Return Or Renew?


In an effort to read more, I’ve been taking advantage of my local library. Recently, two books I’d taken out came due — but I hadn’t made much progress on either of them.

I had a choice: return them, or renew them.

One of the books had sat on my coffee table for nearly three weeks, untouched except a page or two. I haven’t found the right time to read it yet, but I think there’s something good in it for me. It deserves a second chance. So I went to the library’s website and renewed the book. I can’t promise that I’ll finish it this time, but I want to give it another shot.

The other book was something I thought I ‘should’ read. It seemed like something I ‘should’ enjoy, something that ‘should’ be a perfect fit.

But it just… wasn’t. I found myself skimming through the book, missing the beautiful prose that ‘should’ be worthy of lingering attention. In truth, I wanted it to be done.

I held the book in my hand thinking, ‘should I give it another shot?’.

Today I realized that this is a pretty good metaphor for our internal stories — the things we choose to believe about ourselves and our lives. As we approach the new year, I’ve been thinking about which stories I want to keep practicing and learning, and which stories I’m ready to let go of.

Each day, when it comes to our internal stories we have a choice: to renew or return.

We can hang onto our internal stories a little longer — keep practicing them, evolving them, living them. Or we can let them go.

Some stories take a little more time to settle in. Especially if they’re stories of change, things that go against the grain of our long-held beliefs. That’s OK — maybe they just need a renewal. Unlike the library, we can renew our internal stories as many times as we want.

On the other hand, if we have an old story that isn’t serving us anymore, maybe it’s time to return it.

That’s what I did with the second book. I walked into the library, opened up the big metal slot, and let the book slide away. Bye bye, book.

The world is full of stories. Why hang on to the ones we don’t need?

Camille DePutter