Dear KOM-ers! We’re so happy to feature a new book giveaway!
Please enjoy this excerpt from “Why Bother?” by Jennifer Louden – a long time friend of KOM. Lara and Jennifer sat down to talk about those points in everyone’s life when you start to wonder why you should bother – including those times in Lara and Jennifer’s life – and best of all, what to do about them! Enjoy the interview and except, and enter to win your free copy – or purchase it anywhere you purchase books on May 5th, 2020!
There are 2 ways to enter to win your FREE copy – your choice of audio book or eBook:
- Leave a comment below with your email address (so we can contact you)
- Email us at KOMWriting@gmail.com with the Subject: Why Bother? giveaway entry
Winner will be randomly selected on 4/13/20 and announced on our website and social media. *
Why bother reading this book? Because you’ll answer the most important question of your life.
How do you bother after heartbreak, after professional defeats, after loss, after sidelining your dreams to raise kids or take care of aging parents? How do you move forward when your to-do list is checked off – and you can’t find the energy for more? And why does anything you do matter when the world seems in such dire straits?
Personal-growth expert Jennifer Louden faced these questions after a few hellish years that included grief, creative faceplants and divorce. “Why bother?” she asked herself as she spun into a good old-fashioned existential crisis. That question dragged her down into meaninglessness – until a scary coincidence jolted her awake. What if she actually tried to answer the question?
Jennifer realized “Why bother?” is not cynical or ungrateful, but a challenge to open your mind, your heart and your life. In her latest, most profound book yet, Jennifer guides you as you follow where the question leads, as no one wants the alternative – giving up, shutting down or phoning it in. It’s time to reclaim the dignity and beauty of your desires. It’s time to get your bother on.
Excerpt: Part 1 – Why Bother Indeed
Asking “Why bother?” is inevitable. It’s baked into being human. And it’s time to notice: how are you asking the question?
“Why bother?” is a pseudo-question, already answered in the negative by resignation. The why bother many of us know all too well insists “you can’t, it’s been done, it’s far too late and you don’t have what it takes.” It uses cynicism – the planet’s dying, why bother? – to bolster its case that nothing you can do really matters. It replays the good old days followed by a chorus of if onlys and everybody else can but you. It beats you up for wanting more while at the same time it discourages you by insisting there isn’t any more to be had. And conveniently, why bother has political and corporate corruption, environmental disaster, economic injustice, and the way your brain is wired to bolster its case at every turn.
Why bother’s most familiar side is a grubby bummer, defined by despair and punctuated by long sighs. It shows up as emptiness, blame, numbing out, coasting, complaining, “starting something and then stopping. The desolate kind of why bother means looking only in the rearview mirror of your life, back at your story that no longer makes sense to you or has been taken from you. Or, if you’re younger, you may find yourself looking into the future and believing all the good stuff of life is either out of your reach or no longer exists. It’s letting grief over past losses and traumas devour your future. It’s giving up on believing there is more for you, a more that can be as satisfying, as enlivening, as meaningful, as beautiful as what has come before or what has yet to be. It’s choosing comfort and routine over aliveness and growth. It’s believing your story of what’s not possible more than the bracing reality of taking action. It’s knowing you’ll never hear the voice of your beloved partner or friend or parent again – and refusing to listen for anything else. It’s too much sugar, too much wine, too many nights watching hours of TV, or too much partying when you want to be dancing or writing or learning the names of the constellations. It’s pointlessness, apathy, embitterment, disappointment, dismay. Perhaps, most of all, it’s disgust at yourself for being here in this haggard blank ick.
What most of us have never learned is that why bother is one of the most important questions we can ever ask. It’s natural, even inevitable. It’s baked into being human. It’s the question that can drag you down or guide you to what you want, to the desire that animates and enlivens your what’s next. It’s all in how you ask.
I’m not talking about surface-level wants. There are only so many shoes, cupcakes, glasses of sauvignon blanc, and murder mysteries – as well as promotions, houses, cars, and awards—a person can enjoy before they want more out of life. And that’s what we want: more. More satisfaction, more significance, more engagement, more intimacy, more creativity, more love, more connection, more aliveness. Your brain is wired to make meaning and it does that by constructing an ongoing narrative about why you do what you do and why it matters. Even as neuroscientists and philosophers gather to debate whether or not we have free will, whether or not we have a fixed self, and whether or not being human is the special be-all and end-all we’ve spent millennia convincing ourselves it is, even still, our brains seek meaning. You do that by creating a narrative. You can’t turn your brain’s story-making machine off.
Your mission is to create a new story that nurtures a flourishing and fulfilled future. The idea that it’s just a story makes some people uneasy but when you step back, all human culture is based on a story. Democracy is a story. Marriage is a story. A company’s culture is a story. Religions each have a story. What often entangles us in the desolate kind of why bother is being unwilling or unable to do the work of writing a new story that we can wholeheartedly love. What you want – and must have – to bother again is a story you believe in.
And lest this all sound like a shit ton of work and you’re ready to shut this book and binge some Queer Eye, I’ve got great news. You’re already doing it.
Yep. You’re already bothering again. You’re already in the process of renewal and revitalization that’s built into being human, an organic creative process that, when you work with it and relax into it, will take you back into liveliness, zest, and enthusiasm for your real desires – or help you find them for the first time. Contrary to what you think, you’re not becalmed in a why bother wasteland. This is not a forever state. You’ve answered the call and the process has already begun. Take a breath and know that bothering again is in progress and it’s going to rock your world.
In my various sloughs of despair, starting in my mid- twenties, I told myself an “I failed” story – failed at screen-writing, failed at self-help, failed at marriage, failed at novel writing, failed at parenting, failed at being a good friend, failed at living fully. . . and on my list would go. But each of those “failures” was in fact a tale of desire denied or truncated, an opportunity to write a new story that I turned away from because I was too timid or too addicted to comfort, or I was trying to be somebody important or afraid of being broke. I did things like insist my desires look a certain way and were completed “successfully” within a totally unrealistic time frame. I forgot that the purpose of desire is to draw us forward into living, into what captivates us – not to help us attain a particular career or creative goal or get paid more or even to stay married or find lasting love. I forgot that every major transition requires rediscovering desire; without that, I faltered. I forgot that what I bother about is always my choice and that I must actually choose, instead of looking outside myself for what to do next and then pretending it was my choice.
* By entering this contest, you give consent to Kind Over Matter to use your name for promotional purposes on our website and on all social media.