To start, I had this blog post mostly written and then I did some magic with the keyboard and the first draft disappeared. So it has been that kind of day/week/month/year. I am so ready to see 2012 out (Bye bye now. Please do hit yourself on the ass with the door on your way out.) and welcome 2013. (Actually, I cannot believe I just said that. Now I am sure to get struck by lightening or something on January 2.) This year has been, shall we say, challenging. But lately I feel like I need the kind of relief the turn of a clock or a calendar page can bring. I know so, so many people who feel this way because they’ve had a really tough year.

The harder things get, the harder I get on myself, and the more things seem to stand still. The thought struck me this afternoon that I am overwhelmed with “shoulds”: I should eat better, I should exercise more often, I should run longer/faster, I should read more, I should write every day, I should eat out less and cook more meals at home, I should stand up every ten minutes so that I won’t have a shortened life span, I should write a review of that book, I should call so-and-so, I should be more social, and on and on and on.

There is a big difference between “I should” and “I want to,” and somewhere over the last year, things I used to want to do have started to feel like “shoulds.” In this case, a smarter person would probably not add to her list of things to accomplish. But I am a pragmatic optimist. The best thing to do, sometimes, is to give yourself a stern talking to and own up to what you want.

Long-Awaited reads month buttonI haven’t been posting regularly, but one of the things that has made life the last month or so a bit more tolerable is this blog. Being a part of the book blogging community here and on Twitter serves as a reminder to stay in touch with something I love: books. It was in that spirit I decided to hook up with Ana and Iris and a bunch of other great bloggers for Long-Awaited Reads Month in January 2013. It was also in that spirit today that I signed up for The TBR Double Dog Dare hosted by C.B. at Ready When You Are, C.B. Last year I committed to read eight books from my TBR list by April 1, excluding book club books. Given my current reading pace, I’m planning to stick with eight books this year. If I get through more, then that’s just a bonus. (Full disclosure: Last year I also signed up for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2012, and I failed miserably. I think almost every book I read this summer with a few exceptions was a new book. Yeah. I SHOULD have read my own books, but I WANTED to read new books. See how I made that work?)

Another thing I was thinking of was perhaps putting together a re-reading group or challenge, if anyone is interested. I have a lot of books that I should want to re-read, but never get the chance. I have no button, I have no page (I could easily put one together), and I don’t want to pressure anyone, obviously. But if, like me, you are hankering to re-read some old favorites and you haven’t been able to get to it, then this could be our chance. Any takers? Let me know in the comments if you’re interested. (I think I have about ten readers, so if you join and fail to complete the challenge, hardly anyone would know! That’s an upside! Going for the hard sell here!)

6 thoughts on “Challenged

  1. I know what you mean about blogging making life better and reminding you to stay in touch with something you love. So glad you’re joining us in January!

    I’m not sure about challenges since I tend to not do those anymore, but if you were to have a re-reading month or fortnight later in the year, I’d absolutely be up for that 😀

  2. Ana, that’s what I was thinking–maybe to have a month, or even just a short list over the year. Not really a challenge, because other than C.B.’s TBR “challenge” I cannot seem to finish anything! I may even make it as simple as just asking people to do a post on books they would most like to re-read and then putting up a page with mine and having a place where people could add links to reviews of books as they get to them, like an ongoing thing. 🙂

  3. I definitely recognise the “I should”s instead of the “I want”s taking over your life. Like you, blogging has been a space for me to get past all that, even if at times a blog can turn into a should instead of a want as well. I really hope our plans for January will help you to make 2013 a little better than 2012 (I’m not saying it’s only going to be a little better, I’m only saying our themed month might not contribute that much). And definitely yes to something (whichever form it may take) that stimulates rereading. I find I really don’t do it often enough.

  4. Iris, I am so looking forward to the themed month and the TBR challenge because I truly, truly want to do them. And I don’t have to worry about keeping up with a count or anything like that. But most of all my goal this year is to not make the blog a should–I really like being a part of the community. Reading alone is fine, but lonely!

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