When people ask me what I do for fun, I always list reading. Keep in mind that the others do not exceed five and they are seemingly boring things. I love books or should I say storytelling. I have been reading as far back as I can remember and I have been writing stories since 7 (a story for another day).
I love the escape a book gives, the joy of developing with the characters. I love it when I read a book and cry and laugh. I love the suspense, sadness over a particular character or scene and staying up late to imagine alternative ways the book should have ended. I also love reading because of curiosity, because I feel a book holds more.
When people binge eat, I binge read. I will pick a particular genre and keep reading books of that genre. The only place my mom doesn’t trust me with money is in a bookshop. I don’t even trust myself because it is until I finish reading the book I bought I realize that the money was meant for something else. It has gotten so bad that before I watch a movie, I have to read something about it either the book it was adapted from or a summary of the movie or most times when I visit a person, I have the ulterior motive of borrowing the person’s book.
My best friend Valentina also loves books but unlike me, she has a social life. A life that exists outside the books she reads and she doesn’t get fixated on the characters. Before she left Nigeria, she indulged my obsession because since she could meet different people she would exchange books with them and I get to read.
However, we would fight about my lack of social life, how I only make friends with my textbooks and fictional characters. Unlike before, being so far away has taken away her habit of coming to my house and dragging me out. So when we talk I just keep reminding her that I’m an ambivert, I don’t necessarily need to go out and meet new people for fun.
So recently I reconnected with a friend who has lately been a pain in my ass. Showing me in very annoying ways how I have ceased to live. While reading all those books and fixating on them, I have subconsciously created a bucket list of places I want to travel to and want to do. But since I could escape with books, I have given excuses to myself and people who love me. I have always loved travelling but since I could travel through books, and with the world becoming more unsafe I just pushed it aside.
I’m not apologetic about being a bibliophile and what tops my bucket list is to read and own a large number of books. However, I want to start doing things on my list, explore like the characters in the books I read. They don’t have to happen at once or be over the top. I want to start by visiting galleries, having the courage to cook strange recipes I come up with and reading a book I’m currently obsessed with on a boat.
Life is too short and the world is becoming scarier but I don’t want to wake one day and realise I didn’t do things I wanted to because of fear. Instead of procrastinating and then running to read because I have nothing else to do, I want to do other things I love and stop being so afraid. I’m not writing out my bucket list because it is a long list, it is evolving and I don’t want to reveal all of the things on it. So thanks to my friend for making it a mission to constantly remind of me of other things I love. While I’m still shamelessly a bibliophile, I have started including other things so I don’t merely exist through books.