Ever since I changed medications back in March I gradually started reading more. For several months before I changed my psych medications I had little interest in reading. I had gotten rid of some of my books. I still had several hundred ebooks and I kept my books I wanted to reread. But I hadn’t been reading much for a long time. I had just lost interest in reading. I was watching a lot of educational videos on youtube and netflix.
Now it was quite unusual for me to lose interest in reading. I have known how to read even from my earliest memories. I didn’t have to be encouraged to read as the village library was a second home to me. While most of the neighborhood kids were playing basketball or throwing around the football during our summer afternoons, I was spending my time at the library. I never really did like fantasy books or get too much into fiction. But I absolutely loved books about different animals, different plants, different nations, and the high achievers of history. Reading so much nonfiction during my summers off from school really helped me in my classes once school started. Sometimes I would read ahead in the textbooks because I wanted to know what would be covered next. I read ahead especially in science and history books. I didn’t have to be encouraged to read. I had to be forced to put down the books and get physical activity with the neighborhood kids from even an early age.
I read because I thought learning something new was entertainment. It actually makes me feel good physically to learn new things. Reading a good book and learning new ideas gives me a high that no booze, money, or woman could possibly give me. I know I’m weird for loving learning, at least I’m weird in my culture. But I certainly wouldn’t want to ever be where I couldn’t read. That’s why I would prefer to go hard of hearing rather than lose my eye site. It’s sad that not very many people continue their education after high school or college. For me that’s when my self education really took off. I’ve learned more history, economics, philosophy, biology, chemistry, and literature since graduating college than I did when I was in school. Being in school laid the foundation but my love of reading took it to levels that not many achieve on their own. I would rather read a book than go to a nightclub. I have always been that way.
I know some people think they were born in the wrong era and would have been happier in medieval times or in the old west. I don’t look to the past like that even though history was one of my best subjects in high school. Part of me wonders at what excellent things my five year old nephew will see in his lifetime should he live to be in his late nineties like my grandmother. I think about some of the changes she saw just in her lifetime. She went from being in awe of Henry Ford’s automobile to having a Facebook account that she used to keep up with friends and family. She didn’t even have indoor plumbing in her house until after she was married. My grandfather used to trade in his car after it had over 50,000 miles because it was wearing out. Now a car can last much longer even with minimal maintenance. My five year old nephew will never know a world before the internet or basic automation. He will never know a world where we didn’t know the human genome. He will probably never own a music CD. If self driving cars gain wide spread acceptance, he might not even need to own a car or even have a driver’s license. I can’t imagine what he will see in his lifetime, let alone his children’s lifetime. For me things have gotten really interesting just in the last twenty five years. I wouldn’t want to live in the past. I would be even more ridiculed in the old west because of my reading. I would have been burned at the stake as a heretic in medieval times. I would have been a terrible hunter in the Ice Ages. My only hope then would have to become the tribal medicine man providing I didn’t kill myself from doing experiments with poisoned plants and mushrooms. In short I love learning and seeing advances. I love seeing the advances I have seen just since I was old enough to pay attention thirty years ago. I can hardly wait to see what advances come by the time even I’m an old man. It’s things like these advances and seeing people becoming less accepting of violence, sexism, bigotry, and cruelty that give me hope for the future of my species.