Words by Leona McDaid
February 14th, 2017
I’ve been meaning to write this for quite a while. Truth be told my Editor has been more than patient with me with this long awaited review.
The irony has not been lost on me. In short, the whole premise of Annmarie O’ Connor’s latest book The Happy Medium is about somehow striking a balance to find the elusive “happy medium” in our lives.
Who has time you may ask? When you work for a fast paced fash-tech company such as maven46, finding the happy medium in your everyday life can seem like another thing to add to your to-do list. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the self proclaimed “inexpert expert” is that we owe it to ourselves to make the time.
It speaks volumes that an English Literature graduate such as myself, had to consciously block out time in my life to read a book from start to finish in a speedy fashion.
When I was younger, I devoured books but back then there were fewer distractions. These days, I’m more likely to read a book while on holidays, bank holiday weekends or spread out over a few weeks, grabbing ten minutes here and ten minutes there while commuting or waiting for my train.
The Happy Medium highlights that modern day living has become one long endless distraction where an always on mentality is not only the norm but expected. You dare to switch off from the world for a couple of hours- why weren’t you answering your phone? The option to opt out is no more. The expectation to always be on, or to always be available, is not only exhausting it’s infringing on our authentic selves.
This book was a wake up call for me. I’m so distracted by my digital life getting into the “flow” to read The Happy Medium was a challenge. I had a sense of underlying irritability or a “something to do” anxiety with my self-imposed “digital detox” in an attempt to be fully in the moment.
And so The Happy Medium is more than a self-help book, it is a frank yet practical guide on reclaiming your time in the hectic times we live in. It is also a book I will be referencing for some time to come. It blows modern conventions wide open and puts the spotlight on the sillyness of it all.
Filled with insights from philosophers old and new, The Happy Medium is about achieving your idea of happiness on your own terms. Full of useful exercises and confession corners, O’ Connor imparts her nuggets of wisdom based on her personal experiences. Almost like a wise friend who seems to have cracked the code to well being and is now sharing her pearls of wisdom to the world.
With humour, the egocentric selfie gets some stick, the constant need for more and more is questioned, and the growing need for external validation is explored.
The path to your happy medium is not as hard as it sounds; a blend of gratitude, kindness, connection, reflection seems to be the way to get there and there’s plenty of practical advice to do just that- this is a book that encourages you to step back and take control.
And if you ever need a selfish excuse to be more kind to others this might be it- “kindness is a proven anti-inflammatory that is linked to anti-ageing benefits.”
The Happy Medium is published by Gill Books and is priced at €14.99.
Seeking your Happy Medium? We’ve got one copy to giveaway for one lucky reader. Head over to our Instagram page for your chance to WIN a copy!
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