Some books say

Other people’s words about … self-help

Some books say sing to your plants
Some books say sing to your plants

Sometimes I am guilty of believing that if I can just read the ‘right’ book, I will know how to change my life. If I can just follow the right advice (and adhere to it), I will know how to live.

That’s the appeal of self-help books, right? You don’t have to think for yourself anymore. You just have to do what the author says, and you’ll find happiness. Success. Wealth. Health. Glory. Inner peace.

Then again …

Some books say start a garden, sing to your plants. Some books say join a book club, take music lessons, start a stamp collection, get a pet. Some books say brew your own beer. Some books say try paintball, enter a local trivia competition, take dance lessons, learn to rumba. Some books say listen to James Brown. Some books say give yourself a hug. Some books say when someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go. Some books say let a dog lick your face. Some books say swim naked. Some books say kiss a stranger. Some books say climb a mountain. Some books say overcome a phobia. some books say change begins with pain. Some books say get busy living or get busy dying. Some books say never say the word try. Some books say there’s nothing you can’t do. Some books say accept your limitations. Some books say don’t take no for an answer. Some books say buy a karaoke machine and invite friends over. Some books say learn a new language. Some books say leave no regrets. Some books say beware a person who has nothing to lose. Some books say do no harm. Some books say never cut what can be untied. Some books say admit your mistakes. Some books say you are not your mistakes. Some books say forgive everyone everything. Some books say never criticise what can’t be changed. Some book say don’t be afraid to say I don’t know. Some books say don’t bore people with your problems. Some books say when someone asks you how you feel, say terrific, never better. Some books say ask questions. Some books say don’t ask too many questions. Some books say carry someone. Some books say let yourself be carried. Some books say there’s nothing to fear. Some books say it’s okay to be afraid. Some books say whistle in the dark. Some books say give more than you take. Some books say God never gives you more than you can take. Some books say God never blinks. Some books say God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Some books say read the Psalms. Some books say if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Some books say choose your life partner carefully. Some books say tape-record your spouse’s laughter. Some books say that if you live with a partner, one usually dies first. Some books say surrender. Some books say do not go gently. Some books say recognise that you are lost. Some books say put yourself back together piece by piece. Some books say it’s never too late. Some books say it’s not unusual to live to ninety. Some books say you will probably be old for a long time. Some books say you can’t kiss your own ear. Some books say it’s nice to meet someone after a long absence. Some books say reunion is a type of heaven. Some books sat there’s no good in goodbye. Some books say never say goodbye, better to say see you later, see you soon, see you someday, until we meet again.

from The Book of Why
by Nicholas Montemarano

Maybe it’s time for us (me?) to remember that there is no single, right way to live: that for every piece of truth someone offers you, there is another, opposite truth.

But maybe there is comfort in that plurality. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe it’s all about acceptance, and making peace with that acceptance.

And maybe — just maybe — that’s part of the adventure …

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Rebecca

I'm a nature-loving, tea-drinking blogger and writer, and I've had two novels for young adults published. You can find me at twentyonewordsblog.wordpress.com and www.rebeccaburton.com.

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