One of the things that I like about reading is the ability it gives me to leave 'me' behind and enter, fully, into the life of another. I like being pulled out of my life and times into the life and times of another. It gives such relief from the day to day toil of being 'me' and having 'my' concerns, troubles and woes. There is never a time where I don't have a book on the go, never a day that passes where I don't hunker down for minutes or hours deeply enmeshed in the story of another.
When I was much, much, younger. I sometimes found that closing a book, coming back to real time and real life was a difficult transition. I didn't want to leave the world of the imaginary and have to face the fearsome ordinary. As a much younger man, I wanted to be a much different man. I felt relief from my longing to be a different different than I was. The characters in books tended to have different and more romantic flaws than I had, they tended to never be fat, never have difficulty in leaping over life's many barriers, and of course, they tended, by and large, to prevail. Me, the young me, loved their stories at least partially because I loved their lives. Sometimes I envied the fact that their life had a story, they had thoughts well formed, they lived according to a theme. Me, mine was a life of dangling participles and split infinitives, conflicting themes and frustrated dreams.
Now that I'm a much older man, a guy who rides a wheelchair, who sits on furniture with elephant feet, who's stomach doubles as an end table, I still dive into books. But, maybe I'm wiser, maybe I'm simply more resigned, because when I close the book cover, I'm OK with the reality that waits for me. My life is still full of frustration and fears, it is still a live of doing stuff that has to be done, things that can never be called romantic. Too, I still listen for a theme and occasionally when I hear strains of it, it's elevator music.
But it's my life. Good. Bad., Ugly. It's mine. Even when I have to deal with things that seem unfair, or people who seem purposely difficult, or situations that are simply unjust - I find that I may want them different but I don't wish them away. The book I'm reading now has stories of men with purpose and passion, women with lives full of beauty and art, people who never are at a loss for something to say, couples who's conversations never devolve into jokes about farting.
It's a good book, it has something to say to me.
And when the one way conversation is over, I'll roll over and sleep in my bed, I'll get up and go to work in my wheelchair, I'll make the calls that I dread making and write the reports that are waiting to be written. I may think about the people that I spent time with, I will be grateful for them giving me a break from real life. But, busy in the everyday events that make up this life, real life, I'll be glad that what's mine is mine. I think maybe, I've finally grown up.