Monday Musing from Samantha: A Road Toward Authenticity
It’s okay to not finish this book, I convinced myself one night nearly 10 years ago. I was lying in bed forcing myself to continue reading.
The next day, I returned the book, along with a slew of children’s books, to the public library. I felt pangs of guilt and disappointment when I dropped the partially read book in the depository, having broken a hard and fast rule I set for myself more than a decade prior: I must finish a book if I’ve completed the first chapter. (Unbeknownst to us, Fay, And She Writes co-founder, and I shared this same rule.)
This was a difficult challenge that led to many hours of skimming and impatience. After that day, I haven’t shied away from abandoning a story at any point in a book. In hindsight, it was the beginning of many liberating moments in the decade to follow.
Ten years ago, I was a young mom with two children under the age of three. At night when my head landed on my pillow, I was exhausted but knew I’d be up in a few hours to tend to a baby or toddler (or both)! Having loved to read since childhood, I crave a good book, but at that time, I had to carve out the little time available to do so. Something had to give, and that night it was my pressure-induced and arbitrary rule devised years prior when I had little responsibility outside of myself and I lacked the wisdom that often comes from life experiences.
"Something had to give, and that night it was my pressure-induced and arbitrary rule devised years prior when I had little responsibility outside of myself and I lacked the wisdom that often comes from life experiences."
This growth moment led to many more... The confirmation that my husband and I made the best decision to let go of more than twenty years of familiarity to relocate our family out of state and then a few years later to another new city -- both for good job opportunities. I would later find myself in a similar situation when my two oldest children were in elementary school and I was asked to serve on additional volunteer committees. In many of those cases I had to graciously decline -- I just didn’t have the time. And in recent years, I told myself it was okay to let go of relationships, both old and new, if they became unfulfilling and maybe even a little exhausting.
I’ve learned that it’s wise to spend more time listening and trusting myself. It’s part of my journey toward authenticity.
The amount of time we spend on Earth is not known or guaranteed. It is a gift and I have to be a good steward of it. Whether it’s the time spent reading a book I have no interest in to find the next page-turner, or bowing out of a social group that lacks resemblance of my personal values or purpose to spend more time with “my people,” I know I have gained much more than what I’ve left unfinished.
"And in recent years, I told myself it was okay to let go of relationships, both old and new, if they became unfulfilling and maybe even a little exhausting."
Now I celebrate, rather than lament, when I stop reading the book or worrying about what I need to do or say to stay in the good graces of a “friend.” There’s no better time than the present to listen and trust myself so I can be truly me.