I made it a goal to read at least one book a month outside of school assignments.

TIDINGS FILE PHOTO  - Calli MastersAs a kid, I was a reading machine. I sped through 500-page books in a matter of days and begged for more, feeling withdrawal if my hold at the library wasn't ready exactly when I needed it.

My mom would have to coax me out of the house during summer marathons where I could tackle hundreds of pages in just one day. I was nothing short of obsessed.

When I got older, my time spent absorbed in a book quickly slipped away because of my rigorous soccer schedule and homework load.

I went months at a time without reading for pleasure. While I truly had less free time available, I also became an unfortunate victim of technology addiction.

The bits of free time I did have were spent on social media or watching Netflix. It was easy to convince myself that I genuinely did not have time to read anymore.

About two months ago, I made it a goal to read at least one book a month outside of school assignments. I honestly did not know how my plan would go, assuming I would likely struggle to meet the target and fall out of habit after a few months. Still, I found a book at the library, and that day I simply began to read.

I fell back into my old pattern with frightening ease, quickly becoming ensnared in each story. I'm reading one to two books a week, sneaking pages in during class, while I brush my teeth, and right before I sleep. I missed the thrill of turning the final pages of a novel just to excitedly rush to the library and snag the next installment.

Developing a vivid world inside my head and joining the characters on their adventures is much more fulfilling through reading rather than mindlessly watching hours of TV.

I feel a youthful ease in retreating into the fantasy of a novel as I had done so many years ago.

Relaxation has truly been the greatest gift that reading has brought me over the past few months. I find myself feeling more calm and purposeful with my phone swapped out for a book.

Taking a break from technology has allowed me to de-stress, and I realized how much free time I actually have that I had simply wasted scrolling on social media.

I have fallen in love with the entire process all over again, beginning with a trip to the library, a place a hadn't visited for years.

A childish wonderment came over me upon my reintroduction, and I was in awe of the sheer volume of stories that sat in one place. I see my excitement mirrored in the small kids cheerfully grabbing at a brightly colored book — or more often, six at once. I had acted the same way at their age, yearning for a new story every day. I am happy to have regained the eagerness to read.

Their ignorance to technology is blissful, and something I wish I had retained. We could stand to learn from them and find wonder in ink across a page, not text across a screen.

Calli Masters is a senior at West Linn High School.

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