Don’t get me wrong- I love reading. If you are on Good Reads (FB for books) you may have set a New Year’s goal. I committed to 30 books this year. I am always reading 2 on my Kindle- one fiction and one professional and listening to one in my car. Now that my kids are big, I actually have a fair amount of time to read and it is my favorite introverted past time. Well… I just finished book #20. Way ahead of schedule…might need a more ambitious goal.
Reading is where I feel confident and safe. Reading gives me experiences I could never have and introduces me to people I could never know. It is not however, real life. It is intellect. It is cerebral. It never argues with me or makes me too uncomfortable.
When we want to know ourselves or understand our relationships or learn to be better parents, there are so many “experts” who will share words with us. New ideas can inform and inspire us, if you are open minded you can even be challenged by a good author.
My dad was a banker who wanted us all to inherit his frugal nature and wise money choices. I think that might be a recessive trait- I sure didn’t get it. I understand money- intellectually. Money just isn’t an intellectual issue for me- it is an emotional one. I have spent a lot of money through the years trying to “fix” my issues with money. (Ironic, huh?) Finally I had to admit that this was not a math problem. The answer, in all the books is spend less, save more, be intentional. The answer I was looking for was why is it so damn hard for me to do that.
We have struggles with our kids, with our partners, with our self worth that need to be addressed. Parenting books have great suggestions, as long as you’re not already freaking out and can’t remember anything you have ever read other than that freaking out isn’t good for kids. Sometimes books help. Sometimes we are hiding there. Sometimes we are seeking answers we already have. Sometimes we need more reflecting, more feeling, more accountability. (Ok- more irony… this is you reading me telling you stuff you already know.)
Check yourself. Maybe just check your bookshelf. What are you seeking? Are there people in your life who might be more valuable to you than an “expert”? If you don’t have those people, why not? Where do you get some new, insightful, wise people who can push you to grow or see things differently? (hint…hint… I know some great therapists…) Beware of looking for intellectual answers to the biggest questions in life. Those lessons are best learned in the playing field of life- Relationships. Get dirty. Play. Ask questions. Make mistakes. Have conversations. Reflect. Dance.