Thursday, March 15, 2018

Permission to not finish...

Finishing is one of the things I am determined to do. I'm a finisher. When I start something I'm focused on how to get it done and how to complete it and not leave it unfinished. Case in point: when I host a party and it is over, I immediately get to work picking up, putting the house back to order, doing the dishes, tidying, etc. After all that, I sit down and enjoy how clean our house is, the fun time we had, look at the pictures, etc.

This week, I'm giving myself permission to not finish two things and they are both essentially the same. Books.

Is this hard for you too? Here's the thing. I want to read two non-fiction books that I've already started from the library. But, it feels like work to read these books. I'm just not getting into them and I'm not energized or fed by them. I had to stop and ask myself why I was pushing so hard to make it happen when I'm really not even making a whole lot of progress on them or getting much out of them.

After a busy day, I love to read - look forward to it even. But then to slog through a book that may be a great book but just isn't for me for right now just feels like too much.

So, I'm setting them aside. I'll probably just go ahead and return them to the library. It is one of those things where I want to want to read and enjoy certain books but let's face it - it just doesn't always work out that way. There is a time and place for pushing through and just making it happen. I'm not sure it is books. At least not for me and not right now.

With so many great books to read, why add more stress and work to an already busy day? Ok, so now I've confessed something I'm not finishing - how about you? Is not finishing a book an easy thing for you to set aside or not? Or what is your thing that you can give yourself permission not to finish?

Since I'm sure you'll all be curious - the two books are: Beatrix Potter - A Life in Nature and Being Mortal - Medicine and What Matters in the End. Instead, I picked up A Table by the Window by Hillary Manton Lodge and it is just the kind of book I'll want to stay up late reading!

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peggy said...

A while back I would never dream of not finishing a book, once started. Now I am really old and think to myself, you will never be able to read all the good books that are out there, Sooo I have changed my thinking and have no qualms about taking an unread book back to the library. I tell myself, there is someone out there waiting for this book and they will love it. It is a good day to say good morning, the sun is shining and spring is on its way!

Jen said...

I'm with you! I did this for YEARS! I could not start a book without finishing no matter how much I wasn't enjoying it. Then, I finally realized how much time and effort (and mental energy!) I was wasting forcing myself into this, and I gave myself permission to just stop! It's so freeing! I realized that there are LOTS of books out there and they're not ALL for me. I also realized that it was just plain ridiculous to be "grumpy" or dread reading a book! That's craziness. Reading is something I enjoy. I don't force myself to do other things I don't enjoy (jogging or swimming, for example!) so why force myself to read a book I don't enjoy! Finally, I decided it wasn't a wise use of my time. There are so many great books that I CAN enjoy and learn from--THOSE are the ones I should be reading. It's made a huge difference. I can typically tell in the first 10 pages or so whether or not a book is gonna "hook" me. If not, it goes back to the library, and I find one that does. Happy Reading!

Mom said...

Similar to the previous comments, I used to feel obligated to finish a book once started, but no more! (Maybe this feeling of obligation came from our school days when we were required to read books for class.) There are so many books that I do want to read that if I begin a book that isn't working for me, I set it aside guilt-free. (If there is mystery involved, I have been known to skip to the last chapter to find out what happens.) There are so many hard things that we must do in our lives that my vote goes for keeping reading as a source of pleasure! :)

*carrie* said...

Thanks for sharing, Monica. Yes, reading time is too precious to "force" ourselves to read something. I did think the mortality book was compelling, but it's also not easy to read, especially given personal circumstances.
Love you!

Mrs. Chrissy T said...

I use to be the same way about books a few years ago but I had that "aha" moment you did and stopped forcing myself to finish books.