I am, believe it or not, re-learning how to read. Not because I cannot read; but because I’ve been so busy being busy, and running as fast as my little long legs can carry me, that I’ve forgotten what it means to slow down and take time to read printed words on a paper page, and to absorb them, value them, and consider the thoughts and ideas behind them for myself and in my own space.
In our lives, we are inundated with snippets of information, fast facts, and 140 characters of meaninglessness coming at us from every direction, 24 hours a day. Many of us have lost the ability to slow down and connect with meaningful thoughts and ideas around us. Thanks to social media, we can’t get away from the information on the super highway known as ‘the Internet’. And while this affords us an unbelievable amount of access to information, it has degraded our ability to slow down and think for ourselves around what is true and what is worth our time.
I started my goal of re-learning how to read in January of this year. It was hard! I sat down, grabbed a book, and began flipping through it before I even realized that I was doing. I was treating it like a blog feed; jumping through it to get to the next detail. I felt like the story wasn’t moving fast enough for what I was accustomed to; the pages weren’t jumping out at me like text on a Facebook page or Twitter account. It was almost like I had a nervous tick for the first few weeks when I started to read; I could barely stand myself to sit still and read a story that crawled along, developing mysterious imagery through my imagination using beautifully written poetry and prose.
So what am I learning as I learn to re-read? I’m learning that the ability to slow down is priceless and is one that I lost once and that I need to try hard not to lose again. I don’t know how many times I can force myself to re-learn to read before the damage is done and the ability to re-learn is lost.