The single biggest influence in my life to date has been, without a doubt, reading.
Books – the Chalet School, Famous Five, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew – make up some of my earliest childhood memories. In summer, when I would be sent to bed when it was still light outside, I’d pull out a book once my door was shut and devour as many chapters as I could before dark set in.
I can honestly say I’ve learned almost everything in life through reading, starting with books, then moving on to magazines and blogs.
I learned about friendships, and romantic relationships, and what I should expect from them. Most of it was poor, and inaccurate, but there were certainly nuggets of wisdom among the chaff.
I learned about work, and careers, and formed my own opinions on what’s right for me and what most of us can realistically expect from adult life.
I’ve learned about writing, reporting, and later blogging, and if it weren’t for reading, I don’t see how I could ever have decided I wanted to become a writer myself.
I’ve learned about location independence, long term travel, solopreneurship and alternatives to the traditional life trajectory.
It makes me sad when people tell me they don’t like to read. I love the written word more passionately than almost anything in the world, so I take this almost as a personal insult. Books have opened up so many worlds to me, and that joy is something I wish for everyone else.
Literacy is a wonderful thing.
(Last year’s Valentine’s post // And one from the year before)