So much of who I am revolves around my love of books. In a way, it’s a major part of my identity (Steph The Bookworm, anyone?). My love of books led me to my career path as a public librarian, and my huge home library is a major consideration in any future home purchase or move. For real. My whole family and I want to move out to a more rural area in a couple of years, and an extra room for my library is not only a wishlist item but a requirement for any future home we buy (and yes, our current home has that extra library room, don’t you worry). When I said I wanted 2,000 square feet and my dad wondered why, I was quick with the answer!
What happens then, when for whatever reason or season you’re in, reading falls to the wayside? Right now, I am utterly exhausted. I remember fatigue in my first pregnancy with Caleb, but it was nowhere near as bad as it is now. Perhaps that’s because I was only working part time and NOT wrangling a toddler, where now I work full time and wrangle a toddler? Perhaps it’s just different symptoms? Regardless, I get home from work and have the desire to do absolutely nothing but sit, lie down, and sleep. Many nights, I find myself in bed right after I put Caleb down at 7:30. Reading requires energy and focus or you’ll get lost and confused and end up having to just re-read the lines you just finished reading.
I get asked the question of how I find time to read quite often, and it’s actually a little bit offensive, much like it is when people tell me they simply don’t have time to read. Well… sure you do! You’re just using your time on other things and hobbies: TV, video games, working out, sewing, etc. It’s a simple answer: we make time for the things we prioritize. These people are just prioritizing other interests and hobbies over reading, and that’s totally fine! But maybe I should turn the question around on them next time and ask, “well, how do you find the time to watch TV?” (I’m a big fan of TV, by the way. I mean no harm.)
My reading time has been in short supply ever since becoming a mother, and the bulk of my reading gets done in bed at night after I put Caleb to bed. After he was a few months old, I got back into a reading groove, and have managed to get through 2-3 books a month since, consumed primarily at night. Lately though, I’ve been too exhausted at night to read much of anything at all. Maybe a few pages here and there, and then it’s lights out. It’s still not a lack of time for me though, it’s a lack of energy.
My current state of exhaustion and lack of energy is spilling over into all aspects of life right now: I’m going out less, I’m no longer grocery shopping in the evenings and wait for the weekend instead, I’m trying to push myself to get to the gym, I’m super behind on my blog reading, I’m staying home more and more in favor of an early bedtime. I know it’s temporary, and I’m NOT complaining, but it’s hard to feel like yourself when you can’t quite do the things you love to do.
When I don’t read, I feel a little lost, maybe a little empty. I feel like I’m floating around missing a giant piece of the puzzle that is me. I miss getting lost in a story and throwing my real world troubles away for a while. I miss connecting to other people, even if they’re only characters in a story. I don’t quite know who I am without books. I mean… I’m a wife, and a mom, and a librarian… but these are all roles that I’m in, me as I pertain to other people. What about just ME? I know those things are so, so important. Being a mom is the best thing I’ve done… but what about me as my own person? What about my interests and passions and hobbies?
I know soon enough the exhaustion will lift and I’ll get some of my old mojo back. I’ll feel like me again, instead of just a car running on E. Until then, I’ll keep chipping away, a few pages at a time, so that I never lose sight of who I really am.