When I was younger I read exclusively fiction. From the age of about ~18 on I read almost exclusively non fiction. Like @Anthymn I was very focused on self improvement and on some level equated fiction to a form of “mindless consumption” like binge watching Netflix.
I have since changed some of my thoughts on that. I think with learning there is never really end but at least with self improvement there is some point where you have optimized enough. You have enough knowledge to live the ideal life, and the rest of the consumption now actually reverts back to the reasons why I consumed fiction, it’s just the brains desire for new things.
In the words of Alan Watts…”Once you get the message…hang up the phone”.
To counter my own response, it can be beneficial to continually consume information. As human beings our default state if to forget things. If there’s something we value and want to incorporate in our lives it’s beneficial to continuously remind ourselves of it over and over again. You want to get as immersed as possible with positive ideas so in some sense, constant repetition by reading nonfiction of the same genre can be a form of karate “katas” that drill things down in your brain.
But I think you just have to be honest about it with yourself. There’s an art to knowing when you’re acquiring knowledge to immerse yourself in an environment, to truly learn, or because it’s out of a misguided notion that all units of time must be occupied by some “productive activity” or therefore those moment of time are wasted.
In general I’ve seen people who come to the realization that they have wasted a vast amount of time in their youth on media, games, and the like suddenly swing in the opposite direction. Where they end up in the relentless pursuit of productivity in an effort to recoup the lost time. I think this ultimately is just as harmful as wasting time. Idle moments begin to have a negative connotion and give you a sense of lost opportunity, rather than seeing the moment of idleness as an opportunity itself.
It’s really just traded sloth for frenzy. I think now that I’ve experienced both sides of the spectrum, the art is actually to know when to suspend the pursuit of more knowledge and be able to slide back and forth down the spectrum at will.
So for me, I realize that going back to the way I was as a child is the next step in my advancement. Reading for pleasure is something I’m doing more often now.