Some of you might feel like I have too much time on my hands to even be thinking about this. In a way, that might be true. This has become so prevalent as the years have gone by. So my burning question is: am I getting less intelligent as I get older?
As a kid, I loved books. I absorbed them. I loved it to the point that my mam would come into my room late at night, scolding me for reading under the blankets when I had school the next day. The prospect of a new book always excited me, and I found myself speeding through them from a matter of days to a matter of hours. I loved everything about books, from imagining how the characters looked from my perspective to re-writing the endings to suit what I wanted. I admire authors to this day: I used to think that writing was easy, but I’ve learned that it really does take a special kind of person. Anyone can write, but it’s an exceptional skill to write well.
These days, I find myself buying books and procrastinating reading them. I still haven’t exactly figured out why, I guess I’ve gotten worse at prioritizing as I’ve grown up. It could be the case that my brain’s a bit worn out after a day at work, or I just can’t find the energy or focus that a piece of writing deserves. When I read, I have to be in the zone. At times, I find myself reading a paragraph, only to go back and realize that I didn’t take any of it in. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves and really puts me off reading, unless I can dedicate my attention to it 100%.
Being smart and intelligent as a kid/teenager was something that I really liked about myself. I thought it wasn’t a defining feature, but looking back, it totally was. I’ve always been pretty shy and introverted, but I’ve come a long way from where I was as a kid. That knowledge gave me something to say when I didn’t have the bravery to jump head-first into conversations. Feeling intelligent generally and undoubtedly assured of that is something that I really miss about myself.
So why do I feel this way? It definitely has something to do with my lack of reading nowadays. Not only that but what I’ve replaced it with… AKA staring into my phone/scrolling through social media for hours on end. It’s such an addictive habit that we don’t exactly gain anything from, as much as we think we enjoy it. I exhaust it completely and then get frustrated with myself for habitually tapping back into apps without even thinking about it. Especially when there are so many other productive things I could be doing with my time and energy.
Social media and the online world are all-consuming. Writing this post makes me realize that I need to take a serious step back from all of it. This is key to me feeling more like myself, as well as feeling more intelligent and like my brain is being used in a positive way.
How I’d Rather Spend My Time
Intelligent Part I: Learn More
I feel like my life has stagnated a little because I haven’t changed much over the years. I left university almost five years ago, so I think it’s definitely time to add more skills to the list and up that intelligent scale. Languages, DIY, art, writing, being a better driver (lol)… The possibilities are endless and there’s so much to gain. What better motivation is there than that?
Intelligent Part II: Read More
The big one. I fell out of love with reading so long ago, and to feel more like myself and more intelligent, I need to progress. My goal is to get excited about reading again, rather than ordering books on a whim and leaving them on the shelf to become part of the furniture. I think I’ll set myself a goal of completing one book a month for now. Noel Fitzpatrick’s Listening to the Animals: Becoming the Supervet has been sitting in my room for months now. Yet still, I’ve read half of it, only just. Now’s the time to polish it off and tackle the rest of my bookshelf while I’m at it. If you have any tips for falling in love with reading again after some serious time away, please let me know!
Intelligent Part III: Spend Less Time Online
There are three why I want to spend time online going forward. To connect with my friends, to find inspiration for regular writing and to enjoy that of others too. The simple act of expelling this post has made me feel so much better already, so I know that I’m doing the right thing. Other than that, an hour of browsing social media per day is far more than enough. The only way out of this is through. I’m breaking the habit; the determination and drive are already there. From my experience, spending so much time on social media can really mess with your head and mental health. I’d rather have a lot less of that going forward. Hey real world, can I come back now, please?