Making it to Monday: For the Love of Books
I am an extrovert book lover.
This means that sitting alone on my couch with my favorite juicy novel is both exhilarating and exhausting. It was a challenge I have been working through for most of my adult life. Too many books and my insides start itching for human interaction. Too much human interaction and my brain starts searching for the meaning of life everywhere. I need a healthy balance, don't we all?
Opening a book during the awake hours is an exercise in futility.
The kids see me sitting so they thing they need to sit too, typically on top of me. A book in my hand must mean that I have nothing else to do so the guilt takes over and I end up wandering the house in search of dishes or laundry or a misplaced child. But in another vein books have the power to own me. I am transported to their world of mystery or sadness to their glorious joy and destructive sadness. I lose myself in them. If i am emotionally invested in a story, the house could burn down around me and I would have no idea. It's a great blessing and a terrifying curse all wrapped into one small printed package. It just isn't the season for a novel and a cup of coffee in the middle of the afternoon or ever really.
A trip to the library is either an opportunity for story time or to grab a few quick children's books. True confession: I rarely even walk through the adult section and I can't remember the last time I checked out a book that didn't have pictures. One afternoon in the fall I was rushing in to grab our pile of picture books. As I bent down to retrieve one covered in dog pictures, Shannon's (9) most longed for treasure, a hard plastic sign fell off the top of the stack and hit me in the face, literally.
On it were the words "Audiobooks are not cheating" and a library website to visit.
I had listened to audiobooks off and on for many years but only briefly and typically on a road trip when my motion sickness kept me from reading a book but the idea of 16 hours without entertainment terrified me. I had always loved the feel of a book in my hand. I have always loved propping my feet up and settling into a beautiful story. But this wasn't the season for that. I had an epiphany, audiobooks are not cheating.
Our library has thousands of audiobooks to borrow, all for free. I downloaded a short one and listened to it in a few days all while doing my regular life. I wear wireless headphones constantly and push play during many free moments. Doing laundry, washing dishes, walking the dog, snuggling with a sick kid or even making dinner. It was absolutely life changing. From there I found podcasts, a Stay at Home Extroverts dream combination. Other people talking to me all day long about important things all while getting my work done!
In 2017 I resolved to make reading my top priority. It was time to invest in my own heart and to tap into the things that make my heart and head strong. So I wrote my new Years Resolution. 50 books and 500 hours of podcasts in 2017. the first 4 months have been an incredible joyful experience. I have learned a lot about the value of words but also the value of reading them well. There have been a few readers that I will seek out when searching for a story and there are a few I will avoid. I have listened to books from all genres. From True Crime, to romance, to Young Adult Fiction, to Fantasy each one has made me search for more. I have read 3 for real paper books, 1 book on my kindle and 12 not cheating audiobooks so far this year. Add to that the nearly 125 hours of podcasts and I am well on my way to reaching this audacious goal!
It's difficult, in many seasons of life, to make room for the experiences that bring you joy. Audiobooks have allowed me the freedom to grow and learn and live vicariously through people in imaginary worlds while also caring for there real live people in my own.