How old are people when they learn that you have to return library books on time because otherwise people who want to borrow it can’t? And maybe they’re expecting that when the book is due at the library they’ll get to pick it up?


Let’s be conservative here and say 12 years old. (Developmental psychology says it isn’t until most people are 12 that they can put themselves in other peoples’ shoes. Like thinking oh if I were other people I’d want me to return the book.)


So, friendships and romantic ties–relationships–are like library books. You have the privilege of keeping them only if you renew them. On time. (The analogy doesn’t always make sense, like late fees and fines. How do those relate? Whatever.)


It’s not nice, and kindof stupid, to leave a library book on your shelf and say “I’ll read it tomorrow.” Or forget you already finished reading it and then leave it somewhere because you can’t be bothered to keep track of it and return it.


Bear with me here. People say, and it’s true, that relationships need to be renewed. You have to work to stay interested. Scanning the book isn’t reading it. You don’t just show your lover that you care (like saying you’re gonna read that book tomorrow, I swear), you have to actually get back in love. Skipping parts of the book isn’t reading it. People ask, did you read the book? And you say yeah. And then they say what did you think of [minor character]? And you go ah, um, well I didn’t really read that part. I wasn’t interesting in finding out about that part.


Ya gotta pay attention all the time to your lover. Not just to the parts of them you feel like paying attention to. As soon as you stop paying attention to them, your relationship suffers. And I guarantee you, your lover will wish you would either love them or quit pretending.


That’s why cheating is so stupid. Quit pretending you’re going to love your partner. Admit you’re not really interested. You’re just postponing the inevitable. You’re not going to read that book or you already would be.


Or…maybe you want to read the book but figure all you have to do is keep it on the shelf. See, that’s not fair. Renew the book if you want it. Renew the relationship if you really want it. Get back in love. Pay attention. Shove all the distractions out of your head and learn who your partner is. Find what is so wonderful about them. Care. Fall in love again. Renew your relationship.


10 thoughts on “Library books

  1. Keep sharing your honest insights, Holly. You never know who you may reach. Parts of your story resonate with mine in ways that are interesting and relevant to me. I will go one further with your analogy–some readers read a book, they like the story, but they hunger for another book, another story. One is not enough. Not that this is my current situation with partners, but it has been in the past and I also happen to read multiple books during a given week.


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