Reading. That one shameful hobby that most of us wish we did more of but can never seem to find the time. If we finally do steal a moment away to read, we doze off before we can make it through the second page. We know it has potential to enrich and expand our knowledge but it doesn’t seem to fit into our fast-paced digital lives. Turning the pages is a slow, tedious and predictable task that betrays every dopamine-dropping instinct we have learned from the endless availability of information on the internet. The texts we read grow shorter and shorter, shrinking to fit a wide assortment on our small screens. It seems many of us have lost the art of stillness, making it impossible to sit in silence; we find ourselves reading the same sentence over and over again.
Although these obstacles are rather intrusive at first, it is quite possible to shrink them with practice. The first necessity to doing this is having a genuine desire to read again. If you are having trouble mustering up the excitement just think of all the knowledge that will soon swell your brain, reaching for forgotten words and new conversation starters. The mind is a muscle just as much as any other and in order to keep it agile, you must continue feeding it.
My second suggestion is to find a reading buddy. When you start reading again you will find a renewed passion for knowledge and a sense of pride for acquiring it. You will want to share what you’ve learned with someone, it helps to have someone who’s interested and invested. Also a reading companion opens up the possibility of having a discussion, allowing you to hear a second perspective on the same text.
Next tip seems rather obvious but is nonetheless crucial; you must relax. Paralleling a meditative philosophy, as long as you are holding tension you will never be present. You won’t absorb what you’re reading while you’re counting down the minutes until you can stop reading. If you think of it as a chore then you will not enjoy it and likely you will not become a veracious reader. If you think of it as designated self care, consciously working towards self betterment, you will be eagerly reaching for your book any chance you get.
While in this indefinitely extended lockdown, some of us have the unprecedented opportunity to slow down, to cut back on our exterior lives. Many of us have been stuck staring at the same surroundings for four months now, leaving the house only for the most essential of trips. Reading provides a wonderful opportunity to escape your surroundings in your mind, transporting yourself into a world woven into pages. If you have the desire to fill this extra time with reading, I hope this post helped encourage you towards that goal. If all the reading you can manage to do today is simply this post, thank you.
Stay safe and take care of each other.
Image sourced from http://plumedepoule.blogspot.com/2010/10/blog-post_5850.html, Artist: Plume De Poule