I love to read. Since I was a small girl, I’ve taken a book with me everywhere I go. If there was the possibility that I might have waiting time, I had my book ready and waiting to spare me from any boredom as I was taken into the world of “whatever” for the few minutes I would wait. LOL…There were even times when I wished for more waiting time so I could finish a particularly interesting section.
When I read, I become immersed in the story. I escape into the mystery of “who done it” and follow the trail to the next clue cheering along with the good guys and hoping the bad will “get theirs.” During a week’s vacation, I would devour 5-6 novels sitting for hours at the poolside or in the condo totally relaxing with my imaginary friends.
This year when I went on vacation, I didn’t even take a book.
I used to watch a lot of television when I wasn’t reading. I don’t watch television anymore either; at least not to sit down and actually watch a show in one sitting. I do record movies or programs and watch them as I feed Lynn but other than that, I don’t have time for TV. With television, you have to see so much of the action to know what’s really happening and I usually have my back to the television cutting, cooking, cleaning, or caring.
Of all the things I’ve given up though, I think reading is the one I miss the most. A quiet corner with a cup of coffee or tea beside me, maybe a snack as well, sitting with my legs curled under me and a blanket over my knees while I escape into an alternate reality. Ahhhh…That’s my idea of relaxation.
But those opportunities are no longer available.
Now, every waking minute of every day is filled with either working, catching up on work I couldn’t do during normal business hours, caring for Lynn, making meals to have on hand, ordering supplies, helping Lynn with his writing (he’s become an author since he can no longer do physical labor. See book cover above.), laundry, grocery shopping, etc, etc, etc. There is literally not a 15-minute period all day that is “downtime”…unless you count when I’m asleep or in the bathroom. Those however are essential bodily functions so I consider that as part of the workday.
So how do I cope with having no leisure time? I listen to books instead of reading them! I’ve discovered that I can borrow an audiobook from the library for three weeks and read it whenever I’m working in the kitchen or driving to/from work. Books describe what’s happening to the characters, their emotions, thoughts, and the action taking place, about to take place, or which has already occurred. With an audiobook, I can still enjoy my favorite leisure time activity even though I’m not having leisure time. Plus, I think about the story and not about the challenges of my job or caregiving. It’s a great escape for me.
I think having some form of escape is essential when your life is so packed with responsibilities. It’s often difficult to find any “me time.” Listening to a book gives me back my favorite pastime and allows me those moments of escape that are so essential to my mental health.
In fact…..I need to get back to London now. I think Margaret is about to disclose that Roger is the one who killed Jasmine. … or could it be the Major???