On Changes and Letting Go; a personal reflection on my reading life, and otherwise

I miss blogging? It’s weird to say. I’ve been blogging on and off since 2001, but I miss the feeling of being able to sit down, think, and write about something just for me. After undergraduate and graduate experience, I fell into the sort of mindset of “omg I must be productive and only produce stuff for people to consume” rather than like… writing for myself for fun. My reading shifted a lot between all levels of my education and beyond, and I feel like my reading has shifted the most from the time I started bookstagram in 2016 until now. After being unhappy with social media a lot in the latter half of 2018, I came to the conclusion that I need to return to my roots in a way, change, and start letting go.

I used to have a lot of trouble setting aside a book. I can read fast, I don’t like leaving things unfinished, and I like the small accomplishment that comes with having finished reading a book. But within the last year or so, I’ve become better and more ruthless about setting books aside that aren’t grabbing me in any way. I’m thinking about it more this year because

  • I have some changes coming up in the future and I want to pare down so that the transition happens as smoothly as possible.
  • I have a lot of unread books thanks to my poor spending habits and the graciousness of publishers.
  • There are so many books I want to read, so I’ve made the executive decision to not waste time on something that’s middling, mediocre, boring, or just bad.

It still feels a little weird and I still feel a little guilty when I decide to set a book aside, but all I need to do is remind myself of all those other books, look at my TBR and reviewing obligations, and move forward. I have to remind myself not to think of money spent because of the sunk cost fallacy. I spent that money, and I learned a lesson that I need to remember in the future.

It’s hard sometimes trying to maintain a blogging and Instagram presence when so much is focused on the new, new, new. It’s fun reading new books, don’t get me wrong, but what happens when all those new books I bought suddenly turn into last week’s, last month’s, or last year’s backlist? I can’t read as fast as I want to, even though I consistently read 8-11 books a month. … but when you start doing the math, and I’m bringing in fifteen or more books a month, I’m going to fall behind incredibly fast.

I know I can manage this with more discipline. I’ve proven it to myself that if I read 150-200 pages a day, I can read an average of four books a week. My reading goals are always 100 books a year, but if I read four books a week? That’s 208 books a year. That’s double my goal. Telling myself to read that many pages a day can be difficult with the distractions of work, life, and the internet. It’s difficult to rearrange your strategies for time management, but I think it’s coming time that I really need to shift some focuses. Doing Whole30 this month has helped immensely with not only feeling great but forcing me to deal with stuff head on rather than hide from it.

Every weekend, I’ve been going through my books bit by bit and doing some weeding. I’ve made one trip to the used bookstore already, and I think I’m going to go next time. I brought four Trader Joe’s bags full of books last time, and I’m probably going to do the same this weekend. Of course I come back with books, but I come back with fewer and more thought-out choices (usually classics [Penguin Classics or NYRB Classics] or mass market sff I’ve missed out on that I know I wanted to read). I’ve noticed that once the first purge happened and I let those books go, it felt cathartic and great, like a weight lifting from my shoulders. The books I said goodbye to had a lot of weird memories and expectations attached, and letting go of that was so freeing.

I want my shelves, wherever I end up, to be curated and reflect me rather than just be a hodgepodge mess of things I only half like. I want my Instagram feed to be a better reflection and curation of what I am actually interested in talking about and not worry so much about engagement levels. Instagram started as a fun project for me to engage with other like-minded readers. The algorithm changes seemed to affect me and everyone else, and I think returning back to that feeling of it’s for fun and not for obligations will help. I want everything I have to reflect my best self, rather than the halfhearted attempts at being someone different and someone I’m not.

Hi, I’m Meg; and I like reading science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction with a little historical romance thrown in, history, and science (especially astrophysics and cosmology space stuff even though some of it’s really hard to understand and I’m not good at math). It’s time for some changes, and it’s good to remember to let go every once in a while. Let’s boldly go.

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