What was the first word you ever managed to read by yourself?
Now, I’m not talking about basic words like “mom” or “cat” – I’m thinking more about the very first grown-up word you’ve managed to read all by yourself.
Mine was probably “облак” – in English that would mean cloud – and I may remember this because when pronounced, it’s similar to the word “бљак” which means eww.
Charming how my logic works, huh?
But I was thinking about it because of this:
Do you remember how differently you used to read back then… when you were first starting out?
First, it was letter by letter in a desperate attempt to make words out.
Then it was word by word, meticulously pronouncing and over-pronouncing every sound in it.
And the sentences – oh wow! Slowly, deliberately, as if you were reading a book on quantum physics, and not a plain school book filled with plain sentences like Mom made me a cake. (I’d really appreciate some cake now mom, thanks!)
Fast forward to the adult world and the 21st century and well… I guess the way we read has changed – and not only because we grew up.
In fact, it has changed so much, we’ve changed the way we write!
Think about it – we don’t read anymore, we just… scroll.
You merely skim whatever page you’re on (book or website), jumping from one paragraph to the next, scanning it to get whatever information you need as quickly as possible.
If I even try writing paragraphs that have more than three or four lines of text within, you’d probably turn off my post because, duh – who has time for that?!
Though in all fairness, blocks of texts are difficult for reading on a screen… but we were more diligent with our reading before.
We have our brains full of lololols and kks – yes, not proud of the fact that I’m part of a generation that managed to shorten the OK furthermore – but I’m afraid we’ve lost our patience when it comes to reading.
I mean, we read – but not quite as our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents did.
Bombarded with the never-ending notifications that trigger us at least three times per hour, our brains can’t stay focused long enough.
Our attention spans are as short and as fleeting as never before – we don’t want to wait for things in life – we want everything right here and right now!
And that changes the way we write and read.
But instead of fully giving in to my developing ADD, I realized there’s something simple I can do to train my mind:
Go back to reading the best classics of all times.
And not because you have to write a paper on them for school!
Read Les Misérables again and see how the characters are still alive and vivid even after several centuries have passed since they might have existed.
I wonder if someone would say to one of the greatest writers of all times today – damn it, Victor, keep your descriptions shorter, your audience will get bored.
Or read the Divine Comedy all over again and find solace in the fact that you’re probably doomed no matter how you look at it – at least your friends would be there too – but let me tell you, that Dante guy knew how to write engaging content.
If you’d rather read something that doesn’t involve you or your loved ones burning in hell for eternity, read Charlotte’s web – though you may want to have a few tissues on hand near the end.
But if November and foggy nights already have you depressed enough, go on and read Pride and Prejudice – happy endings feel nice no matter what century they happen in.
Enjoy the long paragraphs and the complex sentences and the deep thoughts of the author who didn’t feel the need to apologize for them to their audience.
Relish in the pictures that words form in your head using the sole power of your imagination only, without you having to look at gifs or any other form of moving pictures.
The best novels of all times are where it all started – they helped shape society as we know it today. Without them, we wouldn’t be here uhmm… scrolling through posts and tagging each other in memes.
So read them and learn how to read all over again – slowly, deliberately, with pleasure.
But also, learn a thing or two about enjoying the little things in life – and mindful reading is definitely a good place to start.
Is there anything YOU would like me to talk about next? Share with us in the comments and I’ll make sure to include it in some of my next posts!