Finding My Way Back to Reading Despite Vision Loss
In my free time, I enjoy exploring new places with my son, hanging out with my family and friends, and taking walks to enjoy nature. Many times when other people list off their hobbies or activities that they enjoy, a common activity they mention is reading and/or being a part of book clubs.
The challenge of reading with vision loss
To be honest, I envied others when they shared how much pleasure they got from reading. When people speak of reading, they share new ideas, new insights, or experiences of “escaping” to other worlds. However, for me, reading was a chore. Even with my assistive devices, I often felt exhausted after I got through a few pages. I was constantly in awe when people would share that they read a new book each week. I wondered, how they did it with such full schedules. Many responded that they often read during their commutes or before bed, as a way to relax and unwind from their day.
Social benefits of reading
In addition to the mental benefits, reading has social benefits. Several of my brilliant friends are in book clubs and read books regularly. From what they tell me, book clubs have a culture to them, and I felt slighted when I heard people talk about their reading experience. Not only did I feel like I was missing out, but I felt like their knowledge was enhanced exponentially. I wanted in!
Audiobooks and ebooks
Recently I have tapped into the power of reading through audio and electronic books. It has literally changed my life. For me, it’s the equivalent of when kids get the same pair of shoes as the “cool kids” and now they feel like they belong in that clique. I am finally able to share this transformative experience with my friends and quote cool and interesting parts of the book. They were not exaggerating about how many emotions and feelings can be evoked through reading.
Since downloading Audible, I have listened to audiobooks during my commute to work, while sitting on my deck as my son is playing in the backyard, while I’m cooking, and on my plane rides to visit friends. I get to listen to the books my favorite podcasters and motivational speakers reference.
Enjoying reading despite vision loss
It is interesting how my relationship with reading has evolved. In the past, I did the bare minimum when it came to reading and read, only out of necessity. I am now able to enjoy reading and have the opportunity to retrieve the same knowledge my friends experience but in a way that is easy on the eyes, at least that’s the way “eye” see it.
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