One of my goals in 2019 is to read more. Initially, was not sure how, or what, but I knew I wanted to spend more time reading for both learning and relaxation purposes. I have a few books, which have sat on my night table for far longer than I’d like to admit to you. But as a slight indication, I’ll admit that I have only read one book in perhaps the last 2 years. For the avid reader that is simply sinful… But I’m not an avid reader (yet!)… and many of us are not, for various reasons. For some it may seem boring, for others it may be difficult to find a topic or writer that draws enough interest… In my case, I felt as though I just never ever had the time. Because whenever I did find myself having extra time, I’d use it for any and everything non-relaxing…work…cleaning… etc.
But as we speak, I am now MAKING the time. Near the end of 2018, I was listening to a motivational speaker on youtube and he said something rather simple yet profound to me. The speaker noted that each and every day, we only have 24 hours. We can not change that. No matter how hard you try, you can’t create more time in the day. Of course, this was after I spent an hour the night before Googling “How to create more time in your day?”….The speaker explained that whist we can not create more time, we do have the power to make better decisions with our time… And there you have it, it somewhat clicked… Take ownership of your time! Now of course that is easier said than done, and it’s been a work in progress that involves better planning, saying “No”, and trying your best to keep expectations realistic.
And with that said, at the end of the year, I began making time to read. I’d read each evening, even if only for 10min. Some nights I read much longer, and of course there were nights that I don’t even look at a book…But at least the latter is not the majority. My aim is to read 1 book every 1-2 months.
By the end of January, I finally read one of the books that I’ve had for quite a while but never found the time to start. From cover page to closing “12 Years a Slave” had my full attention. This unforgettable memoir was the basis for the Academy Award-winning film 12 Years a Slave. It is the true story of Solomon Northup, born and raised as a freeman in New York. He owned a home and had a loving family – a wife and two children.
In this epic account of American history, he was one day drugged, kidnapped, and sold into slavery in the deep south – a story sadly shared by far too many as I have now come to learn. Once kidnapped, it was nearly impossible for a person to regain his or her freedom. Kidnappers usually destroyed the documents which upheld a black person’s freedom (freedom papers). In the rare instance that a case of kidnapping was made to a court, even with the papers intact, judges would dismiss them as forged. Even more heart wrenching, the kidnapped person’s family or friends were seldom permitted to testify on their behalf, as most courts did not allow the testimony of African Americans.
The book retells the accounts of Northup’s twelve gruesomely hard years as a man sold into slavery. It is an amazing account of his journey, resiliency and the desperation of the human spirit under such circumstances. And above all, it is an account of the trauma suffered by millions (men, women and children) who were subjected to the cruel system of slavery.
“12 Years a Slave” is a must read! If you’ve read this amazing memoir, let me know your review!
Will you join me next month on a book challenge? Here are a few of the acclaimed benefits to reading, many of which I can certainly testify to:
- Reduced stress levels
- Improved mental health – alleviates anxiety and depression
- Better sleep
- Improved vocabulary and articulation
- Improved concentration
- Better memory