What Picking Up a Book Can Do

By Rhina Garcia

As a child, I loved books. My fascination with words and stories was a driving factor in what made me want to become a writer. As I got older, I made it my mission to ensure I glued my eyes onto a book at least once a month. However, like everybody, life got in the way.

Recently I decided to bring my love of reading back to the forefront. It started with a regular stressful weekend filled with the desire to be amazed by something creative. As I looked at my bookshelf filled with unopened books and the stack of unread New Yorker magazines, I decided it was time to immerse myself into those worlds again.

It wasn’t easy, as it became hard to find the time in between school and work and trying to maintain a social life, but I knew that reading will bestow a sense of calmness in the midst of the convoluted hurricane that is adulthood.  Instead of going on Instagram or Twitter when I was bored, I would pick up my book. Instead of putting in my headphones during my half hour bus ride to campus, I would try to get through as many pages as I could. Instead of becoming a slave to Netflix until my brain couldn’t take it, I would fix my eyes onto the pages of my book until they shut into a deep slumber.

As it turns out, the affirmation of a beautifully crafted written piece of work was what I needed to make it through the week. My own sense of dread — whether it was related to school work or the casual existential dread that occasionally plagues my millennial mind — diminished at the hands of whatever I was reading that day. Whether it was a brilliant work of fiction or a moving personal essay or an informative article, I became smarter, brighter and more alert. I learned words I never heard before and I garnered perspectives that I otherwise wouldn’t know about. The power of words is truly magical, and reading will give you a sense of belonging that can often get lost in the midst of the craziness that is life.

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