Rising from the Slump
Updated: Sep 28, 2021
Hey there, bookworm 🥳
I'm Kriz, a hospital pharmacist with varying duty time shifts, who loves to read and draft reviews and bookish-related articles from time to time.
It feels surreal that I've successfully established this blog to express my love for books and anything that comes with it. Never had I imagined that sharing my thoughts to strangers in the wide web would be possible, as I do not like being pried on. The decision to start blogging and reviewing books came as a surprise to me as they were never in my list of hobbies --- that was until the pandemic happened.
I always thought that working as an adult left no room for side activities such as this; but staying and spending more time at home helped discover this "artistic" side of mine, as a way to cope from the bleakness and anxiety incited by the worldwide lockdown.
Stepping back into the world of reading felt like treading on new yet familiar ground. Looking back, the demands that I had to meet in pharmacy school impeded my reading habits --- a hobby that I used to have so much time for back then. Picking up a random book would mean giving up time for studying and I couldn't risk that, most especially when professional subjects were involved. Not that I didn't have time to read any book at all, but it was rare for me to have consistent read-a-thons at a fast pace. Add to that, board exams, work, and adulting continued to delay any chance of collecting and reading more books.
The cycle went on until I was losing my appetite for my favorite hobby. It felt discouraging to visit bookstores and see how I wasn't familiar with the best-selling books sitting on the center table when I used to be knowledgeable of them. I tried to force myself into reading because I didn't want to lose one of the biggest influences that shaped me as a person, but for some reason, I just couldn't get past the first chapters of the books I'd read before dozing off. I thought I was probably reading the wrong books, so I tried and explored varying genres to keep me back on track, yet still, I couldn't escape the slump.
It was frustrating to accept that I wasn't the passionate bookworm that I once was, hence I vented out that frustration into a different medium of art. Going through the longest reading slump made me turn to streaming films and tv shows --- a hobby that I still love and am passionate about. With my newly found love, I neglected my bookshelf and left my books to collect dust, shutting close the multiple worlds stored in the literary pieces they held.
The slump went on for almost 2 years until the pandemic happened. Ironic, that just when it felt like the world was on the edge of an apocalypse, a spark of interest for picking up a book was at bay. I tried to ignore that nagging itch to buy and read one, but adjusting and working on a skeletal schedule of 10 to 14 hours, and spending more days at home while taking care of an ailing mother, were mentally and physically draining that I needed a stress-reliever other than just bingeing films and shows.
So I gave reading another shot. I browsed through Goodreads and looked for possible books that would interest me, made a reading list out of it, and decided to start on a book that would tap on nostalgia, hoping that it triggers my past habit of reading; this was none other than one of 2020's best-selling books, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, prequel to The Hunger Games.
In the hopes of wanting to find myself back on track, Suzanne Collins and her words did not fail to pull on rusty strings that once tugged on a phantom part that considered herself as a bookworm. Though it felt like taking baby steps, I slowly found myself lost in words and immersed in a universe built from imagination. Even when books are not far from cinema, the euphoric feeling of experiencing an imaginative adventure directed and controlled only by words still remains different.
I was basking in joy that, at last, I came back to a world that felt familiar yet more diverse than it once was, with a resolution that I should not force myself to read and buy every book released out there unless it interests me; that I should read at my own pace without the pressure of feeling left behind just because everyone's reading it; that reading is not a demanding hobby nor a competition, but rather an immersive experience reserved between me and the book; and that what matters most is the quality experience that I get from it.
So here's to me and my fellow bookworms out there: if you're stuck in the slump, or you feel like you're on your way to it, don't pressure yourself. Art, in any form, stays. When you're ready, it will be there, waiting for you to explore it, regardless if you've changed, grown, and matured. It won't judge you for your absence. Who knows, maybe like me, you'd come back with more than just the pleasure of reading, but with a passion project on the way as well.