As a child, I loved to read. I read so much and so fast that my mother used to say I “ate books.” I zipped through them so quickly she would need to hide them on road trips so I had fresh pages to read for the return drive.
I can still remember exactly what my local library looked like and exactly where my favorite Sweet Valley High or RL Stine books were located, and I haven’t stepped foot in that building in over 25 years.
As an adult, I continued my love of reading on my daily commute on a bus and two trains to get to my job in the city. An hour-long train ride felt like minutes, and I was always disappointed it was time to get off, and I couldn’t wait until the commute home to finish my next chapter.
So, if it isn’t already obvious, I was a huge reader, which makes the next fact about me shocking. Once I had my first baby, I basically stopped reading. I could count on one hand the number of times I went to the local library. Occasionally if a book had a lot of buzz, I would buy it and watch it collect dust on a shelf.
I was so busy when I had a few moments of downtime. All I wanted to do was scroll mindlessly through social media or half pay attention to a TV show.
As my children have gotten older, I’ve been able to finish a book here and there. And once I’ve finished, I’m always so happy. And so, for my New Year’s resolution (I know, no one ever actually does their resolutions), I gave myself a reasonable goal of reading ten books this year. Less than one a month. And not just grabbing whatever I have around that I never read that’s collecting dust on my shelf. I wanted to read books that interested me, moved me, and apparently made me cry a lot.
I wanted to figure out what books I could get lost in; what genre got me excited to find a few quiet minutes to read. After all, it’s been years since I read just for me, not a book about raising kids or being a strong leader.
And so, I went to the library and immediately fell back in love with the feeling of wandering the aisles, reading the back covers, and leaving with little gems that will no doubt transport me to other times and spaces, getting lost in the pages.
I also started a goodreads account (I have no friends or followers on there, so if you want to connect, let me know!), and I have found that I can spend hours looking up different books that readers enjoyed and adding them to my “want to read list.”
So I’ve finally figured it out. This is what my self-care looks like. It wasn’t on my Peloton (though Im still trying!). It wasn’t in a hot shower or a coffee. It’s wandering through the aisles of the library, turning the pages of my latest find, weeping as I immerse myself in other worlds, and carving out time in my life to do just that. I’ve finally found my happy place again, and it was worth the wait.