Monday, June 2, 2014

When Quitting Isn't Really Quitting

I'm a self-proclaimed bookworm. Reading is one of my favoritest things to do in the entire world. Most of the time, I'd rather curl up with a good book than engage in meaningless conversation with other people. Reading relaxes me and sends me to different worlds, introduces me to new characters, and teaches me about topics, things, and events I might otherwise not have know about. In fact, I love reading so much, I majored in English in college. My dad was skeptical as to the benefits and applications of an English degree, but there was nothing I liked better in the world than reading, so the English degree seemed to fit.

During prep, I read a lot. Mostly because I spend lots of quality time with Mr. Treadmill or Mr. Elliptical, and reading helps me pass the time. (How do people do cardio without either watching TV/movie or reading?!) This year, I haven't been reading quite as much because I've been running outside (*gasp* Can you believe it?! I'll write a post about this soon.) instead of using cardio equipment. But instead of listening to music while I run (I'm lazy and haven't updated my iPod playlist for 2 years.), I listen to an audio book. So it's still kinda like I'm reading!

I use the Overdrive app, which interfaces with the electronic branch of libraries across the US. Instead of paying a subscription fee or buying all the books I listen to, I simply check them out of my local library using Overdrive, and then download them to my phone.

OverDrive App
I've been running into an issue lately, though, that I've been reluctant to face. Not all of the books I check out are very good. I find myself getting bored or annoyed after awhile, yet I continue listening to the book (I just wanna know how it ends). I have a difficult time making the decision to return the book without listening to the entirety of it. I feel like I'm giving up, cheating somehow. I have no idea from where this idea stems, as no one is telling me that I MUST finish the book (this isn't college anymore).

This morning, I took a huge step and STOPPED listening to a book in the middle of my run. I switched to the other book I'd checked out and downloaded. I just couldn't listen to Book 1 anymore. I was annoyed and bored with it. It seemed to drag on ... and on ... and on ... And I began to wonder why I was still listening to it.

  • Was it entertaining me? No.
  • Was I learning something from it? No.
  • Was I near the end of it? No.
  • Did I wish I was near the end of it? Yes.
  • Did I like all of the characters? No. They annoyed me.
  • Have I liked any part of this book? Um, kinda, I guess.
It was time to switch gears and move on to another book.

This reminded me of some situations in life. Sometimes we find ourselves doing things out of habit, just because we've "always done things that way." It's a good idea to stop periodically and assess our actions (or non-actions, as the case may be), and ask ourselves some difficult questions.

  • Am I enjoying this?
  • Am I learning anything from this?
  • Will this benefit me in the long run?
  • Is there something else I'd rather be doing or that would be more beneficial for me?
Sometimes these questions are difficult to answer, and once answered, the resulting actions are even more difficult to implement. But just as I discovered by listening to the new book, changing directions can be much more rewarding and entertaining. I really like the new book, and I'm so glad I didn't needlessly suffer through Book 1 just for the sake of finishing it.

Do you feel guilty for quitting books halfway through? Have you ever stopped in the middle of a goal and realized your priorities and interests had changed? How did you feel? How did you handle it?

1 comment:

  1. Haha this is actually 90% of the books I pick up, but I am not a huge reader and will only finish a book if it really gets my interest. :)