Once upon a time, there was a little girl who got in trouble for staying up past her bedtime and reading with a flashlight under her covers. She devoured chapter books daily and was a reading machine.
Then she went to college and began reading books because she had to. There were so many required readings that she lost time to read for pleasure. When she finally had time to herself, she flipped on Netflix instead of reaching for the novel she was aching to read.
Television isn’t evil. It provides a service of instant gratification, and sometimes that’s nice. The problem is when people get used to watching it frequently, it’s difficult to give up — even for lifelong bibliophiles.
I didn’t realize how much I missed my books until recently.
I received an e-reader for Christmas this year and immediately purchased five books. For the next two weeks, I hardly turned on my television and devoured four of the novels.
At one point I spent eight hours curled up in my favorite chair, determined not to stop reading until I’d finished one of the books.
When I finally got up my back creaked, my shoulders ached and my legs had that horrible tingling sensation a limb gets when feeling is restored. All I could do was smile.
What I’ve missed more than anything is the feeling of being so immersed in a fictional world that I have to physically pull myself out of it. Movies and television can never truly accomplish that, since they show you everything rather than let you imagine it yourself.
Classes are in full swing again, and I’ve gone back to watching television every night before bed instead of reading. That fifth book is just sitting on my e-reader, collecting metaphorical dust.
I’m unhappy again, but it’s so much easier to put in a “Game of Thrones” DVD than read the book series the show is based on. It takes less time and effort.
TV time isn’t bad, but when we give up on something we love almost entirely for the sake of instant entertainment, it becomes lazy. If I’d rather wait for HBO to start airing the new season of “Game of Thrones” than read the third book now to fulfill my curiosity, then I’m lazy.
So if you’re like me and you’ve turned to television to fill a void in your life, stop. If you used to enjoy running and miss it, go back to it. If you miss working on cars or building things, start building. And if reading a book about wizards and faraway places made you smile, read about them again. Smile again.
Because if you have time to watch TV, you’ve got time to make yourself happy too.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to read that last book on my e-reader.