Now is the time to make time to read
I spent much of the Christmas break travelling from the foothills of the Dublin Mountains to the shores of Lake Huron in Canada and to a psychotherapist’s couch in Belfast, all in the space of a few luxurious days indoors. The odd burst of exercise and the need to cook, or sleep, or talk to my family were all that dragged me away from my literary journeys. No TV programmes, box sets or even good radio could have brought greater pleasure.
But now that I’m back at my working desk I’m beginning to grieve for the joy of carrying a book around all day with no feelings of guilt at reading it whenever the humour takes me. The time at the desk is not the only problem. Following the Christmas mental switchoff, I’m back to listening to news bulletins, reading the papers and basically being connected and engaged through media old and new.
Setting achievable goals is, we are told, a healthy thing to do. The more unrealistic our goals are, the more likely we are to become frustrated, unfulfilled and disillusioned as we fail to reach them. But unless we’re in a book club, few of us set specific time goals in relation to our leisure reading. It tends to get consigned to periods when there are no other demands on our time. In my case that rarely happens until I go to bed. And then I run the common risk of falling asleep before I’ve finished the first paragraph
I’ve now decided that reading must go up a notch on the priority list, and sit there with the physical exercise, the tooth-brushing and even work as something that deserves a dedicated time to itself on a daily basis.
So how, in an already busy and committed schedule, is that time to be found? By bumping something else off the list, I suppose. What’s it to be? Sleep? No, I need that too badly. Physical exercise? I might start creaking. Facebook? Now there’s a thought. Although I’m not a serious user, it has insidiously colonised my butterfly mind far more than I’d care to admit. A chapter of a good book would easily fill the time it takes for those sneaky browses and click-throughs to other tempting curiosities. And a focus on one single printed page for a whole minute at a time might be the most revolutionary and healthiest of brain exercises for my new year!