Nostalgia, Regret and the Coronavirus Lockdown

As I write, it’s day fifty-one of not seeing any other humans. And, just in case you’re reading from the future, I should stress that that’s not purely by choice. We’re in lockdown to avoid spreading a deadly disease. During lockdown, I’ve experienced many feelings. I’ve been through the ups and downs, the spurts of […]

What Your Low Mood May Be Telling You

[this article was originally written for Puttylike] Have you ever entered the doldrums? Not the literal doldrums—the tedious places at sea where winds are few and sailors struggled to escape. I mean those times in life when nothing at all feels interesting.  During these times, I listlessly ignore that stack of books waiting to be […]

Death Anxiety & Change in Life

[this article was originally written for Puttylike] During my regular comedy talk about anxiety there’s an important moment: the first time I mention my experience of suicidality. A hush usually falls on the room, in sharp contrast to the earlier laughter. After a few seconds, I puncture the tension with a simple acknowledgement: “Cheery, this […]

Making Good Choices

[this article was originally written for Puttylike] Making good choices is hard. In fact, there’s only one thing I hate more than not having any choice, and that’s having to make one at all. I feel trapped when I have too few options, and overwhelmed when I have too many. Why are choices so difficult?

How to Be Happy By Understanding Instrumental Values

[this article was originally written for Puttylike] You could make a strong argument that the universe is poorly designed. Don’t get me wrong, I doubt I could do a better job. But, due to what appears to be a mistake in the grand universal design, nothing is purely, unequivocally good. There’s always a trade-off. Sometimes […]

Be Careful What You Wish For: Lessons from an Unusual Opportunity

[this article was originally written for Puttylike] Wishes are dangerous. So every fairy tale tells us. The genie will grant your desires… but too literally. The monkey paw will give you what you want… but with an evil twist. And, just when you think you’re safe, the magic lemming steals your fruit in the night. […]

It’s Okay to Be Bad at Things

“If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” – G. K. Chesterton Last week I was overcome with paralyzing guilt after slightly miscooking a sausage sandwich. Don’t worry—the sandwich was delicious. But even as I was putting it together, a critical internal voice was opining that the pan had been too hot, […]

Doing Things The Stupidest Possible Way

[this article was originally written for Puttylike] Earlier this year an email newsletter inspired me with a new motto: “I’m only doing easy things from now on”. Unfortunately, this wasn’t purely intended encourage my natural laziness. The idea is that doing ‘easy’ things—meaning activities which come naturally—puts us in a state of flow, so we […]

How to Have No Regrets

[this article was originally written for Puttylike] Once upon a time, my parents took me to the zoo. This day is full of memories which have stuck with me ever since—the sunshine, the excitement, the ice cream… even holding hands with my dad, watching eagerly as he unfolded the map. One of the sharpest and […]