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I’m 19 and I’ve lost my sparkle for life. How will I ever get it back? | Dear Mariella | Life and style

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The dilemma I’m a girl, I’m 19 and I never get excited about anything. It’s been years since I’ve felt that sparkle, even though I’ve done things and been to places that I really liked and that changed me in a positive way.

My bucket list in life is very long and full of diverse activities and trips, but I never seem to enjoy that much when I’m doing it. I usually only realise how good it was afterwards, and I feel lucky about what I had experienced, but my heart never beats fast.

Friends get excited over small and silly things (and God knows it’s healthy, I am not judging) while I keep getting bigger chances than them and never feel that good. I do realise I’m lucky to have a supportive and wealthy family, and many friends. I am even good looking.

I’ve been depressed last year, and even though I am much better now, it seems to me that the only thing missing is the step from “glad” to “excited”.

Will I ever feel the sparkle again? If I don’t now, will I when I am old?

Mariella replies Even before! And you don’t need to sit around twiddling your thumbs and waiting for divine intervention; you can get cracking on reviving that sparkle right now. This is a common problem, increasingly so among younger people, and although it can often be linked with clinical depression it’s also perfectly possible that you’ve just lost sight of the things that make you happy.

For the clinically depressed or terminally myopic it can be hard to separate the challenges faced by others from our own near-the-knuckle woes. When you wake up in the morning and find you’re not moved by birdsong, or moved to tears by the sight of an old couple holding hands, or a kid touching sand for the first time, it’s a good thing to start looking for what’s afflicting you.

I’m so sorry to hear that your capacity for pleasure is so depleted, but you need to understand that what you describe as being lucky isn’t the pass to happiness you assume it to be. There’s nothing wrong with failing to use your privilege as a weapon against joylessness: the two are closer linked than you might imagine.

You say your parents are wealthy, and perhaps that’s an issue here. I’ve always wondered how my work imperative and, through it my enjoyment of life, would have fared if I hadn’t needed to make a living and step far beyond my comfort zone in order to do so. There’s a frisson of danger that you can’t easily conjure up when jeopardy is not a paycheck away.

First, though let’s talk about that depression which can’t be discounted as a considerable contributing factor for your malaise. You don’t tell me whether you’ve been treated for it, but I would strongly recommend that you do talk to a professional – contact your GP, or Mind (mind.org.uk) and make sure you have a support system in place. Depression is an epidemic that recognises no socio-economic borders and no matter how #blessed you feel it can seize you in its grip.

That said, as I mature (disconcertingly speedily) and become an irritating know-all, I’m increasingly conscious of the failure of my generation to instil resilience in our children. Don’t get me wrong, my friends, acquaintances and colleagues have offered spectacular opportunities to their offspring: helicopter-parented them through exams; filled in their college forms; scrimped and saved to supply a deposit for their first flat; and endeavoured to be there for them through every pitfall and passion project, every friendship failure and broken heart. And guess what? It could be that we’re causing equivalent damage with our goodwill as was inflicted by the neglect and ignorance of previous generations’ parenting.

It seems to me that because we parents haven’t got a clue, we’re frequently over-compensating for a perceived absence of care in our own pasts that may actually have been a blessing. I wonder if my generation’s sustained efforts to bring our children up in the protective circle of our embrace has left too many kids, like you, struggling to work out how to find their own pleasure in the world.

There’s one good reason to seek joy in life and that’s simply because you are lucky to be alive – and the challenge is what best purpose to put your time to. Look around, step beyond your comfort zone, delve deep into issues you might not have thought about engaging with and don’t imagine that just because you’re surrounded by privilege you are churlish for not being happy!

When you find your own priorities in life you’ll understand how subjective they are. Life will always have its ups and downs so when you lose sight of the sparkle it’s time to change your perspective and look further afield for inspiration. There’s a big, wide world out there that you can make an impact on, but right now small steps towards discovering your purpose are all you need to worry about.

If you have a dilemma, send a brief email to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @mariellaf1

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Micro review: ‘Leave the World Behind’ by Rumaan Alam

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‘Leave the World Behind’ by Rumaan Alam is a riveting suspense that will keep you hooked.

This interesting book is hard to classify into one genre. It starts with a middle-aged couple from New York going on a vacation with their two teenagers. They choose a lavish Airbnb in a fairly remote area and are horrified one night when a couple comes knocking saying the house is theirs. They say that there has been a blackout in New York and which has seemingly spread here as well. The house had no TV and now there is no internet so there is no way of finding out what is truly happening in the outside world. The two families have to live together uncomfortably as they suspect each other and question what is happening constantly.

The narration is from a third-person omniscient point of view and even shows the reader what is happening outside the bubble both the families are living in. The writing is excellent, detailed yet suspenseful. Some details that seemed tedious in the beginning turn out to be significant later on. The book highlights how fear affects people, the protectiveness one has towards family and the uncomfortable racial biases all have in America. It’s a suspenseful and enjoyable read.

How critics view the book:


“If the first half can turn a mirror on you, the second half will shatter it . . . Undeniably haunting”, wrote New York Times

“Like Stephen King’s 1980 novella The Mist, Leave the World Behind expertly illustrates the horror of the unknown, the almost painful humanity we feel when facing down the end and, of course, human nature under duress. During an era of plague, racism, hatred, and division, this tale of a vacation gone awry is terrifyingly prescient,” reviewed Rolling Stone


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Coronavirus: What counts as ‘close contact’ to someone with COVID-19?

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The expansion of definition was caused and based on a report that said a 20-year-old Vermont correctional officer, who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 in August, had had 22 interactions in an eight-hour shift – for a total of over 17 minutes – with various individuals, who later tested positive for the virus.

The CDC reports also emphasize on factors other than time in assessing close contact. According to them, it’s also important to consider whether or not the infected person had noticeable symptoms at the time of the exposure, whether or not the infected person had expelled respiratory aerosols containing the virus and other environmental factors that could make infection more or less likely, such as ventilation and crowds.


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Kajol’s white sari with yellow and pink border is our festive pick for the week

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She is not only one of the most talented actors in the country but also the most graceful one. Indian film actress Kajol is a simple dresser but we love her elegant sartorial picks. And, when it comes to flaunting saris, nobody can beat Kajol at rocking the nine/six yard drape. Right now, we are crushing on Kajol’s latest sari look which you can’t afford to miss if you love saris.

With festive season on, all you sari lovers must be hunting for the ideal sari and guess you will love the one flaunted by the Bengali-Marathi beauty.

Kajol, who’s currently in Singapore giving company to her daughter Bysa, who studies there, shared a picture of her dressed in Durga Puja refinery. The actress donned a simple white sari with a yellow and pink border.

She teamed up the elegant sari with a gold embellished blouse that had a tassel behind it and pretty chandbalis, and we think this could be the best festive look for someone who likes minimalism.

Kajol finished off her look with a loose bun and a tiny bindi, well she doesn’t need anything else to look beautiful than than her charming smile.

We loved Kajol’s simplistic look and it’s one of our favourite looks this festive season, tell us how did you like it in the comment section below.


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