When I enter I library I start to buzz. The buzz isn't quite excitement and it isn't quite stress, but a mix of the two. Excitement bubbles because in a library, I can learn anything, go anywhere, and be anything. Stress quickly follows though. My lungs tighten when I realize I can't learn it all, that I will always have blind spots, and I will forever be limited by what I don't know.
Maybe that's a tad dramatic, but as I gaze at my mountain of books, this crushing feelings come just the same. To a certain extent, I feel these feelings are justified. I'm trying to read important shit. As a white man trying to learn about other cultures and my privileges and responsibilities, I feel I must read it all. It's part of my responsibility as a listener and as a human to read.
Most of the time, I feel reading should be enjoyable. It's not always for me. It's not fun to read how your country reneged treaties hundreds of times, nor is it fun to read about the difficulty of growing up in Mao era China. But, these things must be read, I feel.
Yet my feelings come in direct conflict with my (and I suspect many of our) philosophies. As I read with quick, stressed breathes, I hear, "Do what you love. Do what feels right. Do what feels good." And I wonder, maybe those voices are plain wrong. Maybe life isn't about what feels good. Maybe it's more about what is good.