Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Re-examining My Life Goals

About six months ago I started a journey. A grueling journey filled with hate, boredom, sleepiness and disdain. I started this task voluntarily, but, I wonder now if I really had a clear vision of what exactly I was getting into. So many people had done this before me. So many people will continue to do this in years to come. Now I wonder, do I want to finish? Do I want to put myself through this kind of torture while gaining no joy whatsoever besides the sporadic muted interest from society's intellectuals? I'm not so sure it's worth the price any more.

When I first started reading War and Peace I was excited. I'd read many reviews on Amazon about how it was the greatest book of all time. My copy of War and Peace has about 1400 pages. I've read between 400-500 of those pages. I can't exactly remember because I haven't picked the thing up for over a month, but I digress. I guess my point is, this book is like a succubus. It drains all my energy just thinking about sitting down to read. There was one chapter out of all those 400+ pages that I enjoyed. Most of the time I have no idea what is going on and as soon as I figure it out, the book jumps to a completely different character and story and I have to start all over again trying to remember what happened to this person in previous chapters.

This morning as I was rushing around getting ready for work, I began to think about this book. And several other books I've recently read. I've flown through a handful of books these last couple months. Because I enjoyed them. For those books I lost several hours of sleep. For those books I turned off the tv. War and Peace has never prompted me to lose sleep, or turn off the tv or even smile for that matter. It brings feelings of dread. And so it sits on my nightstand, waiting for the day I need help falling asleep.

So here's where I'm stuck. I can tell this book is not going to be finished by the end of the year. I don't have enough fire in my belly to plow through this sucker that fast. Even if I did, it's a very rare occasion that I can make it through two whole chapters without falling asleep. It's physically impossible for me to spend an even remotely large amount of time in one sitting reading this book. So do I continue reading this book just to show that I can do it? Do I continue reading it even though I'm constantly bored to tears? Or do I move on with my life and throw this goal by the wayside? Should I spend my time only reading books I love or is it good for me to tackle things like this? I'm a bit torn. What would you do?


Budsly said...

I think we have enough boring things to do in our lives that we have to do. Cleaning, laundry, homework, work, etc. I don't think you should have to read the book unless you want to. We did enough of "you have to read this" in high school and college. You should enjoy your spare time. If you aren't getting anything from it, or learning something, it's wasted time.
If you really don't want to give up on the goal, just expand the time frame to 2020. That gives you another 10 years!!

Holly said...

Oh, I've definitely been in this situation before (although, not with a beast like War and Peace)! It's so hard for me to quit a book no matter how little enjoyment I'm getting from it. I've learned to let go, though - there are so many amazing books I want to read in my lifetime that I can't be wasting time on books that do nothing for me. And I agree with Budsley - we have enough boring stuff to do and reading shouldn't be one of them.

Denise said...

Read the CliffsNotes and call it good. Life's too short!

Paul said...

I know ... maybe the Helper will give you the encouragement you need!

It's Me said...

I say "Down with Life Goals!"

P.S. Although I do like the comment about the helper.... :)

Rindlisbach Family said...

I say DITTO to Budsly! No shame in walking away.

heidi said...

I'm ruminating on "what would you do?"... I'm trying to think. Sadly, I think I'd never have had the gumption to get goin' in the first place! But, I remember starting in on "Anna Karenina" and getting frustrated and just skimming to the end. Honestly, I think I've almost never read a book I started really disliking/being bored with all the way to the end! Although, as with "Anna K", often I skim the remainder just to see what happens. So, I guess I'd suggest skimming and then reading the final pages. You can always refresh yourself with Heidi's Cliffnotes to War and Peace if you need a reminder of the main points! Mostly, hot air! :D

I love being asked for advice! And, I have to confess, I think there might be as much "gumption" in declaring that your time is precious and this book isn't deserving of it, as there would be in finishing it. Maybe more.

Best wishes, sweetie. Really, I think you're marvelous whichever route you go. But if the Helper IS somehow involved in the outcome, inquiring minds definitely want to know!