This year was one of the toughest I’ve had, ever. Stepping through each month, week, day presented new challenges and I found myself drawn back to reading as an escape. I was always a big reader as a kid. I was the stay up till 3 am to finish a good story or read Lord of the Rings in a weekend. On family vacations, I would pack two or three novels to keep myself occupied.
I’m not sure I can pinpoint exactly when I stopped reading, but I would guess it was sometime in college when the task of reading over 200 philosophical pages a week crowded out my ability or want of leisure reading. For something that used to come so natural to me, it was hard to pick up after graduation. For a while, I thought of reading as just another casualty of my busy life, but this year I wanted to prioritize it. I constructed a list of all the books I wanted to read in 2019 and aimed to keep to it. The first few months weren’t terribly successful, but as my year grew more tumultuous I found myself drawn back to the solace of a good read. While I didn’t read all of them, I did read quite a few on that list and ended up branching into a few more.
+ The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
+ Emotional Intelligence: Resilience by Harvard Business Review
+ Rising Strong by Brené Brown
+ A Beautiful Composition of Broken by R. H. Sin
+ It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand by Megan Devine
+ Women in the Wild by Lucy McCauley
+ Healing Pluto Problems by Donna Cunningham
+ Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski
+ The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
I also took some time this year to reconnect with my love of LOTR and reread several of my favorites, namely: The Two Towers. While most of my reading this year focused on emotional development and personal growth, I did find that reading something for enjoyment alone was time beautifully spent. Obvious as that sounds, and is, I tend to have a very utilitarian look on the world and ask myself “How is this pushing me? Helping me? Furthering me?”. Losing so many close family members this year really pushed me to slow down and step back from the ‘hustle’ so many twenty-somethings are encouraged to have.
I’ve happily moved at a slower pace this year and focused on the things that are most important to me. I’ve traveled home as much as possible to see family. I’ve stepped into a new intensity within my sport. I’ve adopted new hobbies and passions. And I’ve read for enjoyment alone.