Reading Between the Lines
When I was young, you couldn’t pay me to read. Literally, my parents tried and even that didn’t work! My brother and I would get paid a penny a page in the hopes of enticing us to read. So of course, my brother–being the entrepeneur he has always been–poured through books; inevitably, cashing in on the reading proposition. I, on the other hand, could not be bothered with reading, no matter how much money was involved. I had much “better” things to do than sit around with my nose in a paperback. But the activities that once brought us joy and ultimately, health, do not necessarily grow with us. Reading has become a healthy and gratifying pastime for me…and along the way, I have flipped through pages full of Unexpected Health.
Reading is healthy for all sorts of reasons: elicits relaxation; occupies our minds; tunes out our chaotic world; befriends lonely souls with stories of grandiose adventures. But the unexpected health insight is that reading causes sharing. The words formulated to create a good story give us permission to share, and sharing is not only healthy…it is essential.
Today, my good friend sent me an article about a 100-year-old woman who received her bachelor’s degree…three weeks after turning a century old and one day before she died in her bed. After I read the article (which, in and of itself is incredible), I was inspired. The words I first read were my friend’s email, which suggested that the article might be a good blog topic because personal achievement promotes health. This is true (and you will probably see another day’s post where personal achievement is the unexpected health!). But the unexpected health insight I gained–at least today–was the reading itself. Reading causes a chain-reaction. You read something, you pass it on. You get inspired by those forwards that are constantly re-surfacing in your Inbox (you know, the “Dance Like Nobody’s Watching” ones), and the knee-jerk reaction is to share the insight. When my friends and I read a good book, instead of collecting dust on a shelf, we pass it around. Reading promotes the exchange of knowledge, lessons, and truths about life, love, and all other experiences in our lives. My friend’s email was healthy because what I read was not only this incredible woman’s story, I read my friend’s thoughts about what she read. Both reads were little nuggets of health for me to relish in.
We don’t have to be published writers to inspire others with our story. And we don’t have to be speed readers to retain the wisdom of words. Sometimes health comes in a two sentence email from a friend. Other times health is experienced by a story we read in the newspaper. But most times, health is enhanced by reading. So the next time you open an email, check your text message, or read a story, remember to turn on the reading light to health. And when you read something remarkable, pass it on: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100127/ap_on_re_us/us_centenarian_degree -Until tomorrow, Jaime
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