere. I have to, I like put it on silent or whatever, just tuck it away. And I usually will just say, like, I can't look at anything or do anything until I finished this chapter.

Like, that's kind of how I do it. I can take a break after the chapter if I want to check my phone, but I try to really like use that as my time to stay off of my phone if I can. And just like separate from it as well. It's great to do before bed because then I'm not doing the phone thing before bed and then staying up late.

So I feel like that's the best thing for me. Um, but otherwise I feel like you just have to dedicate time to do it. You just have to say, this is my time to read. I'm not going to do anything else. I'm not going to watch TV. I'm not going to eat. I'm just going to read. Yup. Yup. You just have to create time for it.

If you really want to do it, you have to create time for it. You know, I'm a big to-do list guy. And so, uh, in my agenda a couple of times a week, I'd just put like lead 30 minutes. And so in that read 30 minutes period. Okay. Phone goes away. I get myself in my comfy chair and I just lock in on it. And, uh, your mind wanders, like mine wander my mind wanders as I read.

So I try to reign it in as much as possible, but, uh, I fully understand why a lot of people, you know, who are maybe not as disciplined as us, you know, Yeah, I get it. It's definitely hard. And I have that issue too. Like sometimes you're just not in it. Like, you know, sometimes you just can't really escape your thoughts and your mind and that's okay.

Like if that happens, I just kind of put the book away and I said, okay, it's not gonna, it's not gonna happen for me to say try again later. That's all right, too, whatever works, you know,

sorry, not really. What's up Marley. So you're actually in some book clubs. Aren't you? I am in book clubs. Yeah. In person virtual. Yeah. So I'm in a book club with my family and that's virtual. So that's why she was asking. Cause I do do that monthly. This is my thing with Troy she's like, what are you doing?

That's um, that's virtual and it's with like my mom, my grandma, and like cousins. It's cute. Um, and then I'm also in one with a work for. Cause it's just really just the alar girls and we meet in person once a month for that one. We definitely don't do a ton of talking about the book. And in that one, we usually do a little drinking or snacking.

Um, but yeah, we do talk a little bit about it and we'll like pick our next book. So I feel like that is such a lost art, the book club. How did you guys make this happen? Even though it's, you know, like a foe book club? Yeah. So I just going into this year, I was like, I really want to be in a book. Yeah. I have gone too long in my life without being in a book club.

And so I suggested it to my work friends first, um, and they were all really into it, which I was surprised like there's one friend, her name's Bree that I work with. Who's even more into books than I am. I would say, like, she. Crazy quickly. Um, so she was really gung ho and everyone just kind of got into the idea.

I'm not going to lie. A lot of people don't read the book. I think they just like it for the social aspect, but like half of us do, I would say. Um, and then when I did that too, like my mom and aunt were like, oh, I want to do that. That sounds fun. Um, so then I just decided to do one with them too. Um, and I usually read enough books in a month to where it's okay to have like two book club books, and then my own books each month, it usually works.

Wow. I love that. Okay. I want to, when I get to Portsmouth here, I want to try to like find a book club. I want to see if that's a thing. I don't know if, if, uh, you know, Bookstagram, Instagram accounts can help me out with yeah, no, definitely. Definitely. Cause that is such a thing. And there's a lot of like just virtual ones.

Like a lot of the books, Gramps, I follow have their own that they do, but I just feel like a lot of them get really big and then they kind of just divide people up into groups and there'll be in like the Instagram DMS. So, I don't think I've done those before, but I feel like I don't feel as invested in it without like a video chat, like a set date that you're gonna sit down and talk about it without it's like a little more casual, I guess, which isn't a bad thing, but I feel like in Portsmouth, there's definitely going to be like real club.

I feel like if you just go in like the Facebook group for that city, they probably will have something fiending to go to a poetry reading. I also love poetry reading. I've never actually seen one advertise anywhere in my life before just the movies, but I really would like to go to one. That'd be really cool.

I'd be into that. That's very hipster of you. Yes, that's what we're all about here. So a lot of people say that they want to get into reading, like I alluded to, but then they don't. It's so often I love asking people what their new year's resolutions are, just because I just love self-improvement and what they're, what people's plans are for bettering themselves and top of the list.

