You Don’t Need To Finish What You Started
How many times have you started something in Japanese, continued with it for a while, and then slowly, the thought of going any further started to become more of an annoyance than a pleasure?
You enjoyed a novel halfway, but then started to lose the pace you were keeping until it dies down to 0 pages a day. You started a drama series, and were thrilled with the first 10 episodes, but struggle to actually finish the final few closing episodes.
Just because you start something doesn’t mean you should necessarily finish it. Often times you shouldn’t.
Once something that was meant to be enjoyable becomes a chore, and becomes painful to look at, you should just let it be and clear your mind for new material. Continually pushing it back further into the future when you’ll “eventually get around to it” is a sign that you need to break up with it.
You didn’t finish it. And?
It doesn’t mean you are going to lose any value of what you had experienced up till now. Its role was fulfilled for you to enjoy it up to this point. Once it starts slowing you down, it’s time to say goodbye. A quick goodbye with no remorse. Why are you adding extra weight to your studying you don’t need?
Yes, you may have spent money on it, but don’t ever let that be the reason you are keeping it.
I know a lot of people surround themselves with materials that they are in the process of working on, but really haven’t touched for months, and keep this mentality that they are going to get back into it or complete it in the future. If you started something, no matter how far you get, if you haven’t looked at in several weeks (or even months), you most likely won’t ever, and there is no reason to keep it around as a reminder of what you need to do.
You want what surrounds you now to excite you. You want to wake up in the morning and look forward to using it. Not something that keeps guilting you into what you should be doing but aren’t.
Is there anything you have sitting around that you’ve been waiting to finish, but just keep pushing it off till some time in the future when you think you might resume it? Let’s hear about some good excess baggage in the comments.
*Head nod to こんまり, as this was inspired by her book 人生がときめく片付けの魔法.
「途中まで読んだ本も最後まで読みきる必要はありません 。その本の役割は途中まで読むことだったのです. だから 、未読の本はすべて捨てる 。何年もほったらかしの未読の本よりも 、今読みたいとピンときた本を読んだほうが 、断然いいはずです」
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.
This is advice I really needed to hear sooner. I always have things that I start just in general not just in Japanese I want to complete but I always just stop half way and say I’ll finish later. Starting today I will let go of all this baggage that’s been weighing me down forever.
I really had this sort of dilemma when watching Naruto. It was fun at first, but as it dragged on I started to lose interest in it. But I felt that I had to finish it because I started. Whenever I watched it I couldn’t help but think of all the other series I’d rather be watching. And the thought of the HUNDREDS of episodes waiting for me was just too much. Eventually I came to realize: “Why the heck am I doing this?” It’s not worth my time. So I quit Naruto.
By comparison, I thrive on the idea of hundreds of episodes of One Piece that I still need to watch. It will take me YEARS to catch up, but there’s excitement there and not dread. I’m so much happier watching it instead. And hey, if I start to dread One Piece one day I’ll drop that too. There’s always a great new series to find.
This happens a lot with long running series and people convincing themselves they’ve invested so much time, so they might as well see it through. Once an anime becomes a chore to watch, it’s perfectly fine to let it go.
Hopefully you won’t feel the same way about One Piece, but if you do, you will enjoy it up until you feel it no longer provides value for you.
I’m not sure that just because you didn’t come back to it in weeks doesn’t mean you won’t come back to it ever. I have quite a few books around (not in Japanese) that I have had for years. They are just there waiting for me to want to start reading them. I’m not letting them drag me down though. If I never feel liking reading them I will probably get rid of them sometime, but I don’t mind having them around for a few years. Then again it might also just be the fact that I absolutely love books and have a really hard time getting rid of them even though I have read them and probably are not going to read them ever again.
I do agree with the fact that you should not let something you’re not enjoying drag you down. Stop doing whatever it is. I think things I have quit/stopped fall into two categories. Things I quit because I simply don’t enjoy them anymore. And things I stop because I enjoy something else more and there is not enough time for everything I enjoy. The latter category is also the things I will probably resume at a later time, but for the time being I do not feel guilty for stopping it for a while.
Then Konmari’s book may be just for you haha!
Not everyone agrees, but her main point is:
“Wouldn’t you rather surround yourself with stuff you are excited to read now, rather than things that are just taking up space and you are holding on either because you feel it’s a waste to throw away or that you will use again someday in the future?”
Book lovers/collectors/people with large libraries are her biggest opponents.
3-star reading is probably over my head for a while yet, but it sounds like a book I should put on my “remember for later”-list. I am trying to get better at throwing things out. I always feel better after spending time “decluttering” my apartment. Why would I keep stuff that I haven’t used for several years and probably aren’t going to use anytime soon either. I’m getting better at thinking like that, but still have some way to go. And I definitely have miles to go before my book-collecting-habit becomes manageable. Though I don’t think I will ever get rid of all of my collected books. Some select few I just care too much for :) but my goal is that those will stay _few_.
I am a minimalist everywhere so that I don’t have to be a minimalist with books. I own no CDs, no DVDs, no magazines, no knick-knacks. Just furniture, art and books. So you don’t have to sacrifice books if you’re willing to get rid of other things. Best of luck!
This post inspired me to finally break up with my girlfriend. Thanks Adam!
Then this post should help get you back together!
I am so glad I am not the only one who noticed this post had a dating advice vibe to it!
Just wait till I start DatingLevelUp.com
I have had this issue with a few series I’ve started, the deeper I get into it the more like a chore it feels to keep watching/reading it, and it has made me stop studying all together for awhile because it was making everything so boring forcing myself to stick certain series just because I had already put so much time into them.
I have actually started back again and finished off everything that was making me lose interest, and now i’m trying to only watch/read fairly short series because I don’t know if I will be able to get myself to stop watching in the middle of a series that I have put a lot of time into, but don’t want to get burnt out on a series that I lose interest in again.
So far everything that I have started is keeping it fresh and exciting, plus short series make for quick goals that can be easily accomplished. It’s nice to watch a 20 episode series and feel done with it, instead of realizing you have 100 more to go to be finished.