Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Reading books again

It's funny: in the past six or seven weeks, I've been reading books again.  My sister tells me I've been reading this whole time, because I've talked with her about books for years, but it hasn't been the same.

I remember when The Hubby and I first moved to the suburbs, and we used to walk to the library two or three times a week, because the number of books I could comfortably carry home was smaller than the number of books I would read in seven days.  I had at least two books in progress at all times, because sometimes I wouldn't feel like reading one, so I'd start another.  I used to finish all those books in progress before they were due back at the library, too.

Somewhere between Z getting old enough to not fall asleep in the stroller and L being born, I stopped reading like that, though.  I would have one book going, and when it was done, inertia would pull on me, and I'd sit in front of the computer instead of starting a new one.  I would check out books from the library and renew them until I couldn't anymore, and then I'd just return them.  I still considered myself a reader, and I wanted to want to read, but I didn't want it enough to actually do it.

A week ago, I realized I was reading again.  Reading like I used to: voraciously, three books at a time, because every time I sat down I wanted to pick up a book.  And the feeling it gave me was one of familiarity.  Like, "Hey!  I recognize you!  You're me!"

The next day, a friend of mine called.  She was feeling weighed down by the challenges of parenting, and she told me she didn't feel like she was being the person she wanted to be as a parent.  The more we talked, the more it seemed like her story mirrored mine.  She used to want to do things in a particular way, but right now it's more like she wants to want to.  Actually doing those things isn't bringing her the pleasure or satisfaction it used to, so she's letting them slide, and then inertia is dragging her down.

I'm guessing we're not alone.  Sometimes life is hard, and the workouts that used to energize you feel like slogs.  Or the delicious food you used to love cooking seems like too much hassle and too little reward.  Or you used to make art, make music, write poetry, write prose, volunteer, design, garden, and do things, which now you just don't.

Take heart!  Hard times call for hard pruning.  We cut ourselves down to the essentials, so we don't break and die.  If something is part of your root-deep self, though, it's not gone.  It's hibernating, or dormant: on hiatus for this season.  It's ok to recoup and regroup.  And maybe it won't grow back the same way it grew before, but I am sure that part of you will flourish again, when the climate in your life is a bit more conducive to growing.

Someday I know you will find yourself saying, "Hey!  I recognize you!  You're me!"

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