Often every year with people I know is I want to read more books. I want to read X amount of books this year. And then like most new year's resolutions, they fall off the train. They maybe read one too, but then life gets in the way as it always seems to do. So. Why don't you think that people, uh, you know, don't read as much as they say they will.

Yeah. I feel like it's something that you kind of lose a love for with school, honestly, because you, you have to read so much for school, whatever your subject is, it's it requires reading that's inevitable. So I feel like that's kind of part of it. Cause I did feel that way too, when I was in school, like you're just so sick of reading.

Like I just want to do something like mindless with my free time. Um, and I feel like I usually tell people, like, you just have to like get back into like find a book that's going to make you get into it. And I think something too is like, I think some people kind of force themselves to read like whatever the popular books are or like, Books that are recommended to them or certain genres, but I feel like kind of going out of your comfort zone and maybe trying something new could help.

Like I had never read fantasy books really. And then I saw some recommended on other books to grams and I now I'm like so into it and it's my favorite genre. I feel like it's the best way to really escape, um, and really like get into it. Cause it's just this whole other world. So, you know, I think just trying something new can really help people get into it, but I think that's a little scary to do so I get that.

Yeah. Well, we're about to give some book recommendations here. I've asked you to prepare a little list. I have as well, three books that were all about self-improvement on this podcast. Three books that people in their twenties should be reading right now. So Shelby, you are the guest on the podcast.

Ladies first can be one book wreck, then I'll tell you mine. All right. Perfect. So, um, my first one is a memoir. Um, it's by Michelle Obama called the coming. I'm sure a lot of people have read that one already, but I just feel like if you have it, you really should. And I it's just like, I feel like just the whole idea of that becoming like, you're always becoming no matter what age you are, you're always still becoming and transitioning and changing and you know, you can always, you know, make new moves and make changes in your life.

And I feel like that's kind of, yeah. The point of her book, like she's telling her life, but all these different directions at one in and unexpected turns and everything. And I think it's a really interesting book and I think it's a great one for someone in their twenties, especially to read for sure.

Yeah. I read it last summer. It's a great love story. Uh, Barack and Michelle have had this cute little story here. You know, it's a story about what life is like in the white house. And, you know, you talk about like, not wanting to have kids. Time, I times 100 cannot imagine being the president of the United States and all the things that they have to worry about.

The security details like to make plans for Sasha and Malia was like an hour's long process of just getting all the right people in the right places. Can't imagine it. Good choice though. It was so cool. Um, so my first book req is something I read a couple of months ago. Have you read any of Ryan holiday's book?

I don't think so. Yeah. So he writes kind of, yeah. Kind of like, and the self-help vibe. So, uh, one of his most famous books is the obstacles the way. And the premise of this book basically is that anytime that we overcome, or anytime that we encounter an obstacle, a challenge, a problem, rather than just stew in it and be frustrated about it and be angered by it and say like, why me.

We should instead flip the obstacle on its head and use it as an opportunity to learn, to be motivated, to inspired. For example, like, uh, last November I had a drastic change at work that I was furious about. I was so pissed about it, cause it screwed me over and I was like, oh my God, my life is ending. Uh, but then in February I finally got over it and basically like calm down and said to myself, okay, this shitty thing happened to me.

How can I reverse this and use this as an opportunity? To do something positive with it. So just kind of a book that gives you a bunch of strategies for coping with, you know, encountering obstacles. Yeah. That sounds really good. I like that. I'll have to check that out. Yeah. All right. So, um, I actually had this Olympics, it's called the gift of forgiveness by Catherine Schwartzenegger Pratt.

Um, it's basically just a compilation of different stories, um, of people going through something really hard and, you know, there being a certain person maybe to place blame on. Um, and then able to forgive them. Um, and it is, it's a really powerful book. Um, some of the stories are maybe more impactful than others, but I dunno, it's, it's really small.

It's really easy. I read it like kind of one story at a time here and there. And I did feel like it was really, I just never thought about that. There's definitely some people in my family that are a little bit of like grudge holders, like, you know, not very forgiving. Like if someone wrongs you, like, that's it, they're on your shit list forever.

