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When You Don't Have Time To Read, You Don't Have Time To Grow

When we were little, we devoured stories. It didn't matter who you where where you came from. As a wee little one, you loved to imagine.

You might not remember — that's what happens when we get older. Sometimes, we forget about our imaginations.

Sometimes, we forget about the days when that was all we had.

Every new thing we learned was like a story to us. All of these new facts helped to fuel our imaginations.

We learned other countries existed, so that's where our stuffed animals traveled.

We learned people walked on the moon, so we and our beanie babies took trips to outer space unlike any other.

Even on the playground with friends, during something as simple as tag, we spewed out rules and facts and pretended things seemed real to us.

Everything was a grand adventure and a fantastic story. Everything was fascinating to us.

And of course, books were there, too. So many of these new things we discovered we learned from books.

We, too, went where the wild things were going, and when the little engine that could said, “I think I can,” we yelled, “Yes you can!”

We listened to these stories from the mouths of our loved ones, and alone, without a translator, we looked at the bright pictures and tried to remember what the narrator said, imagining our own versions along the way.

We had so much imagination, and books helped to illuminate it.

As we grew, the books never went away. Books for every age lined the shelves of our libraries, classrooms and bookstores, but we weren't all into reading as we grew older.

We roamed the soccer fields and slid our feet across the floors of dance studios and sometimes, we didn't have time for reading.

School always made us make time though, even if we sometimes resented it.

We still remembered everything we read, took it with us and let it continue to shape our growing imaginations.

As we grew even more, we were given more and more of a choice: to read, or not to read.

As long as we were in school, there was always reading to be done, but it wasn't a requirement in high school to read for 20 minutes every night, like it was in elementary school.

Our parents no longer had to sign off that we'd actually read.

We were responsible for doing the class readings, and with resources like SparkNotes ready at out fingertips and activities like video games to distract us, we didn't always follow through.

There was so little time and there was so much to do. We were becoming adults faster than we knew how to handle, and reading just couldn't always keep up.

There are some people who have grown into adults, who roam the streets with new ideas and potential, who don't read. There are indeed people who no longer read.

They have forgotten the imaginative days when Clifford the Big Red Dog taught us how to solve problems and think big.

They've forgotten how it felt to read Harry Potter for the first time and fly through the air on that broomstick alongside him.

They've forgotten what it feels like to escape to a world that only exists within those pages and our hearts. They've forgotten so many things.

We're all very busy; we don't always have time to read. Even book enthusiasts collect books that they never seem to get around to reading because they had to work or drink or watch “Game of Thrones.”

Even those of us who worship reading don't always make time for it.

So, what happens to us when we don't read? We lose that sense of wonder.

We stop seeing possibilities everywhere. When you're reading, a tiny snowflake could hold an entire world. Everywhere you look is a “what if?”

There are so many worlds that haven't even been written yet, and we can see them and imagine them because we are reading.

When you don't read, the possibilities are logical, not fantastical.

When you're not reading, your brain is not as active. When you're reading, your brain devours the words it is given and learns, fuels, listens.

Your brain learns to think in different ways and to see new perspectives.

It challenges itself to read things that are more difficult and to read genres that it hasn't comprehended before.

Without reading, your brain becomes stagnant. Of course, it's always learning in other ways — from media and observing the world around it —, but those things are all so visual.

Reading gives our brains only words and challenges it to come up with the rest of the picture.

When we don't read, we're not able to participate.

The news talks about a new book or an eye-opening article and you take in the summary, but how can you really form an opinion if you haven't read every word and felt the author's passion?

When we're reading, we're better informed, better able to comment and form opinions and better able to impact change.

Without reading, your opinions become broad and based solely on what everyone else thinks. You latch on to the other thinkers and forget to do it on your own.

When you're not reading, you're not connected. Real people take real hours of their valuable time to write the words that appear in books, plays, poems, articles, etc.

Behind every string of words is a person who wrote them.

When we're reading, we are saying we are open to exploring the mind of the author and to trying to understand his or her point of view.

We're showing that we are interested in what someone besides ourselves has to say.

When we don't read, we lose that connection — and human connection is the most important thing.

Reading gives us so much to talk about, discover and bond over. There is so little time, so much to do, ideas to be had and a world to save. But, despite it all, we have to make time for reading.

If we don't have time for reading, we're saying we don't have time for learning. If we don't have time for learning, we're saying we don't have time for growth.

If we don't have time for growth, we're saying we don't have time for change.

And if we don't have time for change, why are we even here?

If you've stopped reading, start again. If you've never started, the time is now. It's never too late to change your life.

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Caitlin Jill Anders

Contributor

Caitlin Jill Anders is a writer, amateur photographer (she gets Instagram “likes” sometimes), and gluten free eater. She likes green apples, pugs, Law and Order SVU marathons, whiskey, writing "about me's," and brunch.
Caitlin Jill Anders is a writer, amateur photographer (she gets Instagram “likes” sometimes), and gluten free eater. She likes green apples, pugs, Law and Order SVU marathons, whiskey, writing "about me's," and brunch.

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