I remember when I was a kid, I marveled at how little my parents read. Oh they read, probably more than most people, but they didn’t meet my standard of gobbling books whole in the span of a day or two, so I was perplexed. After all, they were grown-ups. They could do anything they wanted! To me, that would definitely mean more reading time. I had been known to rush through chores half-heartedly so I could get to my book, I’d get in trouble for staying in the bathroom too long due to reading, I’d try to stay up late and read. In short, reading was my guilty pleasure and the sum of all delights.
So why would someone who had full command of their own time (nobody telling them when to go to bed or what chores to do or to get out of the bathroom!) not take advantage of this to read dozens of books weekly?
I just could not fathom it.
Fast forward to the present, where I’m a married twenty-seven-year-old woman. How many books have I read so far this year?
Ten measly books. Less than one a month!
What happened? I don’t even have a full time job or nine kids to look after and I still have trouble. I want to read more. I aspire to it and constantly tell myself I’m going to. So why don’t I?
It’s not lack of time, really. I have time to watch TV with my husband and browse Facebook. Sure a lot of times during the day I wish that I could read and grudgingly force myself to do work instead–housework, writing, audiobook narration, studying, marketing. But in my free time–I nearly always revert to watching something or doing nothing at all.
I think the problem is my brain.
For one thing, my brain is just plain tired after a day of all that (not to mention spiritual warfare, navigating relationships, trying to make plans, working on being a better person). Reading is work. You have to interpret the symbols on the page and make them into thoughts and images in your own head. And sometimes, when you’re tired, it’s just hard. Watching something that’s already interpreted is easier.
But for another thing, I’m finding increasingly that I simply cannot read when I’m stressed. It’s strange, really. And when someone told me a few years ago that this was the case for themselves, I was puzzled at it. But it seems more true for me every day. When I’m stressed, and I try to read, it’s literally harder to interpret the words at all. I simply can’t seem to do it.
And unfortunately, I’m a very easily stressed person.
But stress robs me of so much more than reading–it robs me of my peace, my trust in God, my health. And reading is something so dear to me and something that I feel is truly important. So why do I keep letting my overactive worry take it away from me?
Looking into the new year, that’s something I want to improve. I want to read more. I want to read every day. I want to make a huge dent in the ginormous number of books I desperately want to devour and digest. I want to stop letting my brain, whether weary or worried, keep me from this beautiful pleasure of life.
2018 reading list, here I come.