DEAR HARRIETTE: I have lost my passion for reading. When I was younger, I used to love reading. I had a different book in my hands every day. Lately, I have not been reading anything. There are hundreds of new books at bookstores, and I just walk past them.
I love reading, but I never seem to finish a book anymore. Additionally, whenever I do read, I never seem to comprehend the words; they just go in my eyes and never seem to reach my brain. I miss reading books; I was labeled the bookworm among my peers when I was younger. I feel like I lost a part of myself, and I don’t know how to find it again. Can I still go back? -- Ex-Bookworm
DEAR EX-BOOKWORM: It is natural that you are experiencing a shift in your priorities. As your life changes and fills with other activities, your interest in books has taken a backseat to other things. Since you do not like this change, take a step back and observe what you are spending your time on and whether you really want to divide your time in that way. Ask yourself why you have lost interest in books. Is there an underlying reason that you can identify?
Consider another popular option -- listening to audiobooks. Hearing someone read a book in your area of interest may reignite your love of reading. You can get lost in a book for hours by listening to someone read it to you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Back in my freshman year of college, I was a part of my university’s cheerleading squad. I had to stay at school until late at night and get home close to midnight (since I was a commuter). Practice was not difficult, and I did pretty well with the intense three-hour workouts. However, I had two major problems: my grades and transportation.
Due to the late hours, my grades began to plummet drastically. I became incredibly depressed and had intense anxiety attacks. Before and after practice, I felt sick to my stomach and would faint sometimes from stress. The breaking point was a game that ended in disaster. It was horrible. I decided to quit and cut all ties with the team. Whenever I saw the girls in the halls or my classes, I could feel the awkward tension between us. Leaving the team was the best decision I ever made, but I feel scared to confront the girls about my reason for quitting. What should I do? -- Former Cheerleader
DEAR FORMER CHEERLEADER: It is worth it to create closure with the other cheerleaders even though you are not with them at school right now, given the fact that schools are shut down. Since you will continue to have this situation on your heart, I recommend that you reach out to your teammates and tell them that you miss them. Acknowledge that you are sorry you had to leave the team, but that you left because you were flunking school and getting home way too late. Apologize for not talking to them about it before. Explain that this was a tough decision for you, and you hope they understand.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)