Reading on the Road
Perhaps it was being a youngster who mostly chose not to rock the boat and who heard "It only counts if you finish what you start." Even when I started skippering my own boat, it didn’t occur to me to question those things for a couple of decades.
Then, perhaps in the interest of speed, for I was bent on speed in those days, I decided that discernment would serve the interest of distance. That is, I could read more if I was speeding through the book and I was more likely to do that if I was fully engaged. This realization came along in the same years as I was learning the value of trusting my gut to find turns in life’s path. So I became a fifty-pager: one who decides in fifty pages to finish the book or leave it for later.
I’m a noticer. And lately I’ve taken sharper notice of the myriad ways we humans make choices about our roads through life’s topography. It’s all road stories, isn’t it? The stories we write everyday of our lives, the stack of old stories we might be dragging behind us, the stories of dreams ahead. How we choose what we read along the way may well match the way we sort and use our stories and serve as a pointer for turns to take when a parting of the way appears.
Together with my road stories, two attributes have helped and hindered my progress after choices at the forks. First, my native enthusiasm leads to an all-in approach. This helps with focus and perseverance while it often sabotages the quest for my Grail of mythical Balance. Second, my tendency to be deliberate can be a boon to forward progress by minimizing necessary backtracks, and a stick in the spokes of speedy schedules. Sometimes I revert to being a five-year-old threshold-swinger. And I need time to mull.
It’s a bit like choosing the books to finish; some of us are four-pagers and some are fifty-pagers. As with most things about the journey and its story, there is no right answer. Only an answer which is right for you at the moment. And it’s worth taking a gander at what informs those answers to throw some light when the road becomes a path.