I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

Book Budget

I just added a new cat­egory in my YNAB Budget under Qual­ity of Life Goals, it’s name? Books.
Since I star­ted using Goodreads in 2013 I’ve read 104 books. That’s an aver­age of just under 21 books a year with a low of 17 in 2013 and a high of 34 books in 2016.
Clearly I like to read, so it made sense to actu­ally budget for these books fin­an­cially since I’m already mak­ing time in my life to read them. There’s some­thing very dif­fer­ent about sit­ting down and relax­ing with a good book com­pared to a film or box­set that I enjoy a great deal. Most of these books are fic­tion, I find they provide me with a good way of shut­ting my mind off at the end of the day by for­cing me to use my ima­gin­a­tion. I have to let my mind cre­ate the images that go with the words, con­vert­ing the writers descrip­tions into visu­als in my mind. The words on the page act­ing as the brush and my mind as the paint to cre­ate the large land­scapes and city­scapes as well as the detail of the char­ac­ters faces and the expres­sions they pull.
Until a few years ago I had gone a few years without read­ing a lot, I always had a nov­el on the go but the num­ber I would read in a year was much less. Gradu­ally as I got older and remembered how much I like read­ing the num­ber would increase, but the intens­ity at which I devoured books became great­er after I became ill with depres­sion a few years ago. Through­out my recov­ery, and when I find my mood dip­ping again, nov­els become a great source of escape. Usu­ally I find con­cen­tra­tion hard when I’m bat­tling a low peri­od, but a good nov­el (often a famil­i­ar one that I’ve read many times) is able to provide me with some escape. Read­ing the prose of a good fantasy or sci-fi book allows me to find free­dom from the cir­cu­lar thoughts and spir­als of whatever I find myself fix­at­ing on. As a visu­al thinker let­ting my ima­gin­a­tion build the worlds cen­tur­ies away from today (in either dir­ec­tion) is a great way of exer­cising my cre­at­ive muscles and pre­vent­ing those unhelp­ful thought pat­terns take hold.
Whenev­er I’ve spoken to friends who have been strug­gling with sim­il­ar men­tal health issues, I always recom­mend they read. It takes a bit of effort to start, but I’ve found it much more help­ful than watch­ing a film. The act of watch­ing images devel­op on a screen is far less dis­tract­ing than hav­ing to engage your mind with the words and story of a book. Read­ing, I find, is a form of act­ive rest. I can let my body rest and recharge, while using my mind in a way that’s dif­fer­ent from the work of my two jobs, and in so doing let­ting it refresh and recharge.
So here’s to books, to my new book budget, and to the many more hours of rest that they will provide.

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