“I don’t read” seems to be the people’s choice of response as I pass out the newspaper on Fridays. I’m not offended that you don’t want the paper, but it is interesting to me that people feel so confident admitting that they don’t read, especially as college students.
I want to properly preface this by saying I love movies, okay? Way more than books. But I’ve grown an appreciation for reading and have learned to enjoy it. Key word: learned. Hear me out, you literate non-readers.
1. Work your brain.
My primary motivation for reading is that it exercises my mind. It is not easy—it requires patience and effort and attention. But I encourage you to make reading a priority, because it may help strengthen your patience, effort and attention for everything else. Your mind is the most complex organ of your body and is literally the HQ for everything that keeps you alive, so don’t forget that it needs attention too. Instead of sitting the book on the shelf because it’s “too much work”—add it to your workout routine. Run then read so you can train your whole person.
2. Step outside your world.
As “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin said, “A reader lives a thousand times before he dies…the man who never reads lives only one.” Reading gives you the opportunity to escape your daily life and walk in someone else’s shoes. Even if it’s nonfiction, it helps give you a unique perspective of our universe that you might not experience with your own two feet, and it’s right at your fingertips. Meet new people, explore the world and travel through time anywhere you are. All you have to do is turn the page.
3. Learn stuff.
If you know me, you know I love incorporating unique words in my daily language. After I learn a new word (from reading, of course), I try to create a habit of implementing it into casual conversation until it becomes a loyal member of my vocabulary. This is how I’ve reached the point of also including “just google it” in my daily language, as people often ask me what a word means that I’ve used. This is the third reason I enjoy reading, because it makes me sound a lot smarter than I probably am. It is such an interesting experience to open your mind and venture into someone else’s, to understand their perspective and their ideas. It helps you learn how people think, and the reasons behind their behavior that will aid you for the rest of your life.
4. Take your time.
Remember: there is no rush. I always hated reading for school because the timeline was too fast and I couldn’t read at my own pace and fully enjoy it. I rarely finished the books or even got halfway through them for class because I like to take my time. I’ve been reading the same book for the past two years, and I’m in the middle of two others. It’s like I’m on a journey with each story that I can revisit whenever, wherever. Yes, it’s work—as I mentioned before. But reading is also a great way to relax. Sure, you could put on a facemask, take a bubble bath, drink some Kombucha and listen to Hozier, but if you really want to promote mental wellness and self-care, start reading.
In conclusion, I think that reading should be for everyone. If you “don’t like reading,” you probably haven’t read enough to discover what you enjoy. So give it a chance. It may take a while to find your “type,” but in your journey judging covers and skimming prefaces, you will eventually find the one that you can’t quite put down.
Photo by Gabriel Jaggernauth and Sterling Zoe Rubottom