I wake up every morning with the intention of living the day as if it were my last. Yet despite my efforts, I find myself falling back into tiresome routines and wasteful habits. I like to think that each effort brings me closer to a life worth living, and a legacy I would be proud to leave behind. Each attempt to utilize my time, maximize my efficiency, and be the best version of myself, is one step closer to my idealized life. I think? Or at least I like to think so.
The complexities of life routinely wash over me; reminding me that despite my efforts, I am biologically incapable of grasping the fundamental truths of my existence in order to alter my course in life outside of an emotional or perceived fashion. No matter how hard I try, this life will end. No matter how intelligent, wealthy, generous, and loving I become, my entire reality will come to an end. Nobody can escape death.
The fear of not leaving our mark on this world drives us to make the most of our time. We want to have an impact on our fellow humans, and to make this world a better place before we leave it. Well, most of us anyway. How noble. I suppose that is the reason that civilizations continue to arise: a concentrated effort as a society to make “progress.” Although our lives may be cut short at any moment, we strive to make the very best of our limited time on earth, and I suppose that is what helps us make it through each day, and our species to survive as a whole.
Since December 14th, 2017 I have read 16 books. While this number is nothing extraordinary, and nor am I boasting nor bragging, I must admit that the actions have produced their desired results. Each book has altered my perspective; some more so than others. The way I view the world has been changed each and every time I snap the spine shut of my latest literary endeavor.
Circumstances and characters, of which I would never experience in my own life, massage my brain with their respective stories. Their emotions flood my mind, and their trials and tribulations rattle my heart of hearts. They allow me to vicariously experience their lives, and in doing so, allow me to distance myself from the mundane normalcy of daily life, and experience it as though it differs vastly from the life I have just experienced before laying my head down to sleep.
What would this character do in this situation? Aren’t I lucky comparatively? Can you imagine having those resources? I wonder what it’s like being so intelligent, or conversely, so ignorant? Questions I mull over for days and even weeks. Each book slides a lens over my reality which adds not only clarity but also a detachment from the seriousness. My life story is not the only one that is continually unraveling. I am not the center of the universe.
Books allow people to subconsciously experience a parallel universe, and in turn, consciously analyze and pull what is necessary to help them navigate their personal reality. In my eyes, they are more powerful than any drug, weapon, or meditative practice. They are rivaled only by dreams in terms of their scope and creativity but given the erratic and spontaneous nature of dreams, books are a much more consistent and pleasurable experience.