How Learning to Bail Changed My Reading Life

For many years, if I started a book, I finished it. No matter what. It just felt wrong to read a 100 pages only to set the book aside. I adhered to the belief that the only bad books were those that were unread. Even if I had to trudge through a book, taking weeks or months to finish, I wouldn’t read anything else until I had finished that book. I knew that if I picked up another book that grabbed my attention, I would never return to the one I set aside.

I know where this attitude originated for me. Growing up, I didn’t own many books and used the library a lot. But, when you don’t have much money and don’t have a great selection to choose from, you read what you can get your hands on. Also, in college, I had to read a number of books I didn’t enjoy, but in reading them, I learned interesting things about the world, about writing, about myself. I could appreciate the books, even if I never planned to read them again. Besides, I’m no quitter. I like to see things through.

DNFA couple of years, however, I reevaluated my reading habits. I wasn’t reading as much as I wanted, and I was trying to figure out the problem. I noticed that my reading numbers were much lower when I was reading a book I wasn’t enjoying. I made a decision that I would try setting aside books that weren’t keeping me engaged. I gave myself permission to bail and to move on. Continue reading

I Just Need Quiet

Last semester was the most difficult four months I’ve experienced in my job. By December, I was burned out, depressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. If I’m honest, it wasn’t just that four months. It was a long time coming. I wasn’t satisfied with my job or my life. I felt that I hadn’t been the teacher I needed to be, the colleague I needed to be, the organizer I needed to be, the wife I needed to be, the person I wanted to be. I felt like a failure.

In fact, the semester was so rough I wasn’t looking forward to another one. Normally, even if I’m tired, I am excited about the beginning of a new semester. I genuinely enjoy planning ┬ámy courses and am like a kid on the first day of school. Not this time. I really and truly felt I had lost my joy in teaching, and as the first day of classes approached, I became even more apathetic and was filled with dread. I needed perspective.

I spent some time over the break reflecting and trying to figure out what went wrong. There are many contributing factors in the workplace that are beyond my control, but what I realized is that the most significant factor is who I am and what I need. I was neglecting myself in trying to be perfect. Continue reading