Um, so I just felt like it was really an interesting, it made me think about things differently. Like, you know, why waste your energy being mad at someone for something that's really, it's really not the end of the world. It's never the end of the world. Um, and it's, it's better. It's going to kind of relieve you of that.

Um, wait, if you just forgive and forget. Yeah, I fully agree with that. Number two for me, uh, is called educated by Tara Westover. Have you read it so good. I read it last summer is recommended to me by a friend. Um, if any of you guys haven't read it long story short, a true story of this woman who grew up in rural Wyoming, I believe it is.

And she grew up in this fundamentalist like traditional. American living to the extreme, like they live on farm land, no technology, all the family under one roof, they're eating everything that they make on the lands and they're making all their own clothes. And this is happening in the 1990s and 2000.

So like way out of date. And it's, so the story is just about this young woman who is the one that breaks out of the family. Essentially. She goes back against her family because all of her relatives, you know, stay on the farm their whole life. And so it's this crazy story about. Stepping out of this, taking a huge risk, you know, turning her back on her family, essentially.

And then, um, getting educated. She had never gone to school before her family didn't believe in school. And so she ends up going, uh, around the world to some of the best schools in the world. So really good book. It just kind of about the importance of ethics. Yeah, that is a really good one. That's a good choice.

All right. My number three was over the top by Jonathan van ness. He's actually from the show queer eye on Netflix. Um, he's the, um, hairstylist on it for anyone who doesn't know. He's really funny. Uh, if anyone is interested, you should follow him on Instagram. He's just hilarious and very, um, you know, active.

Yeah. Trying to make changes and make a difference and use this platform for the right reasons. Um, but yeah, his memoir was really fascinating. He's had a really hard life. He's been through a lot of difficult things and I feel like it was kind of late to, you know, kind of get his shit together to kind of work through everything.

And I feel like it was just, I don't know. Found it really fascinating that it is like, sometimes it takes you awhile to really like, get it figured out and work things out. And obviously things have fallen. So into place with him, he's doing very well for himself now. So it was just one of those really great success stories of kind of going through some really hard times and feeling like, you know, he really wasn't going to ever be able to have the success that he wanted and he managed to make it happen for himself.

It's pretty cool. Love that. Thank you for it. Your recommendations. I will put links to all these books in the show notes of this episode. So if people want to check them out, they can do so there, my final one, one of my favorite books, I've read it multiple times and I believe, I don't know if you do. And Billy reading books, multiple times, just kind of a couple years apart to see if they hit differently based on where you are.

In your own life. And so my final one is the Alchemist by Paulo as well. Ho uh, just one of the best books. It's just the story of this young boy's personal legend. He calls it, which is just basically what is my purpose in life. And he kind of searches the world, uh, encounters, all sorts of people and, and things that happen to him along the way that, uh, help them discover who he is.

So I think it's very representative of a lot of us trying to find our own personal legends. Yeah, that's awesome. That's such a good book. I haven't read it in a while. I should reread too. Yeah, it's a really good book. Really easy to read. Um, so shall we thank you for sharing all of those. I, I want to get you out of here so that you can go watch the bachelorette, but I want to circle back to one thing that we were talking about, uh, on the subject of loneliness.

So this is something that I've been thinking about, um, You know, like I haven't been in a relationship for like six, seven years now or something like that. And I'm totally content with it. Like I love it, but I feel like, uh, I'm kind of like teetering on the point of like, I just am so comfortable being by myself, doing my own thing, being on my own schedule, not having to put up with other people and their expectations.

I just find myself just wanting to be alone. And when I want to be social it's on my own terms, not on anyone else's, but I kind of feel like that might be a bit unhealthy. So I dunno. Do you wrestle with that? Yeah, I definitely I'm in the same boat I've been single for. Yeah. I think six or seven years too.

So it's been a long time, um, since I've been in like a serious committed relationship and I do feel like you just get used to it. Like you just like, I'm not, I don't know. People ask me all the time. They're like, you know, or if you're talking to a guy or whatever, and he's like, well, how are you single?

