I spent one day in Paris just staying at home. No touristy things, just a simple good old day at home (or the closest you can get to home when you're overseas). And I read. And it was at that point that I realised just how invaluable reading is to me.
Now because I had spent the past three or so weeks, spending most days going out and about and not really having a lot of time to do me things and having me time, I didn't really realise how much I'd missed it. I mean, I was still reading at night but it was really before I went to bed and was so tired that I didn't get a real chance to immerse myself in the book.
And that day I really got to do just that. Immerse myself. Because that's what reading is all about. Immersing oneself in the plot and the characters and the world. It was really nice too. I'd been having a terrible time in Paris (for certain reasons that occurred when I'd first arrived) and I always ended up feeling very stressed and by the end of the day, I wasn't really ever in a good place.
When I spent that day reading, I got a chance to escape all the anxiety I had been feeling and I just got to feel. While it wasn't necessarily my own feelings, I felt a certain release through empathising with the characters. I didn't have to think about what was happening in my life or anything like that. Simply put, it made me feel refreshed and happy.
Because honestly, that's what reading is for me sometimes. It's a form of escapism. When I'm feeling terrible or I'm feeling all these kinds of stress, reading allows me to calm down and just breathe. Reading has always been a huge part of my life, and I find it incredibly difficult to see a world where it isn't important.
Times like that day in Paris highlights it for me.