I can remember a time when I didn't identify as a reader, but it was a very long time ago. Plus, I wasn't that good at reading yet anyway.
Ever since I became a voracious reader, reading has always been a way for me to forget about my own problems and world for a while and read about lives that were more interesting than my own. This is in part because I worry far too much and need ways to get away from that. My worrying manifests itself physically as well, so I've always been grateful to have a way to relieve that stress.
As I've gotten older, reading has been able to soothe my soul less and less, unfortunately. I still get lost in good books, and books and reading are still one of my biggest comforts. But I find that the more challenges I face (especially those pesky "adult" problems), the harder it is for me to completely let them go, even if only for half an hour.
When I rediscovered cross stitch a few months ago, I had only planned on doing one project as a gift. However, I sort of fell into a mild (ok, maybe not mild) obsession with cross stitch and other needle crafts. Some of this is due to finally having a creative outlet (something I've been searching for awhile now), but I think a good chunk of that obsession came from the complete and utter relaxation/calmness I usually experience when stitching. This particular time in my life is very hectic. Everything is up in the air and big changes are coming. All of that is great, but a bit trying on my poor nerves (I'm definitely channeling Mrs. Bennet here).
Basically, all I want to do right now is stitch 24/7. It is just like me to find a new, time-consuming hobby right when my thesis is due.