Thursday, August 25, 2016

234. Colbert and Holland, 1945

I have this playlist I go to when I’m feeling miserable. Specifically, I go to it when I’m feeling miserable about my love life. It’s for those times when you feel like everyone is ahead of you. Everyone is making better choices than you. Heck, everyone is just making choices when you feel like you’re stuck.

One of the songs I listen to when I want to disappear from all that is the song “Holland, 1945” by Neutral Milk Hotel. I like it because Stephen Colbert used it during the finale of the Colbert Show. Here’s a quote from a New York Times column by Maureen Dowd on Colbert:
He had 10 older siblings. But after his father and the two brothers closest to him in age died in a plane crash when he was 10 and the older kids went off to college, he said, he was “pretty much left to himself, with a lot of books.”
He said he loved the “strange, sad poetry” of a song called “Holland 1945” by an indie band from Athens, Ga., called Neutral Milk Hotel and sent me the lyrics, which included this heartbreaking bit:
“But now we must pick up every piece
Of the life we used to love
Just to keep ourselves
At least enough to carry on. . . .
And here is the room where your brothers were born
Indentions in the sheets
Where their bodies once moved but don’t move anymore.”
I love those lines because even though the song is sad, it’s hopeful. You need to pick up things. You’re going to carry on. I also like the song because it’s not morose. It’s fast paced and if you can rock out in spite of the lyrics. I’ve grown to really like those things that can make you feel two different things at the same time.  
Life is full of contradictions. Things can suck, yet be enjoyable.  Things can be sad, yet hopeful. Things can ruin you, yet also set you free. I think I grow the most when I live in those contradictions. I enjoy art that toes the line between two different states. I think that’s why I love Colbert. He’s a guy who could be a total asshole (in character), but in real life he’s an extremely decent and kind human being.
I look back at the last major break up I had and thought about how sad I was. Even though it was the worst period of my life, I feel more balanced now. I still get sad about it sometimes, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good thing that happened.
Live in the contradictions. Even though you might feel like crap, go out and take care of yourself. Do something you love. I’ve narrowed my list down to a few things that I can reliably turn to when I feel awful: soccer, running, cooking, listening to podcasts, going for beers with friends. Find those things.
People are constantly figuring it out. Don’t give up trying to figure it out.

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