When I was a kid my dad wouldn’t let me watch TV on school nights unless all my homework was done AND it was before dinner. He’d also limit my sister and me to an hour. But I didn’t mind; I was more of a reader anyway.
I often joke that I’m probably the only kid that got in trouble for reading TOO much. (Homework? Who does that? Once I actually hid my book inside my textbook, thinking my dad wouldn’t notice… I was wrong.)
But the reason I loved reading then is the same reason I love reading now: You get to disappear into another world, another person’s mind and lose yourself. Some of the best days of my life have been ones where I just sat and read a book (or two!) cover to cover, spending the whole day in that world.
My imagination didn’t stop when I closed my book though. My sister and our friends often play-acted our favorite stories, or came up with our own world. One of my favorites was “Narbithia”: A combination of the world in “The Bridge to Tarabithia” and “The Chronicles of Narnia”. At one point we even drew Narbithia out on my friend’s driveway with chalk. It was great! And in another (nameless) world, we were witches that owned a very popular restaurant. We came up with endless scenarios that took us as far as our imaginations could take us.
I look back now and realize how much I loved playing outside, reading and basically everything but watching TV. Don’t get me wrong — I LOVED “The Rugrats” — but I loved my Nancy Drew and Animal Ark books more. And playing outside with my friends was always a blast. And when my friends and I were sitting in front of a TV we were playing video games like “Mario Party” and “Sonic the Hedgehog”… we hardly ever actually watched it.
But somewhere along the line we did start watching more TV. Probably when we thought we were too old to play act anymore. I don’t know when I started watching more TV than reading, but I think it was in high school or college; when reading meant work. And if I was reading, I should probably have been reading for class. But over the past several months I realized I don’t have that excuse any more. I don’t have class. I don’t have assigned reading. And it’s great. I’ve read more books this year (still not that many) than I have in a long time because of my free time.
But what do I usually do with that time? I use Netflix or Hulu to watch TV shows. Maybe it’s because I’m tired from work. Or I don’t have enough time to get engrossed in a novel. I don’t really know. But it makes me sad.
So I’ve decided I’m going to stop watching Netflix and Hulu by myself. I’m going to do more imaginative things with my free time. I’m going to play Magic. I’m going to play video games. I’m going to write. But mostly, I’m going to read all the books I’ve been meaning to.
And I couldn’t be more excited.
All for now,