Year in Books so Far (32%)

In accordance to my New Year’s resolution to blog more (and blog better… if possible), I’m going to share my surprisingly uplifting progress for this year’s Goodreads’ Reading Challenge. Hardly an interesting topic but there really isn’t anything else going on in my life to talk about so this will have to do. Adulthood is simultaneously exhausting and disappointing and I’ve moaned about that one topic too many times already.

Anyway. Last year’s embarrassing failure still haunts me so I’ve been extra careful not to fall behind this time around. I can never forget that I once pledged a hundred books in 2017, thinking that I had all the time I’d ever need after I’d graduate university, only to chop my goal in half when I had four months left of the year and barely reached a quarter of my goal.

Yeah, I can be very extra when it comes to books.

On the first few months of 2017, I was busy stressing about graduation, chasing deadlines, fulfilling requirements that made absolutely no sense, and constantly disassociating whenever the situation called for my full attention. It was pure pandemonium and I had nobody to blame but my own stupid self. In fact, it got so bad that I was convinced that I developed hypertension because of all the headaches and bouts of nausea. Turns out that it was all just stress. My blood pressure’s fine, always has been; I just had a really unhealthy way of dealing with stress, thank god.

I don’t recall how many books I had finished during the time I was up to my neck in grad paperwork but I’m fairly positive I was already behind my Reading Challenge. However, I gave myself a pass because I had a good reason for not reading. I didn’t have the time or the energy. The only moments of peace I got back then was when I was waiting in line for the v-hire to go home. The van terminal was dark and the line was long but it was literally the only time when I had nothing else to do. I even mastered the art of blocking out all outside stimuli – the lazy jostling of weary passengers, the stifling air mixed with exhaust smoke and sweat, the grating buzz of a dozen conversations at once – and focus entirely on my book. My eyes had to strain to make out the words but I took what I got.

Little did I know that graduating college didn’t necessarily mean that my soul would finally be at peace. Two months I spent holed up in my room, wallowing in what I could only assume was my first bout of post-graduation blues combined with early onset of quarter life crisis. Looking for a job physically and emotionally drained me, and not just because I felt so small and insignificant that I literally couldn’t even get the nerve to try and apply. With no new semester to anticipate,  I felt about as lost and as terrified as I never expected. My anxiety thrived, I tell you. School responsibilities, apparently, helped in reining in my anxiety so with that part of my life over, the evil gremlin broke free from its tethers and had a blast. Somehow my dark and quiet room, sadly empty resume, and unhealthy eating habits provided the perfect environment for my anxiety. I couldn’t concentrate on reading because all I wanted to do was sleep and forget that I wasn’t a useless, trash heap of a human being.

When I finally did emerge from that dark, decrepit place in my mind, it was already the -ber months and I hadn’t even reached half of my goal. And no matter how I tried to do that math, 100 books just wasn’t possible. So I did what I had to do: swallow my pride and hacked my Reading Challenge in half.

God, it’s been so satisfying seeing my Reading Challenge tracker tell me that I’m “right on track!” or “one/two books ahead of schedule!”. A huge change from last year’s perpetually stagnant tracker bar. It was practically just a countdown to my failure. “20 books behind,” “30 books behind,” I was waiting for the tracker widget to up and tell me to give up completely. I’d even purposely avert my eyes from the tracker, too much of a coward to see just how far behind I was. I’m fully aware that reading isn’t a competition and I shouldn’t equate my sense of self to the number of books I’d finish but after so many years of hitting my goal with books to spare, seeing so little progress on my tracker really disheartened me.

Now I’m right on schedule. 32 books! Wow! I’ve even managed to make a perceptible dent on my to-read shelf. Of course, I’ve been filling up the gaps as soon as they come but, still, progress.

I’ve been pledging on GR’s Reading Challenge for nearly a decade now and I don’t have the words to express my gratitude for this innovative feature. It really helps to have a goal to reach for, even to the things that one enjoys. Especially if you’re a procrastinator by nature. I mean, I’d be lying if I said that the Reading Challenge haven’t motivated me to finish books. Left by myself, I would still read books… I just probably wouldn’t finish a good portion of them. There’s a reason why I have at least ten books on my currently-reading shelf, after all. I have some serious commitment issues.

Here’s to not botching this year’s Reading Challenge. If this blog post jinx it for me, I swear to god I will riot. It’d be so on brand of me to just suddenly fail my RC just because I wanted to blog more than once a month. I am really bad at multi-tasking. Also it’s the day before the last day of April but still… this super late post counts.

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