In a recent conversation with my mother, we were talking about reading. For the past few years we’ve been having conversations on and off about books. I would recommend a book or she would tell me the title she was reading and then we would have a brief discussion about it.
This gives me so much joy. Sharing this simple thing with my mother – the woman who was too busy for these small pleasures when I was growing up. I never felt like my mother gave up anything for me when I was growing up, but after I’d grown up enough to hear a few stories, I was able to stitch together a quilt of the past.
Like every other young woman, she had dreams – dreams that had to be altered once I came into the picture, dreams that were put on hold as she helped my father build his dreams, dreams that seemed too far away when I started growing up, dreams that became memories…not regrets. Talking to her now, she says she doesn’t regret anything and I believe her, but I also feel like I robbed her of having a full life – after-all, she could have had it all. She believes she did have it all, and still does … but we agree to disagree on that point.
Forming habits as an adult
My mother has always been a no nonsense woman, a woman of discipline, a woman who was (and still is) not afraid to dole out some tough love. Looking back at these childhood moments it all makes sense, but in the moment it felt too harsh. But, she was doing what she believed she had to do to raise a strong-willed daughter who could do anything, and everything … including have those dreams and make them a reality.
So, talking about books with my mother is a real delight. Because, it wasn’t until she retired that she allowed herself these seemingly simple pleasures of picking up a book and reading it to completion. It’s a habit that takes some time to break in. Sitting in one place and reading a book for more than 20 minutes takes practice, especially when you have a wondering mind like my mother’s – she’s always thinking about that one thing she didn’t clean or those clothes she needed to fold or maybe she could use the time to get dinner going.
You may feel guilty, if you have a family or other dependents when you want to carve out time for reading. It may take you months to read a book (like it took mommy to read Becoming by Michelle Obama), but you should do it anyway. Just like everything else you want to do in life, getting into a habit of reading takes time, but it is the surest way to increase your capacity and expand your horizons.
The only guaranteed way to level up
Reading is the only guaranteed way for you to level up. You might be thinking that you’ should only read self-help books if you want to be better and achieve more, but that’s really not the case. Even reading the news (as depressing as it can be sometimes) will eventually increase your capacity and lead to levelling up. I would suggest a little news, a few novels and then throwing in some self-help books for some razzle dazzle!
Check out the related post below for some book-ish ideas, or just follow our account on Instagram (there’s an Instagram stories highlight dedicated to book recommendations #theBookNook plus we’re always talking about books in Instagramstories)..
The benefits of reading
If you’re not convinced that reading can make a world of difference then, just do a Google search. Type in “reading” in the search bar and you’ll see all the benefits that come up, including “reading improves brain function”. But, don’t just take my word for it, nor the highly searched Google keywords – a study conducted by the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, found that mental stimulation – like reading – can help protect memory and thinking skills, especially with age. “The [researchers] report that the findings suggest that reading every day can slow down late-life cognitive decline, keeping brains healthier and higher functioning for longer” (source).
In essence, reading can make you live longer as it improves overall mental flexibility. Open a book, open your mind, and you could possibly extend your life.
If you need anymore book recommendations listen to this podcast episode on which books to read whether you’re having a big or small life crisis ⬇️