Friday, October 30, 2009


Yeah, yeah, I'm not very good at updating regularly these days. I'm over it, I'm supposed to be getting a degree, remember?

Anyway, I mentioned that I might write about the other thing I discovered at some point (the first being that knowing you're angry for a bad reason only makes you angrier). So I shall.

I mentioned that my foul mood had been broken "largely due to home-made soup and a new book arriving." This was true. Interestingly, the soup made me happier than the book - I love books of all kinds, and I wasn't even that hungry.

The reason seems to be that it was home-made. Tinned, powdered and condensed soups are probably the work of the devil. Very few things in life are worse than thick, herby, hot ketchup masquerading as tomato soup - making it from scratch avoids this ever occurring.

The same is true of many foods, they taste better if you make them from scratch (assuming you know roughly what you're doing, or you carefully follow a recipe). From soup to lasagna to cheesecake, buying pre-made means buying inferior. Often it also means more expensive and less nutritious.

It's not even limited to food. When I told people I was moving into a hell-hole that needed lots of TLC, bleach and DIY, most of them immediately offered to help with the final acronym (some immediately commented on my overuse of acronyms instead, but I'm not friends with those people anymore). Based on this I'd like to state a postulate.

I suggest that doing things for yourself makes you happier than having someone else do them for you. Especially if a challenge needed to be overcome in order to complete the task, or if there is an obvious reward.

For example, to go back to food, it has long been known that baking has a massive therapeutic effect. It's not the same as cooking (though obviously I'm personally enthusiastic about that too). You don't need to do it, so it isn't a chore to do so - it's an opportunity to use some creativity - and when you're done the reward is cake/brownies/cookies/whatever.

DIY follows a similar pattern. You put in some work to improve something, and then you enjoy the benefits. Perhaps my OCD is all that makes me think that cleaning is the same, and I agree that it is much more obviously a chore, but that's just a mindset, there's no need to suggest it's the right one. Gardening works too - especially if you're growing something you can use (herbs and vegetables are more satisfying to grow than flowers, which are in turn better than shrubs).

Perhaps this is coming back to my standard rant about not liking TV very much. I think more than that it's about hating wasting my time, or being bored. I'm happier when I'm doing something productive, or more generally, when I've completed something worthwhile.

If I ever get depression it'll be because I spend too much time on facebook. The cure is to remove my internet access and give me a cookbook.

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