I’ve been thinking a lot about Notes on a Nervous Planet and sharing some of the choicest nuggets with friends. I have a feeling that reading Matt Haig can only ever make you a better, more understanding individual and surely that’s something that we all crave? This work is really the bookend to Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive, which you all know I love and continue to dip into at regular, almost daily, intervals. At heart they tackle different issues, yet at the same time they are complementary and frankly I would be amazed if, having read one, you didn’t find yourself reaching for the other.
In Reasons to Stay Alive Haig wrote on the issue of depression from a very personal perspective. Notes on a Nervous Planet addresses how to get the through the modern world whilst remaining a sane, decent and morally unscathed human. It’s more of a companion than a book and in my opinion could just have easily be entitled Notes for a Nervous Mother. So much of what Haig tackles here is the stuff that I go through almost daily with Child Number One and Child Number Two. It reflects my own angst about how I and perhaps more importantly they, handle social media and all our various media influences, whilst morphing into the generous hearted adults that I believe they are destined to become. How can I teach them to navigate all of this, when I myself and so hopeless with it?
I believe many of us, particularly those fortunate enough to live in small towns where environmental awareness plays an important part in daily life, are becoming increasingly conscious of just how much ‘stuff’ we own that we don’t really need. Our modern existence is teaching us to always crave more, to find that we don’t have enough and aren’t enough. We need to be better, more attractive, thinner, fitter, richer and of course, younger. In order to achieve these unattainable goals we should endlessly hold ourselves in low esteem, whilst spending cash to address our failings. Haig writes about all of this in such a heartfelt manner that, ironically, I almost wish there was a Matt Haig app that I could have on my phone, just to remind me sometimes to stop, breathe and just be content with how and what life is.
Modern life has many failings, but we need to remember that humans are capable of change for good, we just need to keep our minds clear and our own path determined. However, whilst we are trying to do this, shouldn’t we be reading Matt Haig?