On a Calm Life

I first got hooked on writer/philosopher Alan de Botton after reading his book, “The Course of Love.” His writing is wise, honest, and refreshingly frank — without being callous. In an essay for The Book of Life he wrote:

“A calm life isn’t one that’s always perfectly serene. It is one where we are committed to calming down more readily, where we strive for more realistic expectations; where we can understand better why certain problems are occurring, we can be more adept at finding a consoling perspective. The progress is painfully limited and imperfect – but it is genuine.”

The piece itself is long, but I love his take on anxiety, perspective, frustration, and patience. It’s worth reading — especially part 1 and part 12. But if you don’t have the time, I’ll leave you with these two reassuring thoughts on anxiety:

“The single most important move is acceptance. There is no need – on top of everything else – to be anxious that we are anxious. The mood is no sign that our lives have gone wrong, merely that we are alive.”

“We should spare ourselves the burden of loneliness. We are far from the only ones with this problem. Everyone is more anxious than they are inclined to tell us. Even the tycoon and the couple in love are suffering. We’ve collectively failed to admit to ourselves what we are truly like.”


Photo by Tania Strauss

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