I love when it when I find a story so moving that I have to experience it multiple times. I’m not talking about reading something again and again to understand the facts, I’m talking about something that’s so emotionally moving that I need to go through it again to unpack it all.
I found that after listening to a story from this past weekend’s This American Life. Specifically, the second act. It’s not too long. I’d highly recommend it. Listen to it here...
To sum it up, a dude from Texas calls into a podcast and chats with host Chris Gethard for an hour. It’s easy to see that the caller is not well. He goes to work where bosses couldn’t care less if he actually did his job, goes home, goes on the internet, smokes, drinks, sleeps, repeats. Gethard does his best to pull him out of that.
I wonder how many people are stuck like that caller. The one’s who just go home, drink, smoke, eat and go to bed. I get that people do that. There are days when I just come home and plop in front of a screen. And those are ok… every once in a while. But it’s diminishing marginal returns.
I don’t pretend like I have it all figured out. I don’t have wild adventures every night. I’m not #LivingOnTheEdge. Sometimes I’m just me and the day is uneventful. And that’s ok, as long as you realize that.
I don’t think I know everything. There are nights when I just come home and watch Netflix. I don’t think that’s always necessarily a bad thing. But when does what we love become a medication to get through the day? When does the joy get sucked out of it. I think about that a lot. Am I getting the joy out of life?
I worry about that for the future. I worry that we as a society will become so self-indulgent that we’ll forget about the little joyful painful things in life. I like the idea that we’ll always have comfort in our alcohol, internets, and television, but is it really practical? Is that really what we should be going for?
I went to a bar with my girlfriend on Wednesday night after going to a show. I don’t mean to sound judgy, but there were a few people there who just looked sad. Maybe some people just wanted a drink by themselves, and I don’t blame them. But some people just looked like they did that night after night, hoping they’ll find something there that wasn’t there before.
I take that paragraph back. That sounds really judge. But I wonder how many people self medicate to mask pain instead of cultivate joy. Alcohol masks pain really well, but it’s only that, a mask. That bothers me. I like having a beer every so often as much as the next guy, but I worry when it becomes a crutch too often.
I’m lucky that I know what joy is in my life. I think it’s good to chase it and not let those habits get the best of you.