Have I found a way to make reading a vice?
January 12, 2011 5:34 PM Subscribe
I used to think that reading was noble in and of itself. Now I realize that I use it as an escape. I use it to avoid doing other things. Important things. It's like a vice, but it's READING! How can that be bad?
posted by peripatetic007 to health & fitness (31 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I have a lot of things I could be doing with my time. I could be working, I could be writing, I could be working out, I could be volunteering.
Instead, I read.
The more stressed I feel, the more I abstract myself from my own activities and simply sit down and read. Just this very day, I called in sick to work and just stayed home and read a book. All day long. It was great! But now I feel terribly guilty, partly because I did it yesterday, too.
I'm not robbing banks, I'm not poking blind people with sticks, I'm not throwing kittens into acid baths. I'm not evil. But I feel like reading has become such a vice for me, such an easy escape, that I'm not living up to my potential in any respect.
I can write pretty well, and I generally get great feedback on what I've written. But I rarely write; I read.
I do well at my job, but I've discovered that I can do in 20 hours enough to make it seem like I'm working full time. Those other 20 hours? I read.
I'd love to work out more. In fact, I actually LIKE to work out. But instead of putting on my shorts and running shoes, I sit down with a glass of wine and a book. Every. Single. Night. (except when I go out with friends, which is fun but also an escape)
Any time I think about this objectively, I hate it. I always swear to myself that am very motivated to do better things with my time, and I feel like I'm too smart to be stuck in this cycle of, well, doing nothing. But when it comes down to actually taking action, it's almost as if I'm powerless in the face of the siren call of a book. Whatever is handy and un-read. Mostly novels, some contemporary fiction, some fantasy, some non-fiction. Doesn't really matter.
I would definitely appreciate any and all advice that would help me break out of this pattern. I'm always telling myself that, just this last time, I'm going to read a book. Then, tomorrow, I'll DEFINITELY go out and do something else. I feel like a smoker whose every cigarette is their last -- two packs a day for years. It makes each reading session wonderful, because it will, By God, be my last indulgence. But then it happens again the next day.