I read some things, and DNF’d some others, that I feel like writing about! Let’s get to it.
Anhedonia was a major symptom of my depression, and I am still working on enjoying the things I used to (yes, that does sound like a contradiction in terms, and no, the pandemic doesn’t make it easier). And now, unmarried, children grown if not flown, and sadly newly dogless, I have so much more space in my life to do what I enjoy, to explore new things to enjoy. It’s surprisingly hard to figure out what I want to do and try–it’s been so long since I asked myself what I like.
Recently, I came across this podcast conversation between Arthur C. Brooks and Lori Gottlieb (whose book on therapy I enjoyed) on how to figure out what you enjoy, and found it helpful. Looking for more along those lines, I spotted Catherine Price’s The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again at my library. Sadly, this was a DNF. There’s nothing wrong with it, really, but I can’t stand the kind of self-help where the author feels the need to create special terms that sound like they should have a trademark symbol when normal words and dictionary definitions would do. And this is that kind of book. Going through an elaborate process of journaling about True FunTM (yes, she does use that, capitalized, though I added the TM) did not sound, well, fun. I did get some good ideas about what kinds of experiences to look for, though.
Price’s previous book was on breaking up with your phone, and that carried over into this one, as she feels the fake fun we have on our distracting devices gets in the way of having real fun, which typically involves being present with others. That resonated with me, so next I turned to Johann Hari’s new book, Stolen Focus. I started the audiobook, and it wasn’t terrible or anything, but it was taking so long to get to the actual information, and then I saw Hari did an episode of Ezra Klein’s podcast and figured that was as much as I wanted to know about the book’s ideas. (No doubt it’s some kind of deadly English teacher sin to listen to the podcast instead of reading the book).
Even though I didn’t read these books, the fact that I was drawn to them showed me where I want to go next in my healing. I’d just rather get on with focusing and finding fun than read the books–which in itself suggests I’ve made some progress in healing.Continue reading