When I was in middle school, I stumbled upon a book by Roald Dahl called Matilda.1 That was around in the late ’80s when the book was pretty new at that time. Never revealing it to anyone at that time, I’ve always found myself in my little world and actually being in the world of the book and used to imagine myself being the main character. I had this rather immature belief that if I read more books like Matilda did in the novel, then I would also develop telekinetic powers. I wasn’t upset in the later future when that didn’t happen, but I did also discover other benefits of reading that can reward you a lot more valuable (and important) factors in life than telekinetic powers.2
READING: It’s what every human being should need in order to survive this small yet complicated world. No kidding on this one.
READING is a fundamental human skill that can lead an individual to learning and doing things they never thought or imagined they would end up doing. I’m one of those individuals who felt a whole lot more educated about subjects we normally learn in school from reading than just sitting down in a classroom and listening to the teacher lecture about things many of us may not understand from just listening alone. In short, many of us seem to learn a whole lot more through self-study than having a second or third party teach things to us.3 But aside from that, there are also benefits of reading that I also feel that reading itself should be more encouraged to everyone, especially those who claim that they don’t read to save their lives.
I’m not just talking about books in general. I’m talking about reading newspapers, blogs, websites, social media posts,4 and anything else that has letters and words on it. I’m not including “reading minds” here because, in reality, no normal human being can read the minds of other people.5 You know, just take some time out of your busy life and read something, you know?
I just stumbled upon this article from Lifehack and I gave major nods on every single reason the article illustrated. Reason #1 on the article is probably my main reason why I dig reading. I’ve had loved ones who suffered Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia6 and you wouldn’t want to imagine how heartbreaking and lonely it can be to have your loved one being deteriorated right before your eyes, starting from the loss of their precious memories to their ultimate end.7 When my grandaunt was still living many years ago (during high school years), I used to read a few pages of my favorite books to her just so she can be entertained. Eventually she moved (along with her sisters, my other grandaunts) back to the Philippines and some seven or eight years later, passed away. Her death made me contemplate about a lot of things, especially with the importance of keeping your brain stimulated everyday, just as how you need to exercise your body daily.8
Anyway, moving on. I decided to bring up this subject of reading here.9 I posted something on my Facebook wall post regarding a little known fact about me being non-social. Now, there is a difference between someone who is non-social and someone who is anti-social. I’ve got a good number of friends, so obviously that doesn’t make me anti-social, but what I’m trying to point out here is that I am not a very social person. I was prompted to write that after realizing it at work, where I felt slightly out of place at one point while all my other co-workers at the storefront were simply chatting away about other people and other things I felt was none of my business (and (probably) theirs either). I also started taking advantage of the very dry Californian winter10 by taking my 30-minute lunch at the patio area between the bakery cafe and a known Asian grocery store, eating, drinking, and reading. It’s my only period of time during work that I can have my “me” time, so to speak. Working in a franchise eatery place really does give you headaches with all the noises of all kinds at the front and at the back, but it’s a whole lot more quiet outside. I don’t know if I’m really just not that social or my age had been naturally draining away my youth that would make me withstand the noises here and there while enjoying my midday eats. In short, I don’t feel sad that I’m ignored by certain co-workers or that I’m being a snob for being picky with the people I want to talk to. I simply just need my “me” time so I can calm down and relieve my inner stresses. READING is my #1 stress-reducing drug, my escape from the always-bustling reality. While U-Jam (as well as standing and slightly being mobile for almost 8 hours at work) helps me exercise my body, reading exercises my brain.
Time will come when you will also realize this and that you’ll end up doing what I’m doing right now.
In conclusion, you can probably continue to say that you don’t have time to read anything. Never mind working or studying, but if you actually had the time to watch TV, watch movies, go partying with friends and what not, you definitely have the time to read.11 It doesn’t even have to be a book. It can even be a newspaper or a graphic novel/manga or even love letters/emails from your boyfriend/girlfriend. Heck, read some texts you receive on your smartphone. You can even read the nutrition guides on food labels or even the ingredients of a particular food. Oh, and if you’re a hardcore gym person and spend a lot of time walking on the threads, you can even read a book while you have your headphones on, listening to your favorite music.12
Oh, and just for fun, read this as well: Why Readers Make Better Lovers.
On the sidenote...
- It’s the same story that made in to a children’s movie in the ’90s with Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman and former child actress Mara Wilson as the title character. “Matilda” was one of Roald Dahl’s final novels before his death in 1990. [↩]
- I still want telekinetic powers even up to now… one of my little hidden secrets now revealed. [↩]
- but there are still a lot of things that we need to learn from a mentor alongside with self-studying, so I’m not eliminating teachers and tutors on this one now. Much respect to all the mentors and the seasoned out there! [↩]
- heaven forbid… and this is reference to all the “ghetto” writers and the “Jejemon” writers out there… [↩]
- unless if you were born psychic, but let’s not go there… [↩]
- May they all rest in peace. God bless their souls… [↩]
- No kidding about this one. [↩]
- In addition, my love for video games of any kind, whether if it’s RPG, life simulation, or puzzles like Candy Crush Saga also helps stimulate my brain as well whenever there’s no books to read. [↩]
- I don’t remember the last time I’ve blogged about reading [↩]
- throughout the entire month of January so far, no rain… no signs of cooling/freezing temperatures either… never mind the snow, it rarely snows here… [↩]
- Seriously, don’t give me that crap about “I don’t have time to read because of…” or “I don’t read/like reading. Period.” Please. [↩]
- I’m guilty on that one! [↩]