I used to read. When I was a child, tween and teenager books were my friends and my escape. I have always continued to think of myself as a reader and while I have been reading almost every day since my youth, my focus on reading has diminished greatly. I still called myself a reader but deep in my heart I didn't feel I really was one. Not the way I used to be.
Life, lifestyle change, and the internet are all big factors. I love the internet and am so glad for the positive changes it has brought to my life, but I also know that it has eroded my attention span and has me in its addictive claws. In my loner isolation the internet is my new friend, my new escape and I turn to it all the time. I routinely find myself clicking aimlessly around various websites sometimes visiting the same social sites over and over in a short span to see if anything new is posted. Once I realize what I am doing then I try to do something more productive, but it is a problem. When I eliminated cable in November my hope was to stop aimlessly watching TV AND stop aimlessly clicking around the internet and to start doing more productive, life affirming tasks like cooking, exercising or reading. I haven't been entirely successful although my TV watching certainly is way down. My computer time though hasn't really changed. I surf in silence now whereas the TV used to keep me company.
But there is the slight hint of change on the horizon. One part has been ushered in by the iPad of all things. With the iPad it is easy for me to check on my sites and do a few things but I don't find myself endlessly surfing around like I do on my computer. This is what I was hoping for and now I need to set a pattern and make it a habit. I need my laptop for photo editing and blog posting and certain kinds of surfing but I'm hoping the iPad will actually help me wean myself from the computer. The computer laptop and mouse is where I lose the most time with my internet wanderings. Most people will say that I will just replace my computer with m iPad, but I don't think so. It has a different feel and while I check in just as often I don't tend to stay on as long.
I have also had a nice couple of weeks of a reading pattern that was established when I went to Panama and I hope to continue it. Right now it is a small ember that I hope to fan into a flame. I have read three books in the last four weeks. That may not sound like a lot to some people, but for someone who has seriously declined in their reading habits this is a big accomplishment. The Kindle has been wonderful in this process because I am able to start reading immediately the next book I am interested in. It hasn't been easy. Many times I find my mind wandering or I sit down and immediately pop back up to do a chore or to check something real quick online (it is never quick). I realize it is something that I'm going to have to re-learn. I'm going to have to train myself to be a reader again (sit, stay, read) and redevelop my attention span. But there have been a few moment where I felt the old spark. Where I couldn't wait to get back to the book. Or when I looked at my options of internet, TV or book I decided I would rather read. So there is hope. The old reader is still in there somewhere. And she will emerge again.
I started my Goodreads account over so I could keep track. You can follow with my progress.