I think it is obvious that I am a person that loves reading. Just look, I created an entire blog about it and devote hours a week to its upkeep on top of the time invested in reading. It is a joy I’ve had with me since I was a child and some of my fondest memories are from reading certain stories.
Lately, however, I’ve been struggling. Since probably October of last year my reading has come in fits and starts and fizzles out just as quickly. I just don’t feel the drive and enthusiasm I once did. Every day I haven’t picked up a story or been engrossed by a book I have become frustrated with myself. I’m the kind of person that feels no self worth unless I’m constantly doing something productive so these last few months have been difficult on the bookish front.
I want to read, I truly do. In the last week I’ve brought home numerous books (that I probably shouldn’t have spent the money on) and organized them onto my shelves…just to watch them collect dust. But something occurred to me this morning after an uncomfortably intense bout of depression yesterday evening.
It is okay to not feel the drive to read constantly. So what if your fellow blogger friends are reading 20 books a month and over 100 books a year? How does what they do effect your own self worth? It doesn’t. Let it go. The last couple of years I have finished around 60 books total and this year I will not hit that mark. Nowhere near it, in fact. That is okay, too. Everyone’s life is different. Every year is different. Each new day brings new struggles for us to overcome and new roadblocks to navigate.
You can’t judge yourself by something you’ve accomplished in the past or what another person has done. The only time you have is right now and if right now picking up that 500 page book doesn’t bring you joy, then that is fine. It doesn’t make you less of a reader. It just means that right now, at this juncture in life, it does not bring you happiness. It will again in the future, but right now it is okay to set that aside.
Often, we label these times as reading slumps and I’ve beaten myself up about them on more than one occasion. That isn’t healthy. I can still find joy in taking part in the community, adding to my Goodreads TBR, and taking part in bookish discussions without sitting down and finishing a half dozen books a month. If I only read one or two, that’s fine. That is fantastic, as long as I am happy with what I’ve done. You can read all the books or have all the money in the world but if you aren’t happy, then what is the point?
So this is a reminder to myself that it is okay. The drive and thrill of getting lost in a story will return when it is ready. I can’t beat myself up about it. You can’t force happiness, you can only do the best you can and hope it comes to you.