I came to a realization recently that I almost certainly have let my life get just a little too consumed by work.

I know for a fact I am not the only one in this area who works a lot, so I hope this will serve as some sort of inspiration to you to make time for something, anything else.

On a whim just over a month ago I decided that some of the books that I had purchased at the Pine River Public Library book sale needed to actually be cracked open and read. Some part of me figured that I shouldn't get new ones this summer until I've finished some of the ones already on the shelf. I guess books are like cereal that way.

The results were actually pretty surprising. I sat down and read 100 pages that first night (because as an avid reader you have to cut yourself off or you won't sleep) and the next day I did so again, and again the next day. I finished the book before the week was out and gave myself a couple days break, but then I picked up another book that had been on my shelf way too long and by the end of that next week that book was also done, and I've finished one 500 or so page book every week since.

After the first few nights I was no longer reading out of guilt for my unread personal library and I remembered how much I used to enjoy reading. I consumed page after page after page because I absolutely love reading good books and have for many years. It was like how you appreciate the flavor of cold water more when you are most thirsty. I managed to forget how much I loved it probably around the time I got a second job to pay for my house.

When you get too busy it's easy to allow those things we are passionate for to fall by the wayside, and I've done that with so many things as my schedule has been overwhelmed with duty over the past several years. Two days off a month just doesn't seem like enough.

The great joy that starting reading again brought me reminded me that leisure should not ever be fully abandoned. When we begin to feel overwhelmed by adult responsibilities and obligations I would say it becomes more important, not less, for us to find some little shred of leisure to vent off the stress that inevitably builds up.

I encourage you busy readers to force yourself to make time to do the things you enjoy. It's important for your mental and physical health and it doesn't need to be anything too elaborate. I suggest finding at least something that you can do when the sun is down and you are watching television anyway.

I've let a lot of my interests fall by the wayside over the years. I don't hunt wild foods as much as I would like, my kayak barely got wet last summer, and I'm always dying to get out and hunt treasure (metal detecting, magnet fishing, diving, etc.) but I don't remember the last time I've done any of that.

The joy I felt while reading has convinced me I need to figure out some way to make time for these things.

In addition to schedule difficulties, some of my interests have been neglected at least in part because I have taken the concept of the “buddy system” seriously since a near mishap in 2008. If you are snorkeling, hiking deep in the woods or kayaking on remote waterways (among other remote outdoors hobbies), you should technically always have a buddy with you for safety reasons. It's hard to motivate other busy adults to join you in a hobby they might not share though.

These activities are also more fun with small groups. That being said, if anyone wants to join me in doing some of these hobbies, I may finally have time Sunday afternoons this summer. I'm looking to find company for: metal detecting, snorkeling, magnet fishing, kayaking, hiking and others.

If I don't get any takers I might just have to ignore the buddy system when the situation isn't particularly risky. I can't leave it to the people in my books to have all the adventure, now, can I?

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Travis.