Re-discovering my love for reading

Edited by Olivia Spahn-Vieira  

I’ve always heard the saying, “old habits die hard". Which is fair to say; it’s true in many scenarios. But, as I’ve learnt first hand, it’s not always the case. Sometimes, the habits and interests we’ve possessed for what seems like forever, dwindle into figments of the past, and we may not realize it until much later. I suppose that many of us have experienced this with adulthood, as we outgrow, or no longer prioritize many of our childhood interests.

Reading has always been something I’ve loved to do. Like many children, it provided that sort of escapism that we all desired; a sense of losing oneself in another universe. I have fond memories of visiting the bookstore with my mother, or receiving stacks of new books from my relatives. As I grew, so did my hobby. I read anywhere, whether it be in front of my locker, under my desk during class, or even during family gatherings.

Though I didn’t notice it at the time, even though I still enjoyed reading, when I started university, my consistency in reading faltered. It’s not that I outgrew it, but rather subconsciously began to prioritize other things. I replaced reading for leisure with reading for class, or to meet up with the knowledge I felt I was behind on. The books I read out of interest on my walks home from high-school were replaced by school readings on the train rides home from university. Now in my third year, I realize that I traded in my love for reading, in order to meet the demands of a university level work-load.

But, I didn’t stop reading for pleasure entirely when I entered university. I just read less. I also decided that I would read during my breaks or holidays – times where school wouldn’t take precedence. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, I’ve had more time, seeing as I spent my days at home. I’ve been able to use this time to re-discover my admiration for storytelling. I feel as though getting in touch with this habit that I neglected for so long, reacquainted me with a part of myself that had become something of a stranger.

I believe that the demanding work ethic we are expected to follow has corrupted our sense of pastime. Even during our time off, we are still stressed out about work or school events yet to happen. It’s important to unlearn the idea that work and school needs to represent majority of how we spend our time, because this notion can often be detrimental for our mental health. Self-care isn’t selfish.

Although we may not share the same interest in reading, there’s likely a hobby or interest that you’ve set aside because of other priorities. I’m not advising you to absolve yourself of your other responsibilities, but I encourage you to prioritize your interests and hobbies as well. Oddly enough, even as adults, we still long for that escapism we desired as children – maybe even more.