Part of speech: n
Definition: a fundamental change in approach or assumptions
The most unfortunate thing happened to me when I was 43. I got a divorce. In most ways the divorce turned out to be a good thing. The unfortunate thing was the timing, because it fell smack-dab in the middle of the years when a woman enters THE CHANGE.
Because of the combination of these two majorly defining events, I've never been able to decide if I lost my mind because of the divorce or through the gradual loss of my womanly hormones (I never would have called them this when I was young, but now I know.....they were my best friends).
The thing I do know is that somewhere along the way, I stopped reading for pleasure. Beginning with The Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew, I had been a voracious reader from the time I was in the third or fourth grade onward. I devoured every book I came across. When visiting at other kids homes, I read their books while they played. From the time I was ten, I walked to the library by myself and returned home with the five books they allowed (my local library was miserly with the number of books they let children check out).
In my twenties and thirties, I read historical novels, trashy novels, biographies, true crime stories, best sellers, mystery stories, long books, short books, children's books, non-fiction books and how-to fix myself books. I read a couple of books a week, maybe more. And magazines and newspapers....I read them from cover to cover.
One of the things my ex disliked about me (and there were plenty) was the fact that I read so much. He thought I should be doing more productive activities. One thing I will never forget he said to me near the end of our marriage was, "you're a smart person...too bad you had to read so many books to get that way." My mind boggles to this day when I think of how much that statement says about him, not me.
But sometime during the decade of my forties, I lost the concentration needed to stick with a book until the end. The paradigm shift was so profound it left me without an escape from reality or an effective way to decompress after a trying day or the ability to feed my needy soul. It added much to the overwhelming changes that I went through during that ten year span.
After 26 years, I had to learn how not to be a wife. I started college. I got my first job outside the home in 25 years. I watched my children leave the nest. I learned how to live alone. (but I've never learned how to cook for one...when I cook, no matter what I do, it always turns into enough to feed six people)
I missed reading so much until I thought of listening to audio books. For at least eight years that's how I've ingested most of the books I've read, with maybe one or two exceptions each year. Slowly, slowly over the past year or so, I've started reading before sleeping once again.
So, all of this explanation to ask those of my readers who are of a certain age.....have you experienced anything like this phenomenon? I'm wondering was it going through THE CHANGE that started the loss? Was it a chemical imbalance due to depression brought on by the major life changes I experienced? Or could it have merely been the fact that my eyesight was changing and I simply couldn't see the page as well anymore? (I still concentrate on reading better once my contacts are out and I am able to hold the book inches from my myopic eyes....hence my enjoyment of reading in bed.)
Maybe I'll never know why, but I am happy to think that perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe I will be a voracious reader again one day. Maybe I will feel like my former smart informed self once again.
Maybe there is a better paradigm shift waiting for me in the future.