We’ve all got unnecessary stresses in our lives. Things that bother us, eat at us. Things we feel pressured to do. And for some reason we keep participating in them, even though they’re almost certainly only detracting from our lives.
That’s how I feel about yearly book goals. Once upon a time, I read several books a week. These days I might manage to read several a month. I essentially work a job and a half between my writing and my Pay-The-Bills job. But it’s the way I use my free time that has the most effect.
See, I have too many hobbies.
I game, read, write, socialize, listen to podcasts, occasionally exercise. Sometimes, I choose other things over books and that’s no way to reach a reading goal.
For me, yearly book challenges are like the perfect storm of peer pressure and guilt that inevitably leads to self-flagellation. I watch people setting goals for 50, 100, 200 books in a year and the script automatically starts running in my head. It repeats itself whenever I see someone on social media hitting a goal I envy; what you’re doing is not good enough, not good enough, not good enough.
Just get over it, I know. But in the same way some people envy the lives they see on social media, I envy getting lost in books. Reading the newest, best books. I want to have read everything.
I’m a lover of stories in whatever form they take. Sometimes the story is a comedy advice podcast that gives me an hour of levity. Sometimes it’s binge-watching B horror movies from breakfast to bedtime. Other times the story is the one I make while playing League of Legends with friends, because socializing is a rare commodity. I do these things because I fucking want to, and at some point, I need to flip the script to acknowledge all of the stories I consume and rid myself of this meaningless, self-induced guilt.
So as we begin 2021, one of my goals is to drop the negative, set all my yearly goals to one book per year, and to be thankful for everything I manage to read, play, or watch.
Fuck arbitrary numbers.