Thursday, 19 June 2014

Read Like a Teenager

I've always been a big reader. For as long as I can remember, curling up on the sofa with a good book has been the ultimate in pleasurable experiences for me. As a child, I never went anywhere without at least one book I could bury myself in if being sociable became too difficult. I would take eight books out of the library each week and read them all. As a teenager, reading became my lifeline. It took me away from the horrors of adolescence, taught me more about the world around me than my High School education ever did and inspired me to begin writing my own stories and poems.

But lately I haven't been reading anywhere near as much as I used to. I've tried blaming it on my medication (one of the side effects is lack of concentration), I've tried blaming it on my mood, I've searched for blame in a hundred and one places. But none of them have felt true. In the last six months, reading has gone from a pleasure to a chore. Choosing a book to read has become difficult, a minefield of incorrect choices and uninspiring subject matter. I've felt self-conscious that my choice in reading material might not be "cool" enough (whatever the hell that means!) and for the first time in years I've found myself going a whole week at a time without reading. 

While wasting time on Buzzfeed yesterday, I came across an article called Why You Should Read Like a Teen Again and its subject matter really hit home. The article isn't about reading teen fiction, it's about reading any book, be it War and Peace or The Hunger Games, the way a teen would, whole-heartedly. It's about allowing yourself to enter the world of the book you're reading and not come up for breath for hours at a time. The article talks about how as adults we're taught that spending time reading is bad. Bad for us and bad for our lives. By spending hours reading there are a whole host of other things we could have been doing: housework, shopping, cooking, playing with our pets or children. But really, why shouldn't we indulge ourselves in a good book once in a while. Why shouldn't we immerse ourselves in a fictional world in order to take a break from our often tumultuous and stressful adult lives. 

Reading like a teenager is completely natural and, I think, potentially a positive for our mental well-being. So why not turn off your phone, make yourself a cup of tea and crack open a book. Read like a teen and don't feel guilty about it.
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