So What Did You Do Today? A Honest Look at the Life of an Unemployed Reader


It had to be a selfie due to my dog’s lack of picture-taking knowledge and because I’m not crazy enough (yet) to think I can pull characters out of books to do my bidding.

2013 was really working out to be a stellar year. I had a new job, a new house, a wedding on the way, and a dream honeymoon booked for Thailand. Everything was falling into place. And then at the end of August, I got dealt quite a blow. 3 weeks before my wedding, my company made major cuts to the staff and fired 10% of the employees. Just as quickly as it came, I was let go from a job that I loved.

With the wedding 3 weeks away, I didn’t have time to dwell. I focused all my energy on the upcoming nuptials and when that was done, I focused solely on the honeymoon. Throughout that time, people would ask if I was nervous about how I’d feel when life slowed down, but I would respond that I wasn’t concerned. I was too wrapped up in all the fun. However, upon my return from Thailand, I began to feel it —the isolation from the world around me. The loneliness that comes without being able to chat with coworkers and the laziness that creeps into your body when you lack structure in your day.

I would soon find myself with unkempt hair, spending entire days in pajamas. I’d look at the clock, and the hours would simultaneously fly by when I yearned to be productive, and be painfully slow while I awaited my husband’s arrival. Unfortunately, even today I am still struggling to fight this. It’s been about 4 months since the layoff, and though I’m still searching for more structure to my days, I’ve been able to turn to my books for a place of solace.

Everyday when my husband asks how my day was and what I did, I almost feel hesitant to answer. To him, the answer would be that I sat on the couch and read, and then I read while I cooked dinner, and then read in our bed while drinking coffee. To me, I traveled back in time to the 1950’s and visited Kabul, Afghanistan. I flew to Paris and interviewed an Afghani-Parisian poet just days before her death. I lived in California with a doctor and his family while he tried to justify the life he led. I cried at the sorrows I heard and laughed at the things that brought my new companions joy. I learned, felt empathy, and felt motivated, all by the characters of a book. To me, I felt as though I spent the day living with purpose. I no longer felt alone.

That is the gift of literature, and it is this magical quality that I will never stop loving about the experience of reading. When we read we become students of life. These books can transport us through time and space, and introduce us to people we would have never met otherwise. It is through them that we are given the opportunity to think and feel, and question the opinions we have. And perhaps it is this opportunity, and the ability to fully embrace it, that is the silver lining to losing what I had.

4 thoughts on “So What Did You Do Today? A Honest Look at the Life of an Unemployed Reader

  1. Nina, what a brave and inspiring post you wrote today! Thanks for sharing your story – it is so beautiful to read. I agree, traveling into the world of the characters you read about is just incredible. Sometimes it is difficult to peel yourself away!

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  2. ❤ Nina, love your brave and honest post today. Thanks for inviting us to peek into your life today and for sharing the ups–and the downs–and how you're finding balance in it all. Books are in a sense a teleporter that chauffeur us from one decade to another, that introduce us to one country one day and another tomorrow. They are the window to the worlds we are ready to explore. Keep finding balance and keep enjoying the adventures.

  3. Pingback: How Working on This Project Has Felt Oddly Like the Plot of Titanic | The Not So Book Club Book Club

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