Are you tired of hearing people say, “I don’t have time to read?” Are you tired of saying it yourself? Every few years it seems we need a reminder — and permission — to read. (Remember Drop Everything and Read?)
Yes, reading can be a diversion, an excuse, and even a luxury, but it’s not just those things. (If you have any doubts about that, read this article. It’s my new anthem!)
Taking time to read is crucial to our well-being (for many of us, anyway). It provides this beautiful synergy of relaxation and inspiration. How many other things can both comfort and compel to action in one fell swoop?
And yet, the guilt persists.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: Your hardworking spouse enters the room to find you reading . . . again . . . and you feel the urge to leap off the couch as if you’ve been caught with your hand in the cookie jar, and begin explaining that you “just sat down . . .” etc., etc. (To which my spouse usually says, “Oh . . . kay,” as he sits down to watch TV. Clearly the perception of laziness is on my end, not his.)
But yes, I do feel guilty for taking a few minutes to sit and read, particularly when the dishes aren’t done or the dog’s not walked. BUT, when I save reading as a reward for completing such tasks, more often than not, the tasks never end. And I never get to collect on the reward.
Instead, I suggest putting reading ON your to-do list. Crazy, right? But tell yourself you can read for half an hour and then you’ll walk the dog and (maybe) wash the dishes. It’s important. And you are not weak or lazy for it. You are bettering yourself, expanding your horizons, and exercising your mind. And we all know how important exercise is.
And if you don’t quite get to the dishes, that’s okay, because the dishes will still be there tomorrow. (They don’t need any exercise.)
But don’t skip walking the dog. Just sayin’, he probably has to go.
— Krissy Mohn, Senior Editor