When I finished grad school, I had this overwhelming sense of relief that I never had to read another book again. I had crossed the ‘finish line’ that was graduation and was entering the “real world”. ⠀
I thought that meant that I could turn my brain off when I left work and could spend my free time doing mindless stuff, like watching Netflix. ⠀
But after about a year of bingeing Netflix every night, I noticed a feeling of mental angst.
I realized that feeling of angst only crept in when I was alone during my free time.
I would suppress those feelings by finding distractions. I filled my weekends with partying and Netflix binges. At the moment the distractions worked in suppressing my feelings. ⠀
‘On Sunday evenings, I would feel exhausted and think about where my precious weekend had gone. That is when the mental angst would come rushing back to me.’
Finally, I decided to confront my mental angst by opening up to my cousin about my struggles. She suggested I fill some of my free time by reading a book for enjoyment. ⠀
At the time, the idea of reading for enjoyment was foreign to me. Because the only reading I had ever done was out of necessity for school. ⠀
I decided to take her advice. I read, “The Pursuit of Happiness” by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. There were no real reasons I chose this book, other than that it had a title that spoke to me, and I happen to love shoes!
This was a pivotal turning point for me, not because of the actual content.
It was pivotal because reading in my free time allowed me to cut through the mental fog and find clarity.
The more I got into the habit of reading, even a few pages a day, the more my creativity sparked, and the more I began to form a higher level of meaning and curiosity for life.
Now my favorite way to kick off the weekend is to show my body and mind some love by lounging and reading. I always get up feeling inspired, mentally nourished, and relaxed.