Once a book nerd, always a book nerd
At its core, reading is a uniquely private and individual pursuit. But we’ve all been so conditioned to put everyone else before ourselves that we often feel guilty — or fear that we’ll be labeled selfish — when we do something that is so obviously, indulgently for us alone.
You know what, though? For nerdy introverts like you and me, these things that you do by yourself, for yourself — whether it’s reading or baking or painting or gardening or going for long solitary walks in nature — are the very things that will fill you with joy, contentment, and peace; that will keep you plugged in to your imagination and to the magic that you remember from your bookish childhood and that surrounds you in the real world; and that will make you feel more alive.
These activities are the opposite of “doing nothing.” (But if you were truly doing nothing? That’s perfectly okay, too! You don’t need anyone’s permission to rest.)
And they’re not selfish at all. They’re vital.
Your private, quiet me-time — whether it’s 10 minutes each day, or an entire afternoon — is, depending on your cliche of choice, how you fill your own cup. How you put your own oxygen mask on first. How you take care of yourself. And none of these activities deserve to be relegated to a few spare, leftover bits of your day. Your own well-being should never be an afterthought.
Taking care of yourself is the first, most important, step in being able to effectively take care of others, or fight injustices, or volunteer for causes you believe in, or simply live your life.
If reading for pleasure was your favorite way to relax and refuel but you gave it up along the way, and if, quite frankly, you still feel a little lost without it, now’s the time to embrace your inner book nerd, stride confidently back into the enchanted forest of your imagination, and read books you love. Read purely for the joy of savoring the words and the images they conjure. And when anyone else (or your own brain) tells you that you shouldn’t read that novel, or that you shouldn’t bother reading at all, or that you’re “not doing anything” when you read, don’t listen.
Do you know other people — especially kids — in your life who are (re)discovering a passion for reading? Help them out by not dictating what or how they should read. Everyone deserves the joy of discovering the enchanted forest (or the distant planet, foggy moor, spaceship, desert plain, or giant futuristic city) that’s awaiting them in their own imagination. And reading for fun — on their own terms — is one of the best ways to get there.