In the spirit of academia this week...
I haven't had cable since graduating college. I didn't intentionally "cut the cord" with the thought of sending a statement to cable companies. Rather, what started as the product of a living situation evolved into a realization. Cable is a waste of my precious time. (Oh, and ridiculously expensive!)
While organizing in anticipation for my recent move (hello 80 extra sq. ft.), I came across my Grandma's old library card. It brought back memories of afternoons spent together at the Omaha Public Library on (where else but) Dodge. We would walk up and down the stacks choosing books we both knew I would never read. Ironically, her endeavors of coaxing me to open one of those books typically ended with me sitting on the couch watching the History Channel. (Everything happens for a reason...)
Like eating my vegetables, someone always had to put a book on my plate. Assigned reading and a handful of recommendations from friends, were the only books I read for years. I simply had no interest. No desire to sit and read. But something my mentor said during an internship changed everything, "I know a little about a lot of things." That simple sentence sparked a major paradigm shift in my attitude towards books.
It sparked curiosity. I've always loved learning, and I asked myself "Why does it have to stop just because I'm no longer being graded?!" I realized reading would be a way to continue my education. An education that I had the power to construct. I could choose the topic, the time, and the depth. Reading would be a way to not only pick up little knick knacks of information, but would also help improve my writing and vocabulary skills. Actually, reading has a myriad of benefits. #googled
For quick answers I still turn to Google. It's hard to beat the convenience of instantaneous results! But the Internet often skips to the middle. In a pinch that's all I need, but for the purpose of longevity, books are far better. They provide the background, and the story of how things came to be. For me, the little narrative nuggets are the best part! The stories are what keep facts lingering in my brain far past their expiration date.
While I have a penchant for non-fiction, the genres on my reading list are always changing. I think it's important to change gears from time to time and exercise different parts of the brain. Sometimes I love the escape (read: hope) a shameless chick-lit novel offers. Other times, I need a little drama to awaken my imagination. I've even wandered into the children's section to dig up the Nancy Drew series. The very titles (plus a few more) I brought home as a young girl, and left unread in favor of Modern Marvels. Twenty years later, I hope I made Grandma proud.
I'll admit there are still plenty of hours Andy Cohen and the Real Housewives steal from me, but my collection of library cards serves as a subtle reminder. Just like the trees of broccoli in the corner of my plate reminding me to eat my vegetables, the cards remind me that learning should be constant. They remind me to turn off the TV and turn on my mind. They remind me that time spent checked out with a book is never wasted. (annnd spending time being checked out by a cute boy is always good too...😉)
Dig out those cards, and get to reading my friends! I'll be busy now that I have my Library of Congress Reader Registration Card. One down, thirty-eight million titles to go...