I've noticed during my time blogging, but especially the last couples months (end of the year, beginning of new year), bloggers apologizing for "falling behind" with their tbr piles or panicking because they haven't read as much as they wanted or promised. I understand this panic/worried feeling. I've felt it too. When did I start feeling it? Honestly, I don't think until after I started blogging. I felt the need to keep up with other bloggers. I was setting goals and I had to stick to them. Last year was the second time I used the Goodreads reading goal gadget and I admit to feeling happy with myself as I watched the bar move to completion, then increasing my goal and then surpassing my increased goal. It can be very exciting.
In 2013, I had less time to read. That's partly because of the job I had. There was no lunch room, so I ate at my desk, with plenty to distract me. I would get work related phone calls, that couldn't be ignored like I could with an email or fax. I suppose I could have chosen to ignore the phone calls, but I didn't think my employers would be happy about that. So, there were many lunch breaks that I didn't read at all.
The other main reason is that I have small children that like to take all my attention. There are no lazy afternoons spent with a book, there is play, go, eat, change clothes, brush hair, diaper, etc. ad infinitum. By the time I get to bed, I'm exhausted. Reading before sleeping is one of my favourite things, but lately, I can only manage 15 mins before my eyes unfocus and I have to put the book down before I fall asleep with it in my hands. Sometimes I can't even manage that and pass out before I even crack the book open. Then I had my employment issues keeping me down (thankfully not any more).
Are these excuses? Yes and no. Does it really matter? No. I'd like to read more, but if my head and heart aren't it in, if I'm too exhausted, if real life does what it does and gets in the way, that's okay. It's okay if I didn't read as much as last year. It's okay if I missed two or ten books I meant to read. It's okay to pick sleep over reading. I can't panic or worry about that. I love books, they are a huge part of my life. However, if they become something I "worry" about, if they cause me stress instead of relaxation, then I'm doing something wrong. The books I read are my escape, not my responsibility.
I admit to getting lost. I get the blues or I fall into a slump. I read a string of depressing stories and I don't know how to pick a happy book. It happens. I don't know what to read next and suddenly I've started three or four books when I typically only read one (maybe two) at a time. Do I let it stress me out? No. Because when it is time for me to pull out of the slump, I will. I'll grab an old favourite or I'll just take a break. More likely than not, it's real life affecting my reading life anyway.
I guess what I want to say is that I don't have to read a certain number of books or write a certain number of posts or whatever, in a year. If I don't, maybe you don't either. Reading, blogging, etc. shouldn't be work (unless it actually is your job). It should be fun. Yay, fun!