We feel guilty for all that we have not yet read, but overlook how much better read we already are than Augustine or Dante, thereby ignoring that our problem lies squarely with our manner of absorption rather than with the extent of our consumption. – Alain de Botton
My bio on LinkedIn, this website, my work People page, and just about everywhere else says “I read, on average, a book a week.” This was true for the last five years. In 2017 I didn’t even come close. And it’s okay.
Let me tell you why I failed, and why it doesn’t bother me.
I now have two children, and I spend a lot of time with them. They’re cute and fun and frustrating all wrapped into one. I have promised myself that I will not be a parent who is absent from their lives. Other things get sacrificed so I can create memories with them: television, reading, exercise, time with friends.
In prior years my daily commute was 45-50 minutes each way, and I listened to audio books or podcasts to pass the time. This February I started working from home, which eliminated 90 minutes of “reading” at 2x speed. For years I’ve wanted to try working from home, and I got to do it for 8 months. The experience was amazing. I felt extremely productive and got a lot of work done. I saw my children every time I walked out of my office to get food or refill my glass of water. It’s something I could definitely do again.
My new position at work does require me to be in the office most days, so I’ve got a commute again and am burning through Audible credits.
2017 was an amazing year of firsts. I have been learning so much and at such an accelerated pace. What mattered to you five years ago might not matter today, and what matters to you today might not matter in another five years.