We are firmly entrenched in our yearly viewing of The Office (American edition) in its entirety so it’s rare that something gets our attention enough to stop watching that and binge watch something else. Netflix’s new series, “Living With Yourself” did just that this past weekend. I mean, who doesn’t love Paul Rudd? Paul Rudd, the man who never ages (if you don’t understand what I mean, take this quiz HERE over at Buzzfeed), the man who was an absolute delight in Ant Man (given that I had incredibly LOW expectations of that particular Marvel movie going in). The man who makes me giggle throughout “I Love You Man.”
So, is this new show dark? Absolutely. Could it have gone darker? Yes it could have but it successfully avoided Black Mirror territory and injected a bit of humor into a ridiculous premise. When we meet Paul Rudd’s character, he is miserable – he’s barely communicating with his wife, his job has lost all meaning, the promise of a baby early on in their marriage has been dashed due to reproductive issues – and so, he decides to drop $50,000 from his shared savings account with his wife (OH THE HORROR and how she didn’t absolutely LOSE it on him when she realized the money was gone I don’t know) to go to a “spa”, recommended by a co-worker with the promise of a happier him. Well it turns out that in order to do that they clone you, the clone lives with all of your memories and they kill the original. However, it’s a big screw-up and Paul Rudd’s original lives so now there’s two of them.
As it goes back through how this happy couple deteriorated into misery, both myself and Aaron started talking about it and how to avoid it. First off, we were INCREDIBLY lucky to have gotten pregnant immediately, both times we wanted to. I have friends who have had multiple miscarriages, friends who have done IVF, friends who couldn’t conceive no matter what they did. The pressure and heartbreak that put on their relationships was something we never had to endure. However, that doesn’t really seem to be the thing that bothers Paul Rudd’s character and I could see Aaron’s wheels turning. The character is unhappy in his job, has lost his mojo, doesn’t have a clear outlook and, while I’ve had success pivoting to a new career in the past couple of months, Aaron is looking for something more. Is it wrong to examine what you do for a third of your life and want it to be meaningful?
Point of the matter is, we have a house, two kids (so, $$$ daycare), food to put on the table, cars that are quickly approaching 100,000 miles, credit cards to pay off. And all that stuff can feel like a vise around your neck which locks you in to whatever miserable environment you go to day in and day out to collect a paycheck. We do it because that’s what previous generations have been told to do. But why can’t we change it? Why can’t you do something you love? In this day and age when everyone can be connected and you can essentially do your job anywhere, why not break free of the four walls (or god forbid, open plan office where you can hear everything down to the nervous throat clearer across the room) you’re stuck in?
I’m not one to tell someone else how they should live their life, even someone whose life is so tightly intertwined with my own. So I posed it to him while we were lying there watching Episode 6: “Figure out what would make you happy work-wise and start small and slow. All you have to do is start with an idea, not a full plan.” And that’s the thing that slows people down or puts the kibosh on any idea because if you look too far down the road and find one bit that could fail, you’re more than likely to just throw the idea out and not change a damn thing. It’s easier to deal with crap than not because at least it’s familiar. “Why do I deserve to do exactly what I want? How am I any more special than the guy down the street who’s doing the same thing I am?” It’s hard to chase a good idea. It’s hard to break out of the norm. It’s hard to allow yourself to hope.
The next day he came to me, and with a giant smile on his face said, “I think I want to write full-time.” And that’s all you need – to take one step towards the big idea. There’s more that needs to be done, networks that need to be built, readership that needs to expand, debt that needs to be paid off before it’s a full-time gig BUT he’s on his way. And he hasn’t been this happy in months. And I love that I get to hold his hand while he’s realizing his dream.
One step at a time. Many small ideas. One big idea. It doesn’t matter as long as you feel like you’re on the right path. Put the oxygen mask on first before your family. It’s not being selfish – it’s your happiness affecting those around you so take care of it and yourself. It’ll seep through in ways unknown and unpredictable and allow you to live the type of life you always wanted.