Mental Health

Read How to Be Fine

Read How to Be Fine

A humorous and insightful look into what advice works, what doesn’t, and what it means to transform yourself.

I liked their format, starting with a list of “lessons” they liked from several books, then several things that didn’t work for them, then their “wishlist” of things that were missing from the oevre, which were all good ideas and ways to treat yourself kinder. That said, the chapters mostly felt too short to really reflect on the topics, and this book wound up feeling like a book report. There were some repeat offenders of bad books I now know never to pick up (most of those were titles you probably already have on that mental list), and a few new ones that sounded potentially worthwhile, but in all this was less than the sum of its parts. I’m not a podcast listener so I went into this cold.


On social events: “I call it my seventy-five-minute rule, and it’s based on the idea that staying at an event for an hour is polite, but staying for just over an hour is better, because it looks less obviously like a time limit.”

Life has a lot of hard parts that can’t be compartmentalized or broken down. Some things just have to be done slow and steady all the time, or ignored for a while and then done all at once.

“My “looking-forward” list also reminded me of the importance of novelty. When we’re living our day-in, day-out lives, it’s easy to fall into a rut. That rut can feel comfortable. But it can also keep us from growing, being challenged, and experiencing a genuine sense of surprise in the world… As I see it, it doesn’t even matter if we do most of the things on our looking-forward lists. It’s fine if we do just a few. More important is that we’re engaging with our fantasies and keeping an eye out for new things to dream about.”

What’s empowered me most in life has been speaking out and standing up. What’s made me feel less afraid and more in control is being anything but quiet. And what’s made me feel more connected with each moment has been getting out of my head and more into the world around me.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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