Doldrums

The Age Old Question

“Am I depressed because I’m single, or am I single because I’m depressed?” It’s a question I asked way too often.

I started listening to Mark Manson’s Love Is Not Enough. It was free on Audible – meaning it came with my subscription, no credit required to “purchase” – so why not?

It’s been two years since reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck and I wanted to know what Mr. Manson had to say about romance. I recognize a lot of the traits presented in the interviews. From maladaptive daydreaming to grand gestures of affection, I embodied so many terrible habits when it comes to romance.

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij from Pexels

Normally, I wouldn’t put so much emphasis on my singleness. It doesn’t bother me on most days. Not much, anyway. There are moments that, sure, it would be nice to have someone whose shoulder I can rest my head on. There are plenty of times when it might be nice to cuddle up next someone while binge watching whatever new drug-addled TV show I’m watching.

So I’m trying to distract myself from that emptiness. Because my old coping mechanism has failed me – these blog posts and work stuff are the only writing I get done – I’m looking into new ventures.

Window shopping for a new computer for work purposes has become to window shopping for a camera. Specifically this camera: the Sony Alpha a6000 mirrorless digital camera. There’s no rhyme or reason why specifically that camera, but it’s the only one holding my attention.

What will I do with said camera? Well, I have an idea:

The camera isn’t the only venture that’s floating across my mind. A couple of years ago, I also purchased a Blue Yeti microphone.* The idea was starting an audio project; however, the only thing I’ve used the mic for has been work related.

After much conversation, a coworker and I thought of making a podcast together. We worked together with a work project – one I didn’t write, but recorded and mixed – and we seemed to impress people by what we came up with.

I also created an account with ACX with the idea of recording indie audiobooks. However, there’s that fear that arises whenever I think about doing something outside of my comfort zone. What if my voice isn’t that great? I tend to stumble over words often. My voice gets lazy and drags through a sentence. When’s the last time I even tried to enunciate?

And here I am at the beginning again: “Am I depressed because I feel like I’m a failure, or am I failure because I’m depressed?”

*In case you’re wondering, the mic does a wonderful job. While it’s limited – I don’t know how, but a lot influencers have poo-poo’d it – I’ve recorded many a puppet show with this mic without issue. So stop listening to bleach blonde, frosted tipped morons and buy it.

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Books

You’re Not That Great (but Neither is Anyone Else) by Elan Gale

Elan Gale wants to remind you that you’re not that great. Then again, neither is his book. In the same vein as Mark Manson’s book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, Mr. Gale provides a no holds barred anti-self-help book for people who are tired of being coddled while self-help gurus rip them off.You're Not That Great

There’s just one problem: there’s nothing Elan Gale in You’re Not That Great (but Neither is Anyone Else) that Manson’s book didn’t already offer. Well, nothing useful. Because, aside from the obviously useful slice of humble pie, the book only offers stale jokes and condescension.

Mr. Gale is right—we’re not great. Several people ooze with undeserved self-confidence, but can never amount to anything but ordinary. He notes that all the negative emotions we’re trained to ignore are useful tools to pull us out of the mundane. And even when we achieve greatness, we’re still not that great. Because you should always want to continue growing, continue reaching for the goddamn stars. He just wants us to know that we can always do better, be better, fuck better (yep, that’s also in the book). That’s what I love about the book. Sadly, it’s not enough to carry it.

Somewhere around page 100, it seemed like Mr. Gale ran out of things to talk about. The book becomes repetitive. And in an effort to cover up that fact, his descent into egotism begins. It began to feel that Mr. Gale began to shit on us not to help out, but for the sake of shitting on people who bought his book. He started fluffing up the chapters with anecdotes. Some of these were eye openers, sure. But several were just weird to the point where it was difficult to discern if he was trying to make a joke.

Could be that Mr. Gale was working against the clock, reaching a deadline. Or maybe he just ran out of nuggets of wisdom. It’s a fun book to read if you haven’t already done so. But as far as the genre goes, read Mark Manson’s book instead.

Until next time, keep on huntin’.

Books

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

We’re always trying to better ourselves. Hell, a year doesn’t go by without hearing the mantra New Year, New Me splattered on every Facebook timeline across the western hemisphere. We’re obsessed with chasing happiness, chasing the new dietary trend, chasing dreams. We’ve created a religion out of the self-help genre. We created altars (albeit, we call them “vision boards”) to self-help. And the only people profiting from these books are the writers.The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

I stayed away from reading any self-help novel book. Sure, I thumbed through a few chapters in the past, scanned the table of contents, read the blurbs. But I never took them seriously. And I never met a person who came out on top after reading one of these books. In fact, if anything, they’re more miserable after extrapolating the advice into their daily lives. Who knew that the search for happiness would lead to such misery?

Because that’s what the advice genre leads to: unhappiness. Because we’re giving standards to live by and feel like failures when we can’t achieve them. And if we do achieve them, we begin to feel miserable because we’ve become stagnant—we become stuck in our ways. Then we return to the self-help tab on Amazon and buy another book. Rinse and repeat.

Enter Mark Manson. I wouldn’t know this man from Adam. Never read his blog. Never heard of his name before. I chuckled a bit when I first saw his book at Barnes and Noble. (The dude’s surname is Manson, after all.)

But the book title intrigued me. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. What’s not to love? Surely, the man’s done his homework about getting a skeptic’s attention. Three months later, I bought the damn book.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill self-help guide. Manson offers no support for your feelings. He slings the truth at you like Paul Bunyan swings his axe: your forest of security is destroyed. Your illusions, burned. Because this is the book that will actually put you on the right path toward happiness. He gives you no mantras. Doesn’t promise you a get-rich-scheme for happiness. And he most definitely won’t sugarcoat it for you. This is as real as it’s going to get for you.

And it’s o.k. that throughout the book you’re going to feel as if Mr. Manson was once a fedora-wearing brotard. Because he might have been, but who gives a fuck. If you’re so deterred about this style of writing, then you’re dealing with too much nothing in your life.

So take it from someone who doesn’t like self-help books. Someone who’s sworn against them. Someone who laughs at people who buy them in bulk: This is the book for you.

Until next time, keep on huntin’