Like, why are you single? And Emily's like, because I want it to be like, it's not, it's not like anything happened yet. Like it's okay to just like, want to be single it's so it's okay. But yeah, I dunno. I definitely think that way too. I feel like for me, I'm really picky. Like it would just have to be someone really special it's for it to be worth giving that up because I do really value my independence.

And like you said, not really having to worry about anyone else in the decisions you make. Um, that's a really freeing thing. So I do think it would, it would take a lot for me to give that up. I agree with you. Yeah. Uh, absolutely love that answer. Shelby. Thank you for joining me today. Thank you for sharing your wisdom about your trip.

Books. I want to talk to you about Geneseo. We'll have to do that another time. Cause I know Geneseo is a wild time, cause there's literally nothing to do there. Like a farm. Gosh, and Wegmans got a love like, shall we thank you so much for joining me and uh, we'll talk soon. Thanks story.

Three habit. The Troy Farka show is your home for travel book recommendations, fertility. And loneliness. So thank you, Shelby for bringing all of that into our lives. This is the only place you can find all of that good stuff. Uh, Shelby was so great to really meet you. Honestly, again, we had never really spoken before that and I just love meeting new people.

You're never too old to meet new people. You're never too old to, uh, you know, reconnect with people that you didn't know that well before I think. Really powerful in that. And so I'm really glad to have talked to Shelby and thank you for joining me. I want to start, I think kind of in this little space that I have on the backend of these guest episodes, talk about a big takeaway from the conversation that I have.

I do this over on the website, on the blogs every Friday, I post some takeaways, but I want to bring it to the podcast as well. Am I, I have several takeaways, but the one I really want to shine a light on today is. There's really supportive communities out there online. And I know when, when I've had to take talker on the show in the past, they talked about how violent Tik TOK is and how the comments are ruthless of which they are.

Um, I, I can personally attest that as well. Twitter, Instagram Tik TOK can all be toxic places, but. If you find the right people and if you find the right community and if you've listened to the right people, you will find there's a lot of love. There's a lot of support because all of these people who are creating things, whether it's me with a podcast, Shelby, with a Bookstagram.

People want to create things. I feel like there's a lot more people, you know, maybe a lot of you listeners out there who want to use social media as a tool to push something that you really love. You want to use it as a space to talk about something. Yeah. That is meaningful to you, but you don't do it because you fear judgment.

You fear a criticism, backlash comments. Am I going to lose followers because of this? Yada yada, yada, we all go through these doubts, myself included, and I'm sure Shelby has as well, but we all get past that of just being like, Hey, I want to put this shit out because I like it. And I feel that some people.

Can extract some value out of it. And because of that, for all the people who don't put stuff out, because they, uh, ultimately determined that they aren't uncomfortable with putting themselves out there like that those people who want to do it, but are uncomfortable, then become your biggest supporters because.

They then live vicariously through the creators like Shelby and I, who were putting stuff out here. So because of that, it just becomes this wheel of support and love and kind words. And I've noticed that on the podcast way more people listen and watch and follow the show. And I get great comments from people that I never would have expected in my wildest dreams.

And Shelby has a good following on Instagram as well. There's a lot of engagement coming from the, you know, the books. Community that until today, I didn't know existed. So, you know, social media can be a violent place. That narrative certainly is true, but you can also find really powerful communities and you can connect with people in ways that we just never have been able to before as humans.

So you gotta find the right communities online because they can really be a supportive place that lifts people up rather than tears them down. So that's a big takeaway of mine from this episode. If you want to go follow. Shelby Shelby lamb on Instagram or at shelves books to Graham. If you haven't noticed in the show notes of each episode, I put links to all these things, though.

The words are hyperlinked, whether it's the YouTube video. Uh, social media accounts, how to review the show, how to subscribe to the show and all that good stuff. All the links are in the show notes. And today we'll have links to the recommended books. If you are so keen on checking those outs, but until then guys have a great weekend.

Do shit. You love get outside. Have a cup of coffee with someone on my behalf. I'm craving to do that for now with just mushroom coffee. Uh, so I have a great weekend. Seriously, get outside. Do love, go on some adventures like Shelby has take some cool pics, get away from it all and then come right back here next week for more podcasts, more blogs, all that good stuff.

Love y'all have a great weekend.