I have been challenging myself lately to watch less and less, and read more and more. At the beginning of this year I came to the somewhat shocking observation that I was watching more shows than I was reading books. And that just didn’t seem right.
There is something in our world that seems to push books farther and farther down the totem pole of entertainment. After all, why read the words and have to imagine it when, odds are, some director is going to do that for you in the future?
That is TOTALLY me being sarcastic.
I’m not down-playing everyone. There are so many beautiful, dedicated readers out there that sometimes it’s hard for me to imagine there are those who don’t like to read.
But they do exist.
What I have come to learn through this challenge, is that reading is a commitment. Even if you like to read, love to read, can’t live without reading– it’s a commitment. We are constantly distracted by screens, as I mentioned in writing through the distractions, and it’s so easy to use a hard day as an excuse to turn on the TV instead of picking up a book to “work” some more.
Don’t kid yourself. Even if you like to read, [I think] reading is work.
You have to use your mind to recognize the words, to reform the sentences the author already penned (typed) for you, to imagine everything the story is painting before you.
Your mind is not resting when you’re reading. It’s moving, understanding, contemplating–living.
Someone could argue that it’s the same when watching TV. You’re “taking it all in,” after all. But… you aren’t working. You’re staring. The TV doesn’t always have your full attention. In fact, more and more people can barely sit through a full-length movie because our minds are wired for the short term, the quick blips of information, just one picture.
See what I mean?
Reading is not for the faint of heart, or mind, or soul. It’s for those who want to continue living– to walk in someone else’s shoes. Regardless of how times and technology continue to progress, the written word is one of the, or arguably THE, strongest tools we will ever have.
That’s why it’s so important to keep reading.
If we lose the desire to use our imagination, to create, to learn, to thrive, to live– then we lose everything.