The Best Imitation of Myself

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“This is SO your ideal situation. Book + coffee.” A friend I’ve had since I was in pre-school commented this on the above picture in 2011. She speaks truth. I love this picture that I took pre-instagram, pre-iphone and pre-adulthood. It summed up pretty much everything I ever wanted to do at the time–read books, drink coffee, be in New York City.

I tracked down two of the book reviews I wrote when I was still making a living off of reading books. They now officially make me cringe, just as this blog someday will. Older versions of myself are always terribly critical of my younger counterparts writing.

http://tbo.com/events/witty-palahniuk-keeps-you-guessing-until-final-act-39094

http://tbo.com/events/mystery-book-airs-personal-issues-51149

“Katie Schmidt of Orlando is a freelance writer.” is still my absolute favorite part of both of those links. I loved the way it sounded, felt, paid. To be twenty years old and have tasted what I had always dreamed of doing was insane. It started with an email I sent with my resume and the statement “It’s not terribly impressive; just a long-standing part-time job at a Books-A-Million.” I used the phrase “avid reader” I used to LOVE that phrase.

This is all getting stirred up because my ONLY resolution this year was to read 14 books in 2014. I read 13 books in 2013 and I wanted to keep it up. But I haven’t finished one yet. Not a single book finished yet and it’s almost March. As silly as it sounds, I’ve been really beating myself up about this. I’m talking existential-who-have-I-even-become-beating-myself-up. If I can’t finish a book or two, am I even still Katie Schmidt? Would that younger counterpart of mine from 4 years ago be just outraged that I let her book reviewing career fizzle and can’t even muster up the free time to finish a quick book of fiction?

Definitely. She’d be pissed. Trust me, I knew her pretty dang well. 

Here’s what I’ve slowly but surely come to realize. I don’t need to justify myself to myself. That makes literally no sense. It’s my 2014 and I decide what I do with it.

In reality, I am in a better place right now than I’ve been in years. 2014 has been an amazing year for me personally, spiritually, physically, mentally and vocationally. Do I still want to read books? Of course I do. And I will. But I also want to end homelessness and love people well and know God deeper. I want to be able to run a 5K and be a good leader to my 6th graders. I want to budget my money like an adult, cook food with ingredients, be considerably less messy. I want to experience new things and reminisce about the old in a way that doesn’t make me experience a deep pang for yesterday. I want to give up bad habits and pathological sin and the millions of ways I beat myself up in a day.

So that is exactly what I’m doing. 

If by December 31st, 2014 I am a better person who improved herself, her sphere of influence and the city she lives in even a little and yet didn’t find the time to finish 14 books, how could I possibly consider the year anything less than a tremendous use of time?

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