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The Secret Life of You by Kerri Sackville

For many people, their twenty-first-century lives are filled with busyness, noise and connection. Smartphones, social media, streaming and podcasts, as well as the demands of family, work and society keep them involved and connected. On a busy treadmill of daily living and constant engagement with people and activity, they also can be filled with deep loneliness, dissatisfaction and unhappiness which paradoxically is created in large part by the pressures and constant connectivity of modern life.

Kerri is an Australian writer who has discovered that focussing on and valuing time spent alone has improved her quality of life, whether we call that happiness or life satisfaction, in very meaningful ways. Kerri's unexpected marriage breakup precipitated the awareness of being alone, and it was further fuelled by her Covid lockdown experiences. As well, Keri shares other life experiences, such as losing a very close sibling, bringing up three children, and having a career as a writer to make this a very personal perspective.

However, she does also take a wider view and starts by defining what it means to be alone, whether that means being physically isolated from others or in a crowded room. She looks at the way society views the lone person as problematic and the effect of social media on our relationships.

She shares how alone time can enhance well-being, raise self-awareness and resilience, increase creativity and improve relationships and suggests a variety of ways to embrace the state of being alone as a positive addition to our lives. These ways include spending time in nature, better managing social media, taking time to care for ourselves, finding ways of enjoying being single and encouraging our children to enjoy the benefits of spending time with themselves.

The byline that refers to “a bit” of alone time is to be commended. Being alone for some people can be like walking down a long corridor of loneliness into a dead end, isolating, restrictive and limiting. And this is not a book for people who are in this situation and whose life is unbalanced by being physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually alone.

But for those who can identify with the author's experience of life, for those who suddenly become aware of feeling lost in a crowded life and for those who have so many connections that they struggle to find space to be themselves, the author offers a useful viewpoint and an encouragement to reconnect with our inner selves and thus enrich our lives.

Reviewer: Clare Lyon

Pantera Press


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