Some people meditate as a means of finding their zen. Some people hit the gym, practice yoga, or go for a long hike through the woods. Some cook, some paint or sketch, some write. But the way I find my balance has always been through reading. It’s my first love, the thing that best defines me and makes me the truest version of myself. I was the kid who stashed books under her pillow and, after getting tucked in, would pull them out and read for hours by flashlight. I always brought a separate bookbag (that was actually filled with books) along on family vacations, and the odds were good that by the time we headed home, I would have read them all at least once. I was (and still am) rarely seen without a book close at hand.
Some see reading as a luxury, but for me it’s as necessary as breathing. I physically cannot do without it, almost like a compulsion or addiction. And like all addicts, there are consequences when I can’t get my fix. I’m irritable, I can’t focus, and everything feels off. I’m unsettled. But the minute I sink into my favorite reading spot with a book in hand, that all melts away. It’s the damnedest thing, how a few hours of immersing myself in someone else’s world makes me so much more present in my own. My thoughts are sharper and clearer. I’m grounded again. Happier.
So, for as much fun as it is to travel and fill my evenings and weekends with special events, it leaves little time for curling up in my nook. I haven’t even touched a book since the end of March – over two weeks ago! – and it’s starting to wear on me. My family knows to take me seriously when I say I need a quiet afternoon to simply read, so when I pronounced today as the day I was going to do just that, they let me be. There are things I need to do…the garden needs weeded, the dishes need washed, the laundry needs folded. But that can all wait. For now, if you need me, you know where to find me.