Notes On A Nervous Planet, Matt Haig - Thoughts
My gosh this is a brilliant book. I feel as if it is necessary reading for everyone. It is filled with realistic positivity and great affirmations on how to navigate the modern world. From reminding you that the beach doesn't give a damn about the shape of your bum to reminding you that an argument on twitter is never going to make you feel better - go and buy this book now.
One of my favourite things about Matt Haig is his willingness to be honest and tell it like it is. Describing anxiety and panic attacks, you might feel as a writer to dramatise or even lessen the emotion to make it more relatable, Haig doesn't do either. He tells you about his experiences as they were/are. I'm lucky enough to say that I've never experienced a panic attack but learning about how they make one feel is important. We need to be able to recognise them in ourselves as well as those around us. The same with anxiety, we need to know that not everyone waltzes through life and sometimes what seems to simple to us, getting on public transport for example, may not be for everyone.
I know that this is the sort of book that I will dip in and out of as and when I need a reality check or a little cheerleading when the modern world gets too tough. There's no patronising list of things to do, more a confirmation that you are not alone. You really, really aren't alone and I believe this is one of these most important things to take from this book. Social Media can and is used for good, it has its bad bits, but you can strive to make it the force of good and you can connect with a community to remove that alone feeling.
We all, also, need a break from it. I recently had a relatively offline week whilst on holiday in Scotland. Leaving my phone at home and focussing on packing enough treats for our tea on the beach instead. The stuff that is good for the soul. We all need that and this book helps remind you of that.
I've underlined and ear-marked A LOT of this book so I'm just going to run you through my top five. I would recommend reading this book with a pencil and notebook to hand.
"There are billions of different versions of you an older you. There is one version of the present you. Focus on that."
I love this. I underlined it twice in the book, that's how much I love it. This for me ties in so well with something I picked up from Emma Gannon's Multi-Hyphen Method book - we seem to worry so much about the next five years, or the next ten years but really what we should be focussing on is the day we are currently on. The present day is when we can make a difference to our future. You can't change the future unless you focus on the now.
"Remember no really cares what you look like. They care what they look like."
I love this. It rings so so true. Often when people are spouting out cruel comments on looks, it is down to insecurities they have within themselves. It's on them. Not you. I used to worry a lot about what to wear/ do I look made-up enough for this party or that dinner but I realised that people don't remember what you wore that night, they just remember the feeling. Gosh that was a great night and it wasn't a great night because you wore or didn't wear that black dress, it was a great night because you are great company.
"Ratings are no sign of worth. To be liked by everyone you would have to be the blandest person ever. William Shakespeare is argubaly the greatest writer of all time. He has a medicore 3.7 average on Goodreads."
I think this is a really important one to take home and remember. So much these days seems to be down to ratings, likes, shares etc, but not everyone is going to agree or like what you do. Focus on the people that do and celebrate the person saying "this is lovely" and invest your time in them. Because if Shakespeare can't get five stars then we really shouldn't be worrying.
"Reading isn't important because it helps you get a job. It's important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you're given. It is how humans merge. How minds connect. Dreams. Empathy. Understanding. Escape. Reading is love in action."
I actually cried reading this because I agree with it so whole-heartedly. I am a bookworm so I promote books and reading left, right and centre but that's because it provides so much. It allows people to tell their stories, to offer a difference of opinion and perspective, to highlight the wrongs and celebrate the rights and ultimately allow humans to connect.
"The world can be sad. But remember a million unsung acts of kindness happened today. A million acts of love. Quiet human goodness lives on."
This is now more than ever so important to remember. Our access to 24/7 news can be really terrifying and lead us to believe we're all fucked. Remember, there are still people saying 'I love you' everyday, there are still people sending thank you cards or texts, there are still people saying 'have a nice day' and there are still people making a cup of tea for someone who's having a crappy day.
Please pick up this book. You won't be sorry.