I’m sitting on the couch, drinking cheap coffee and staring at my bookshelf. It’s a clustered mass of fiction, non-fiction, boxes, videos, old photos that have never been organized and at the bottom my contribution to killing the world’s trees–all my notebooks.
I’ve been meaning to organize this chaos for quite some time now. I know I won’t get to it, perhaps I enjoy the mess that holds some of my reading material. Some of the books aren’t even mine but there they sitting silently with all the rest.
The main thought running through my head isn’t the wide range of topics my books cover but why I stopped reading. Why did I stop reading? For years when asked about my hobbies I always had a simple answer: reading, drawing and writing. Now, when asked the same question my mind goes blank; like it doesn’t remember the things I once enjoyed.
A few weeks ago a little girl asked me what I liked to do. I found it to be a very hard question. Her answer was so simple, “I like to play and go to school so I can talk to my friends.”
I was honest, I told her I didn’t know. She was dumbfounded and couldn’t understand how I didn’t know what I liked to do. I guess at her age I would have had the same reaction.
“What do you mean you don’t know what you like to do?”
Well, once you start giving up what you like it’s a long road to get back to those pleasurable things. For years my life consisted of work and school. Sounds simple until you break it down. Until you add up the hours that each one requires, demands of you: all the rules and regulations, the studying, researching, homework, calculating, scheming, balancing college and non-college classes. Then add everyday life on top of that: bills, chores, socializing. I remember multiple times where I sat drinking, writing out a paper or completing a worksheet. Other times I toted my books to the bar and read my assigned chapters like a good little nerd while others played pool. I took online classes so I pretty much taught myself–if you don’t read the books you won’t get anything from the class. Do I regret it? No, just can’t believe I did it.
Try explaining to a seven-year-old that kind of burn out. It doesn’t work. Yet, that’s the reason I stopped reading for pleasure and why I have a lack of hobbies. Got burned out, plain and simple.