I’ll admit, 2020 was a hard year. And I know you know that. It was hard even for my reading. But, I saw that despite the struggles, my reading was not in vain, and I learned a lot.
At the beginning of the year, my life had become so incredibly busy that I didn’t make time for a lot of things that I forgot were important to me, my reading included. When quarantine came, I felt like someone had stuck a doorstop in my hamster wheel. I was forced to stop. But that let me breathe. I could sit down and reflect on my hamster life and see that I was running too hard.
When I made my revelation, I decided to just slow down. Island-time is the best-time, right? So, I didn’t make any big goals or challenges for my reading. I just read what I felt like. I have this collection of children’s stories from the 1920’s called My Book House. My particular favorite of the six books is number three, “Through Fairy Halls.” I cracked open this book, my book. Its cover, gold-embossed with a pastel-colored illustration like a window into its treasure-trove of stories. I leafed through its introductory yellow-tinted pages. Upon reaching the first story, my eye landed on the illuminated drop cap crowning the letter ‘O’. I traced my finger along that first sentence, whispering the four most calming words known to man: “Once upon a time . . .”
Reading the stories in that book is like coming home. And get this, I didn’t read them all. Nope, I didn’t have to. Because reading is a hobby, something I do to make me happy. This leads me to the most valuable lesson I learned this year.
The lessons I learned
#1 No pressure. Don’t worry about it! Now, you might be saying, “Reader in the Rye, you said that last year.” You’re right, I did. But we have to be reminded constantly. Finish the book if you want to. Don’t finish it if you don’t want to. Love your reading. And if you don’t, change it up. Try another genre, or another story, or an audiobook.
Speaking of not finishing books, I have an alarming list of books I started and didn’t finish last year. Look out for a post on my top ten quotes from those books coming soon.
#2 Don’t give up on those books you always said you would read but haven’t. Three years ago, I checked out the Wind in the Willows from my local public library. I started reading it, but couldn’t get into it enough to finish it in my allotted 30 days. So, off it went. I checked it out at least four different times after that . . . and still didn’t finish it. Back in March, I checked it out again. I didn’t read it the whole month. But then, my library shut down, and didn’t let anyone return books. So, I had the Wind in the Willows until the 27th of November. And I finished it! During the summer, I developed a routine. Every day at lunchtime, I would go sit on my patio in the sunshine and read the Wind in the Willows while I ate. It was wonderful. Now, it’s one of my favorite books.
#3 Make time for reading. I wasn’t doing that at all. But I learned that if you love it, make time for it. If you don’t love it yet, but want to, make time for it. Even if it’s just twenty minutes a day. During lunch or during breakfast. Or listen to an audiobook as you drive to work or while you make your coffee or cook dinner. There is the time for it, if you want to find the time. I did. You can too. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
This year, I’m gonna take things slow. I’m going to take my reading as it comes. And I’m just going to see where it takes me. Who knows, maybe I’ll do even more than I could when I was stressing about it.
Let me know . . .
- What did you learn from your 2020 reading?
- What do you hope to do with your 2021 reading?