I love to read. I always have. But there are other things I like to do too, and sometimes I’m torn between my time. How many books can I read in this time frame whilst I also need to achieve so many other things? Reading for pleasure should never feel like work, and yet I’m completely certainly I’m not the only book lover (or book blogger, for that matter) who feels like there is a deadline in place when it comes to reading. Whether it’s for a blog post or simply for social discussion, there can often be a clock ticking in the background and letting your stress levels increase.
When I was so poorly I was bed bound, I would writes stories and poetry in my head, and when I was able to read again, even in short amounts, it was like rediscovering how wonderful it was all over again. I never take that enjoyment for granted, especially as despite my health changing over that time, I’m still not always able to read.
Because of my health, I’m fully aware of how unpredictable life can be, which is why I think I feel the pressure to live in the moment – but correctly. If I’m rewatching a film that I love, could I be doing something better with it? If I read a book for the third time, should I be reading something different?
Crochet especially competes for my time. If I’m on a timeline for a crochet project, then even with my skills, I can’t hold a book and a crochet hook at the same time. Audio books can be great in this scenario, but obviously if you already have the book in another format, then buying them in another isn’t always practical, affordable, or desirable.
Health is still a factor, and trying to have time periods where I squeeze in reading to work around when I am unable to process reading is always difficult too. Whilst this doesn’t necessarily count as a love, it is still self care, and an essential part of my life. With chronic illnesses being so common, be them physical or mental, I still think it’s worth mentioning.
The guilt of not reading when you are a frequent reader is real, and it is a funny little thing. When you can’t be curled up with a book, it can feel like you are doing something wrong or unnatural – it’s strange, really. I’m sure people with other hobbies may feel the same, but it seems unique to me, despite other hobbies. What it comes down to though is knowing that reading is what you decide it is. Is it a second full time job? Is it your only job? Is it what you do to break up the week? Or is it something you do when you just feel like it? There’s no right or wrong answer in this situation, but the definition of what it is to you is what breaks down those barriers.
Barriers are what we make of them, after all, although I’m fully aware this can sound cliche and forced, but mentally it is true. When there are practical barriers to reading, or to anything else, then it is understandable that things can’t happen. But if we are becoming stressed about reading because we’ve told ourselves that our time reading is something to stress about, then that is something we can break down ourselves.
Aside from academic study, reading is done for fun and with love, so loving ourselves as well as remembering to love what we are doing is important. Love comes in different waves, and in different ways, and making it work for you is most important.