The End of the People Magazine Era… Or is it?

Maybe not quite this old…

If ever an admission of truth could lose readership, it will be this one.  I have been back and forth about whether or not to tell this story, but the comical aspect of it, combined with my pride in a dubious accomplishment, makes the telling of it irresistible.

For years I have had a subscription to People magazine.  This has been the source of endless ribbing by some of my “highbrow” friends (quotes are absolutely intentional, thank you very much), because I don’t follow the news very religiously (in fact, under antonym for “news junkie” you would find my picture) so the thinking is that the source of all my current events knowledge stems from this periodical.  If I make the mistake of mentioning something in headline news, the comments are predictable, and endless.

Now can you see why I keep these friends around for decades?

Back to me.  I developed a rule for this magazine:  I will only allow myself to read it at the gym.  The reason:  It covers up the control panel, and there are pictures to distract my mind while I toil away.  I came to think of reading the magazine as a reward, and if I was caught up on the issues, I felt good, because it meant I was exercising regularly, if there was a backlog, it motivated me to get my ass to the gym.

Enter the downward spiral of active addiction.  Because I am a stubborn son of a gun, I would not allow myself to look at them unless at the gym.  Unfortunately, since other obsessions occupied my time, the pile of People magazines grew as mountainous as my pile of regret and shame.

But throwing them out felt like I was giving up.  Oddly, holding on to almost a year’s worth of People magazines was actually a sign of hope, and faith that I could conquer this disease, and get back to normal life (if you consider normal reading about celebs while working out).

So, as most of you know, I bottomed out, and started the process of recovery, and still the pile of People magazines grew.  Throughout the year 2012, I worked my ass of in terms of recovery, but not in terms of anything physical.  I took the slogan “First things first” and ran with it… straight to the La-Z-Boy.  Occasionally I would take the pile, sort through it, and throw out the issues that seemed the least interesting, but still I hung on to the majority of them.

The subscription ended December 2012, and for obvious reasons I could not justify renewing it.  So for the next 5 1/2 months while the pile did not grow, it certainly did not diminish in size.  I moved them out of sight, but still could not bear to part with them.  At one point my husband was in the drawer that housed them and said, “What the hell are you planning to do with all those back issues of People?”  Of course, he was unaware of this particular insanity, so I mumbled something and the subject was dropped.

Finally, the time had come, and I signed up to kick-start my fitness over at Running On Sober.  Finally, the People magazines will be put to good use!

So I picked one out of the pile, and out the door I went.  As I started reading about Tom Cruise‘s idea of the perfect day being spending it with Katie Holmes, I realized a slight problem in my logic:  this was old news, really, really old news.

Did I mention that I am stubborn?  If I held on to these magazines for this long, by God, I am going to read them.

I watched the pile dwindle, and damned if I didn’t feel just a notch of pride each time I threw out a magazine.

Meanwhile, I got to find out the following hot-off-the-press information:

Here’s the end of this ridiculous story, and I promise this happened exactly as I am telling it.  I got down to the final old issue of People, and I put off reading it for a few days, because it felt like the end of an era.  So I swam or took neighborhood walks.  Finally, I went to the gym, read my last back issue, and threw it in the trashcan with a smile.  I drove home, went to the mailbox, and I swear to you, this was what I found, that day:


Could I even make this stuff up?

Today’s Miracle:

Surviving a trip to the mall with 5 kids ranging in age from 13 (with an attitude) to 2 (also with an attitude).  If mall employees were also recording miracles, it would be that we left with the building still standing!

Posted on July 11, 2013, in Self-Care and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I laughed through this whole post. I thought I was the only one who used the “can only watch/read” when I was working out. (past tense being the key here) Loved the kicker at the end and can’t wait to read a People the next time we visit.


  2. What an awesome story! Sometimes stubbornness serves us well. And I can’t believe your mall miracle. You deserve a medal!


    • Karen, I was actually underselling that mall story, I don’t want to break my arm here, patting myself on the back, but the fact that those 5 kids came out of that mall alive deserves a medal on my part. I’m not kidding, the first store I was in had some undercover-cop-type employee lecturing at my son, and it was all downhill from there!

      And, thank you for the kind words, I appreciate the feedback!


  3. Funny how these things are timed, aren’t they? ha ha. I laugh because I am (or was) the same with newspapers. If we’d go on holiday, I wouldn’t cancel the paper, to the chagrin on my wife. I would then come back, have all the papers lined up perfectly and then sort them – remove the sports sections (love sports, but old sports scores don’t interest me), and other sections I won’t read. Then I would just charge the pile. I could read up to 14 days of papers in about two hours. There was something that compelled me to keep them (hoarder!). Sounds like you’re the same…or were. Now, when I get a pile collecting, I will just grab the whole pile and toss it in the recycling bin. My wife will say “wow, I’m proud of you”. Ridiculous! But it’s a big thing for me – letting go. It’s not the end of the world if I didn’t read about the new mall they are opening or the death toll of a car accident two weeks ago in Brazil.

    Anyway, fun stuff there, Josie.!



    • Paul, thank you for sharing your newspaper story. I seriously sat on this story for about 2 weeks, because I truly thought that this was going to be the one that no one would get, and I would be branded the crazy People hoarder! Turns out I am not alone, which once again proves that sharing your personal truth is usually the best choice!

      Speaking of hoarding, got a post I’m working on to talk about the de-construction of a packed basement… but I can’t write it until I actually do it!

      And if you think it’s not important to learn about the death toll in Brazil, how important is it to know how Jeff Probst decorated his house last year?!? If I can’t laugh at myself…


  4. Absolutely loved this! I will to tell you the only place I read People Mag…but by know I’m sure you have an idea! I laughed by what you had in your mail box. My first thought…God has such a since of humor! Of course, my opinion. Happy reading!


    • I happen to share that opinion, Sharon, and I appreciate your saying it! I am so glad to hear I am not alone with my, well, let’s call them idiosyncracies! I wish I had a picture of my face when I opened that mailbox, I’ll tell you that much!

      Thanks for the feedback!


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