Plants: I am as guilty as the next fool for placing all my hopes in a terracotta pot. House plants have become placeholders for our more unwieldy ambitions of love, care and success, their yellowing tendrils manifestations of our inability to just, just be cool. Much as it pains me, the time has come to let plants be plants again. To release them from the agony of being our pets, our parents, our friends, our miscarriages, to remove these layers of expectation and simply allow them to lean towards the light.
Wellness: Enough. Enough now, wellness, you’ve had your fun. We have humoured you for long enough, nodding along as you repeated your made-up words at double-speed, while sniffing a lot in between trips to the loo. Sure, you had your moments. That juice was lovely. And I can’t say I didn’t levitate a little with superiority as I tucked into a bowl of lightly oiled courgetti. Yes, these leggings are fine, and lavender smells nice, and certain crystals sparkle beautifully in a bathroom, but not only have most of your claims been loudly debunked, and the vast sums of cash chucked at your feet by vulnerable women been questioned, along with the ethics of spreading unsubstantiated witchcraft in the guise of medical fact, but people have died following your advice. Died. Read the room.
Talking about mental health: Over the past five years, mental health awareness has been promoted and commodified to the point where it appears to have looped back around and eaten its own tail. The point has been swallowed; the focus of the conversation has shifted from its initial aim – to improve the mental health of a country in distress – to the talk itself. Talking which increasingly seems to serve only the privileged talker, rather than the millions of listeners, who, if they gather the courage to call their GPs, will find themselves on a year-long waiting list. Who, if they enter the system will find themselves sent home on a sea of cuts. Who, if they speak out publicly about historical abuse will find themselves jobless, retraumatised, an object of suspicion. What a cruel trick. Talk gets cheaper every year.
Detoxing from tech: A yurt in Wales you say, where the nearest phone signal is 14 miles away, with a single sheepskin rug to sit on as I read “a novel” by candlelight? £1,000 you say? Here, take two! As if the concept of detoxing one’s body wasn’t foul enough, the internet has created a whole new industry to detox the mind, appealing to adults worried that their excellent wifi connection has broken their connection with the real world. They will solemnly purchase new phones that do nothing, download apps to protect their creativities, compose lofty out-of-office replies explaining they will only be checking emails between 3pm and 5pm on a Tuesday. Luckily, as friends tire of their proselytism and stop messaging them, their detox will become far easier.
Hydration: As I type, a million people are reaching for a plastic teat from which they can suckle contentedly. It started with the news that we all needed to drink at least five litres of water a day. A quantity which, when we first heard about it, seemed a lot. Too much, some whispered, but OK, death is bad. Then, more news – the world was ending, because every morning we were dutifully buying five plastic bottles of Evian before chucking them in the bin on the way back from our 18th wee. And so, the advent of the reusable drinking bottle, in aluminium, plastic or glass. As well as becoming a snazzy lifestyle item, it has evolved into a transitional object, transforming grown men into hungry babies, latching on hourly. Brrrr.
Wild swimming: You will have heard by now that jumping into icy water, preferably within view of some trees, will cure your ills. Headache, depression, oily skin, sad hair, itchy scrotum, gout – popping on a little hat and leaping into a pond will make you all better. Or will it? Yes, your head might feel better, but on the other hand, there are the many obscenities, of lowering yourself into water a fish dismisses as too cold and slimy, a torture recognised by Guantanamo, of getting up pre-dawn, and then, after the Lycra-d plunge, desperately trying to warm up barefoot in the sludge of a renowned dogging location. Babe, it doesn’t add up. My additional question is, do you still feel the benefit if you don’t post it on social media?
The endless scroll: Please, thumb, please stop. Please freeze on this screen of potential Netflix films with strong female leads, please pause between Instagram images of kitchens and cats, please cease the horror-scroll down down into the wet depths of Twitter users’ opinions. A psychological RSI has set in, as the relentless onwards journey of a single digit continues in search of something new, in search of the next right thing, the picture that will save us. This too must end.