I can easily recall the innumerable hours in which I spent reading as a child. As a young girl who did not know enough about the world or the people within it to make friends, books were my comfort, my solitude. I would read under the covers in my bed until I could hardly keep my eyes open. I would read as I was riding in the back seat of the car, too caught up in the wild adventures in my head to notice the carsickness; I would read in my childhood playroom, leaning against the large window, rain or shine; I couldn't even keep my eyes off of my book as I was walking down the halls of school or, in the mall, or at the movies.
Each book I read was a life lesson. "Bridge to Terabithia" taught me how to be a friend; "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" helped me to learn about bravery and forging your own path; "Inkheart" showed me that the pen is more powerful than the sword, and "The Princess and the Frog" taught me that it was okay to not be perfect.
Each character I read about became a loved one to me, a close friend with whom I could empathize and find solace. Percy Jackson grew up as I did; Nick Carraway made me laugh with his small talk, and Katniss Everdeen helped me work through difficulties as I grew up.
As I grew up, reading became more than just a home to me. It became an opportunity for learning, a gateway to understanding. I had all of history and its literature at my fingertips. "Odyssey," "Iliad," "Aeneid," "Art of War," "Hamlet," "A Midsummer's Night Dream" and "Sherlock Holmes"—I simply couldn't get enough. Reading opened me to the world of politics and current events through biographies, which helped me choose my major and minor and decide what I want to do with my life.
But as school became more interactive, as classes got harder and I went to college, all of it stopped. Suddenly, I didn't have time anymore. I wanted to read, I really did. But life was overwhelming—how could I keep up my good grades, work part-time, maintain my good health, learn how to have a social life and find time to read? It just sounded impossible.
And honestly, it still does. I'm a senior in college now, and I still don't have time to read as much as I used to. I haven't picked up a book in months, and it hurts. I have piles and piles of books in my "to-read" library, because, as all bookworms know, it's impossible not to buy an interesting-looking book. I keep telling myself that soon, soon I'll have time. I'll go back to the way I was when I was a kid, making friends and learning about life within the comforts of my own home, with the smell of the book's pages whisking me away into another adventure.
Something that helps ease the pain of a busy life, however, is knowing that I'm not alone. So many of my friends feel the same way, making it known often that they miss reading, that it's been too long since they've sat down to read, that they saw a book they'd like to pick up but just didn't have the time. They, too, grew up with Percy Jackson and Katniss Everdeen and Nick Carraway. When they were in times of need or hurt, their escape was waiting for them with open arms, a plot twist, and a happy ending.
If you're reading this then there's a chance that you, too, are a bookworm that just doesn't have the time anymore. If that's the case, then take comfort in the knowledge that you aren't alone. Whether you know me or not, I can tell you that one day you'll have that chance. It could be when you're alone and realizing that Netflix just isn't the way to solve your boredom; when you're on a lunch break with some time to spare; or maybe even when you just don't have anything planned for the day.
Finally, when you have that time, that chance, to pick up the worn pages of a favorite book, or to gently open the cover of an unconquered adventure, it's going to be amazing. And I can't wait for you to experience that.