I love to read, but in the last few years, problems have arisen.
My vision is not what it once was; I now need bright light to read by. That has pretty much eliminated reading in the bathtub, as the bathroom light fixture cannot handle a bulb brighter than 60 watts. Sometimes I still try, as reading in the bathtub used to bring me great enjoyment. The awkward position that I have to hold to get the book in the light and my face close to the page takes the relaxation aspect out of the experience. Squinting at a page in dim light while sitting waist-deep in a tub of cooling water is not the grand indulgence that reading in the bathtub used to be.
Reading in bed is another pleasure gone now by the wayside. The bedside lamp is bright enough, when it is directed at the page. If I change my position, though, I have to also redirect the lamp. I can’t hold one position for long. Whichever elbow I’m using to prop myself up gets tired and sore. My old back is not as limber as it once was, and I feel the strain after just a few moments. When I need to roll over to the other side, I have to sit up to reach the lamp, to redirect its light. I also have to readjust two small dogs that have settled in beside me. It doesn’t seem worth the trouble. I’m usually too tired to read more than a page or two before bed, anyway.
When I get a chance to have lunch in a restaurant, a book is my chosen companion. With the cost of of eating out these days, that’s a rare thing. I pack a lunch on days that I work, and rarely get more than a few uninterrupted minutes to eat it. I’ve quit trying to read at that time.
Used to be, summer was a time for reading on the beach. I always had a blanket and a good book at the ready, for any opportunity. There are books whose re-reading conjures up memories of warm sun, sand, and the sound of the waves, as that is where I first opened the pages. Now, summers seem way too busy for that. My hours at work are long; I have dogs at home waiting for me. This last summer, I think I only made it to the beach once, and that was when I had company.
At home, I used to sit in my comfortable armchair with a good book, for hours at a time. I’m sorry to note that the straight-backed chair I’m sitting on now has replaced the armchair. The computer, with its easy access to friends and family, news, and mindless entertainment has taken over many of the hours that I used to spend reading.
Last winter, having acquired a small handheld computer, I downloaded a program that allows me to listen to books. Other things, too! I am working my way through a series of guided meditations. My morning walk has become “intense walking with jogging intervals” thanks to Jamie, the trainer who speaks to me through the earbuds. She believes she’s building me up to a full out run in the series of twenty workouts, but I’ve got her fooled.
After nearly collapsing with exhaustion on Workout #13, I decided to take control. I repeat Workouts #1 (eighteen minutes of walking and speed walking, with 3 thirty-second jogs thrown in), #2 (more of the same, with longer jogging segments), and #7 (thirty minutes of intervals: walking for two minutes, jogging for one), depending on the time and energy I have. In-between lessons involve strength training and stretching; I do those inside, in the evening. I plan to eventually get all the way through her program…but on my own terms!
The books, though! My evening walk, which goes at a more relaxed pace than the morning workout, is also reading time. For about forty-five minutes, as the dogs and I wind our way down trails through the woods, someone is reading to me! I’ve finished several books this way! Currently, I’m listening to Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S, Dweck, and I have several other books waiting. So far, I find non-fiction more suitable than fiction in this format, and, of course, the reader’s voice influences the entire experience. Still, for my life right now, this is wonderful. I am thoroughly enjoying having someone read to me!