My final motivation for reading is the purpose and belonging it provides me. As a kid, I didn’t really fit in most places. I grew up in a rural area, and the most common hobbies for boys were sports and hunting. I am horribly uncoordinated. So, sports were out, and I didn’t have the interest or patience for hunting. I was often bullied or teased for my lack of interest in the most commonly practiced activities and had few friends as a result. It also didn’t help that I was, and still am, incredibly socially awkward. Books and reading gave me something to be good at and a place to belong. I would often volunteer in the school library, and it helped me meet other people who had some similar interests. This continued as I grew up, and my interest in particular books or series helped me gain some friends and a sense of community. It also gave me something to talk about easily, which has helped with some of my social awkwardness, as well.
As I’ve entered into a new phase of life, reading has once again taken center stage in providing purpose and belonging. I recently survived cancer, which resulted in me losing one of my lungs. One month after the surgery that took my lung, the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns started happening. In order to stay healthy, I’ve been mostly isolated for the last year and a half. I stopped working full-time and quit my PhD program because I didn’t want to get sick and things just were not the same after my leave of absence due to illness. For a while, I felt lost and didn’t know what to do with myself or all of my new free time. I started reading and getting books from the library, and it has snowballed to reading more books than ever and joining the awesome book blogging community. I have interacted with more people in the last few months than I have in the last several years, and it has been a lot of fun. I look forward to seeing where this rekindled passion will take me in the future.
Why do you read? Does it give you a sense of purpose? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to get to know you!