“We are just so busy!”

It’s an innocent enough statement, legitimately driven by real obligations and commitments. But there is a point when “so busy!” becomes a state of mind, and ultimately, an excuse.

A cousin phrase is one I’m guilty of saying daily: “I don’t have time.”

You know it’s a tired line when you get tired of hearing yourself say it.

That led me to ponder: do I really not have time like I had convinced myself, or had it turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy?

I wasn’t sure. What I did know for certain was that I wasn’t fond of the crankier me bemoaning my lack of leisure time.

So I picked up a book – chick lit at that – that had been sitting on my nightstand for months. And I started to read – for fun.

The next morning I woke up with a spring in my step.

I even thought about the characters as I brushed my teeth.

Not once did I miss the extra 30 minutes of sleep I’d lost the night before, as I’d glance back at the clock and think to myself, “Just one more chapter.”

That refreshed mindset continues to work its magic.

Since that evening, I’ve started carving out new pockets of time that before didn’t seem to exist:

  • When Ella asks me to play Barbies, I do it, without thinking ‘Let’s hurry up and get this over with.”
  • When Rett talks about his day, I actively listen, instead of halfway pay attention while my mind wanders elsewhere.
  • I’ve also found the time to fly through that 322-page book, leaving me voracious for another.

I’ve always been an avid reader. As a tween, my closet bookshelves were lined with copies of The Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley Twins. In middle school and beyond, Dad and I would discuss a wide swath of authors, from O. Henry to Harper Lee. At least twice in our marriage, Rett has found me reading in tears, so moved was I by an author’s words. For the record, those titles were The Kite Runner by Khaled Housseni and Marley & Me by John Grogan. (If you’ve ever loved a dog, I dare you to read the latter one while remaining dry-eyed).

I’m so happy that I’ve fallen back in love with reading for fun, and for how it makes me feel. It’s a pleasure I’ll work hard to hold onto as we enter the home stretch of 2014, and all its chaotic bliss.

Amid the costumes, the candy, the pumpkins and the general fall festival-ing that will soon surround us, do what you can to avoid the trap of “I don’t have time.”

Sometimes all it takes to get you there is a good story.All hail the restorative powers of reading!

Rebecca