Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you’re all doing really well.
One of the best things about getting older, I find, is that I worry less. About everything. When we are younger we worry about what people think of us, what we look like, if we’ll make enough money, if we’ll be loved, if the planet will survive. And of course, we worry about getting older.
It’s not that I don’t care about these things anymore - I hate the ever-expanding lines on my face, and the corresponding extra pounds around my middle. But I no longer worry about them quite so much. It’s also not to say that I don’t feel overloaded sometimes. I wish I had more time and I know I waste too much of it checking my Twitter feed.
So as much as I sympathize with the author’s heightened state of anxiety, it just didn’t resonate with me.
Notes on a Nervous Planet is best-selling author Matt Haig’s guide to coping in the modern world. It’s a unique collection of his observations and personal stories that critique our worries – about everything – and how they damage our ability to live a better life.
Published in 2018, nothing new is offered up here and in fact, Haig admits that in no time at all, technology itself will render much of what he says outdated. By now, most of us are well aware of social media’s soul-sucking black hole. We know we spend too much time on it, too much time absorbing bad news, and the mounting toll it takes on our mental health.
But Haig, who struggles with depression and other mental health issues, still offers us pithy sound bites and wry observations. Such as:
“Everything we need is here, if we give up thinking we need everything.”
“Maybe the point of life is to give up certainty and to embrace life’s beautiful uncertainty.”
“The problem isn’t that we have a shortage of time, it’s that we have too much of everything else.”
“The modern world can be isolating. We’ve never been so connected but so alone. So, cut out the stuff that makes you feel bad, accentuate the stuff that makes you feel good, and let people truly connect.”
His message of acceptance – about aging, our bodies, our looks – is never outdated and his wisdom to think about how we can live in the present is told with compassion and wit.
If you worry, if you feel the internet and social media feed your anxiety, reading this will reinforce your intuition to put your phone down, or better yet, leave it in another room. It just might also be good for your mental health.
I wish we didn’t need to still say this, but… stay safe my friends. Mask up, and for God’s sake, get vaccinated. Twice.
In the meantime, happy reading.