1) Read. For escape, for guidance, for comic relief or for company in grief. Read while eating lunch or breakfast. I know a woman who works a full day and has a forty minute commute: to ensure she has time to read, she wakes extra early every single morning and has a leisurely cup of coffee while reading. My oldest sister reads while blow-drying her hair. My mother reads in the bath.
The year I read a book a day was one of the most joyous and yet peaceful years of my life, not only because of the reading but because of the time I made for my reading: scheduled, focused, don’t-mess-with-me time. Now that my year of intense reading is over, the habits of daily reading continue: books are on my kitchen counter, right by the bread box and peanut butter, and I always carry a book with me in my bag for when I’m stuck waiting somewhere.
After dinner, I skip Facebook updates and NCIS reruns for the joy of sitting down and reading. The best moments ever are when one of my kids sits down beside me with a book and then the cats join us. Even if it is only for thirty minutes a day, reading is therapy and recuperation is its reward.
2) Talk. With no purpose other than to share a funny story or hear how someone else’s day went. What you will find is connection and escape, all around you. I had thought the year I read a book a day would be a very solitary year for me, time spent sitting in a chair and reading, with little interaction with the outside world. I was so wrong! Any time I wasn’t reading, I was talking — to friends, my kids, the neighbors, the neighbors’ kids — about everything! My curiosity about the world around me grew, fed by all the great stuff I was reading.
If such interesting people existed on paper, surely they were all around me. And you know what? They were. Once I made the time to really talk to people and ask about their thoughts or activities or dreams, I found so much that I shared with them or I was offered brand-new experiences, events that became my own for the sharing.
Talking is like reading, finding the connection through sharing, but with friends, not authors and characters. And like reading, by talking with others I can be taken outside of my own whirling world of thoughts and brought to a special place with another person.
Next: Walk and Write