Friday, 2 August 2019

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

I’ve been watching this book doing the rounds on Twitter and reading comments about what a wonderful guide it is to assist you with living in the modern world. Do I need a guide to tell me how to live in the modern world? I already know the world has gone to the dogs, and as a cat person that makes me unhappy. This book is not going to change that for me though, nor tell me anything I don’t already know…is it?

If I pop into Tesco, I invariably end up going to the book bit first! I saw a book that had received rave reviews (and a friend had said it was good) that I wanted to buy. I noted it was part of a “buy two for a fiver” offer and obviously that’s a bargain not to be missed, so I decided to add Notes on a Nervous Planet to my basket as well so I could see what all the media fuss was about.


I had no intention of doing a book “review”, but things have been a bit crappy at home recently (family issue, starting a new job and having to make the awful decision to put Gerrard my beloved cat to sleep.) My way of dealing with things is to face reality and then go and bury my head in a book to stop me overthinking. (I can overthink things a lot if I’m not careful…why didn’t I say this…why didn’t I do that?!) As I read, I found that “Notes on a Nervous Planet” actually resonated with me, so I thought I’d stop moping around and share some thoughts with you all. This isn’t a book review as such…more about the things that sprung to mind whilst reading it! (And I started writing this before I went to see The Souvenir…but never finished writing it. I have now!)

We all look at how we can make our physical state better. We are told to go for a walk or to the gym, or if you are of a certain vintage you might remember the kids TV show where you were told to “switch off the TV and go and do something less boring instead!” We need to stop eating so much junk food, get more vegetables into the diet and eat less meat. Stop drinking as much alcohol, stop smoking, don’t self-medicate, all good advice; but how much of that advice contributes to our mental welfare?

How do we live in a mad world without ourselves going mad?

Well that’s easy…stop using social media and I don’t need a book to tell me that! I have only used social media for about 5 years, and during that time I have found that it has gone from being an environment of fun chats with people, to it being a means of outdoing one another. I get fed up of getting bogged down trawling through either negative or inane comments. (I follow lots of save wildlife and the planet sites and some of the comments posted on them…OMG they fill you with you with dread and despair for our planets future.)

An Ode to Social Media
When anger trawls the internet,
Looking for a hook;
It’s time to disconnect,
       And go and read a book. (Matt Haig)

So, should I stop using social media? Would it make my life better? I use social media to advertise my artwork that I have for sale, to share pictures of interesting places and events I have been to that I think others might enjoy. I even “advertise” when I have a new post on my blog as people tell me they enjoy reading it and like to know when a new post is available!

I’ve met some wonderful people via social media and I feel guilty that I don’t engage with them as much as I did in the past; so there are benefits to its usage, but what I’m most surprised about is how addictive