Help! I have “Reader’s Block”…and more!!

assorted books on shelf

There’s really no other way to say this.

I really do have “Reader’s Block”!

Yea I know, I hear your questions. The spoken ones that seek clarification; and the unspoken ones that wonder if I’m a runaway inmate from some nearby asylum!

Of course I’m hoping the more likely question would simply be: “Does he mean Writer’s Block?”

If only.

After all, Writer’s Block (WB) has been immortalised by no less than ten films (more than 30 if you ask my coach), and countless books. Not to mention every frustrated student that’s ever sat in front of a blank laptop screen trying to cough up a term paper due yesterday!

So no elaborations needed right? Because we’ve all fallen prey to WB at one point or other in our lives (fingers crossed my coach doesn’t read this and send me a nasty email because she doesn’t believe in WB!)

So if I said at the beginning of this piece of writing that I had Writer’s Block, I might have gotten more sympathy than strange looks.

No matter.

Right now, I really do have “Reader’s Block”.

A reader…who doesn’t read?!

photo of man touching his head
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You see, since completing what I call the “Obama Memoirs” – Barack’s “A Promised Land” and Michelle’s “Becoming” (which I touched on in an earlier post) – I’ve sunk into a bit of a rut.

Even though I have a couple of books on hand to finish, I just can’t seem to bring myself to read them. I would pick up the books and flip the pages, reading a few lines and paragraphs here and there. But nothing sticks. Before I know it, my mind’s wandered elsewhere and my gaze has drifted to the screen on my devices, or the scene outside my window.

[And let’s not forget: I’m a stay home dad and a stay home son! So there’s no lack of noise, distractions and things to do in my household!]

But lately, reading just feels like a household chore, which is painful for me because I’ve written before about my love for it.

Not gonna rehash what I wrote last month, except to say the mystery I spoke of at the end of that post — “my restless reading journey” — has now unfolded to an even sadder chapter!

Unfortunately, that’s not all!

It’s actually a lot worse!

man wearing black headset
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You see, I’m not just having a “Reader’s Block”. I’m also hard-pressed this period to know what to watch or listen to (not from lack of options mind you)!

One of the downsides of aging, as well as all that extra screen time modern folks like you and me now have, is that our eyes are far more easily tired out by the end of the day. Compared to the good old days pre-Internet.

So about two years ago, I started listening to more audiobooks and podcasts, covering everything from fiction to non-fiction. Nothing new since these have been available for a long time now. But these tools really helped with those moments when my eyes were too tired to read or watch anything, but my mind was alert and seeking nourishment of the cerebral kind.

For a while, I devoured whatever I could download (preferably for free), and whiled away many delightful moments “reading” and getting some pretty awesome aural stimulations to go. There’s a certain allure to hearing what began as texts on a a page coming almost to live when it’s “poured” into your ears like liquid honey.

Better still when the audiobook or podcast was narrated by either the author or a famous celebrity. It’s like having the person right inside the room with you.

But these past couple of weeks, I’ve also started to turn a “deaf ear”, unwilling and even uninterested to explore or seek out new titles of audio books or new episodes of podcasts. If I listen at all, it’s to the ones I’ve already heard more than once before.

It’s as if even hearing something new is too much of an effort, and so I’ll rather hear something I’ve already heard a bazillion times just so I can fill the silence with white noise and feel that I’m not wasting my time.

But the truth is, I am.

And as I write this down, I think I know why.

I’m just not “IN the moment”

person smartphone desk laptop
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One of my worst traits is this: I’m a worrier.

On any given day, I’m always thinking what’s ahead or what’s next. Even though I’m careful to schedule my days and nights to ensure I have stuff to do, the truth is I’m never satisfied.

For instance, even as I’m typing this blog post, my mind is taken up with the next task on my list and how I should be getting ready for that. Or if I’m on my way to my son’s school to fetch him home, and I’m listening to something on the car radio, my mind would have moved into top gear as I visualise how the second half of the day will be like at home, supervising his homework and other household knick knacks.

It’s like my mind just can’t sit still or stay in the moment.

Even when I’m carving time out for a short afternoon nap, I never succeed because my mind’s racing ahead to what to do after I put the kids to bed at night. And that’s even though I’d already scheduled something.

In short, I’m just never able to be fully IN the moment. Any wonder I have all these “blocks”?

But why is that?

Why am I such a worrier?

I don’t yet know the answers, but I am a hopeless victim right now who desperately needs a long-term solution as I feel like I’m wasting away.

So here’s a shout-out into cyber space: “HELP! I am a worrier with “Reader’s/Viewer’s/Listener’s Block”! Can someone please save me?!”

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