All posts tagged: young adulthood

Kierkegaard’s Three Ways to Live More Fully

Kierkegaard’s Three Ways to Live More Fully

[ad_1] Want to stay current with Arthur’s writing? Sign up to get an email every time a new column comes out. People hate being bored. Researchers show that we will go to almost any length to avoid boredom. That can even include giving ourselves painful electrical shocks to stave off ennui—experiments have found that many college-age subjects will actually do this rather than face as little as 15 minutes of doing nothing. Indeed, one of the worst parts of life for many people during the COVID-19 lockdowns was the sheer boredom of being stuck at home, which scholars have shown was associated with substance use, distress, and loneliness. Almost nothing is worse, then, than realizing that your life itself has become boring. Perhaps you have at one time or another concluded that your work is drudgery, your hobbies humdrum; that even your relationships are superficial and unsatisfying. Each day reminds you of the one before. What is there to do? One obvious answer is to run away, to throw out the old routines and connections, …

The Spiky, Unsentimental Visions of Diana Athill

The Spiky, Unsentimental Visions of Diana Athill

[ad_1] One of American fiction’s core preoccupations, these days, seems to be the question of what causes unhappiness. Many of our major writers are earnest anatomists of discontent and its social, psychological, and existential causes. This kind of fiction can be very powerful. Reading about loneliness when you’re lonely can provide both diagnosis and solace; encountering a character trapped by student debt or patriarchal expectation can inspire a sense of camaraderie in a reader facing similar frustrations. But more often than not, contemporary novelists handle their subject matter with immersive seriousness and sincerity—and sincerity, after a while, gets tiring. Misery may love company, but sometimes a miserable person wants cheering up too. If you’re looking to make a little light of sadness, as I have been, the work of Diana Athill might be the perfect place to turn. The legendary writer and editor is one of a loose cadre of 20th-century English and Irish women authors gaining resurgent attention for their brilliantly drawn characters and sharply witty prose; others in this camp include Penelope Fitzgerald, …