I am increasingly annoyed by my habit of beginning books without finishing them. There is an element of perfectionism in my nature (albeit an extremely selective sort of perfectionism which cares not at all that the desk is a disaster area, but cannot bear something put away in the wrong place) that rebels at not finishing a book. It’s just wrong, somehow!
But I do it all the time. The problem is not really that I want to read the rest of the book so badly. The problem is that I cannot put the book away (or return it) until I have read it all. Today I looked at the steeply teetering stack of reading material on my desk–not only books I am currently reading (or stalled out on,) but also schoolbooks and magazines. Magazines present an even greater problem, because it’s really hard for me to throw one away until I am positive I have read or skimmed every article, and when there are about a dozen magazines kicking around the house, how can I possibly remember where I am in each one?
Okay, I know. This is sounding sick. I need help. I need counseling or something. I also have mountains of material on my computer which I have downloaded, which someday….oh, okay, we won’t go there.
Anyway, today I am making a tiny stab at rectifying this situation. I cleaned off my desk. I found at least ten books which I have started and not finished. I also found quite a few which I haven’t even started. I have at least five to return, most of which I borrowed 6 months to a year ago. (Yeah, this is a warning…if you’re loaning me a book, set a time limit. I DO always return books, but I confess that I often keep them too long.)
In the process, I also found several books with markers in various places–quotes that I particularly liked or wanted to think about more. I think I’ll start posting those on a regular basis, just because this is one place I can keep them and actually be able to find them again! Also because some of those quotes need to be discussed. So I hope you’ll discuss them with me.
And I have a stack of books to return this weekend. I am feeling rather pleased with that. Not one of them have I finished, but I am letting go of them, returning them to their owners. It’s a start, right? Of course, there IS one whose owner has now moved to a different state… oops!
And as soon as that desk is finished, I start on this desk, which is also stacked fairly high.
I think a lot of my feelings of overload are wrapped up in all this unfinished business. After all, a book unfinished lies at the bottom of my consciousness and festers. I can’t stand to dispose of it, but don’t have time to deal with it. And the problem is certainly not limited to books. There are always dozens of my ideas scattered like confetti all over the house–tiny bits that make no sense to anyone else, but are representative of a project to do, an idea to research, a lesson to share.
Is there such a thing as adult-onset ADD? And if so, is there a cure?