After reading and thoroughly enjoying Heather Havrilesky’s How to Be A Person In the World, it got me wondering existential questions such as why do only the good die young? Is it true, or only something Billy Joel was telling his girlfriend to pressure her into being bad? Do we tell ourselves little cliches to make ourselves feel better, or are these little nuggets of wisdom something that should be considered?
I found reading Ask Polly’s Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life, really quite empowering- especially for women.
Warning: some swear words in this book, but in all the right places!
I may not have the same problems as many of the youngish answer seekers in this book, like troubles in a romantic relationship or with work, but I still found common threads of useful self-help tips embroiled in her hard-nosed wisdom. When life is getting me down I tend to reach for books to provide me with answers that I can’t easily solve myself; answers to questions such as why do liars and cheats sometimes win? Is there really a clear line between good and evil?
I think if Polly was answering my questions she would say, I am imagining her tone now-yes, sometimes life isn’t fair. Get over it. Some people are good and some are bad and if you think that you are one or the other that is really a matter of perspective. Even if you think you are completely angelic, haven’t you done something bad before in your life? Lied to your grandmother? ( No) Put your finger in the dessert before it was served, just for a little taste? (Yes) And although these can’t really be considered bad acts, I think what Polly would advise, is that there is no clear line between absolute good and evil. Sometimes bad people don’t get caught, sometimes innocent people get sent to jail- that is the hard realities of the messy world we live in. It is a world filled with ass grabbers and liars.
Is there any consolation for this?
Probably not. But to make yourself feel better I suggest that you go for a long walk in the fresh air. Spend some time with good friends or allow them to take you for a spa day! Bake a pie. Tell your family that you love them ( and mean it!) even when they have carelessly left a crusty lasagne dish on the floor next to their balled up dirty socks.
These small things will make you feel better. And you may see that the world is filled with goodness again.
ps need more feel-good advice?
Try Xandria Ooi- She overfloweth with wise wise words.