The Netflix Fix
At last Monday’s staff meeting, my colleagues and I were coloring. We were tasked with the introspective job of charting our stress and happiness throughout the day. As the line went up, so did stress and feelings of unpleasantness and vice versa. Wavy lines implied a nice rhythmic state, whereas jagged, spiking lines indicated moments of intensity. The line graph was color coded with blue, green, yellow, and red. In our idyllic state, we were composed of undulating, green, blue lines.
My most pleasant moments were charted above the activity: “Netflixing.”
So many of us find solace in lounging about and turning off our minds to binge a show or watch a movie. “Netflix and Chill” might as well be added to an extracurricular list at all age levels. As I traced my finger along my teetering line, I wondered why that part of my day was so satisfying when I was, to no small measure, achieving very little. I thought about the types of shows I watch and the varying genres I lean towards. I soon recalled switching on closed captioning to catch particular moments and lines that I loved. Then I started writing these moments down.
I found that, although I cannot directly relate to a concierge doctor working in the Hamptons nor an immoral 30-something trying to find her way into heaven, I revel in what these characters are telling me. Netflix is this treasure chest of advice. As an avid reader, I collect their advice as if they were from Charlotte Brontë herself. I am watching stories and collecting their morals.
After recording the moments that caught my attention, I found that my collection created the perfect profile of a post graduate. All of these (highly recommended) shows have illuminated my life while I thought my brain was turned off. Our inner thoughts have been captured in the form of very lucrative entertainment.
When we are really feeling ourselves...
"Time to get up! Hey, I have a huge dilemma that I need your opinion on... Am I more beautiful today than I was yesterday? ... I'm just not sure. I mean at first I looked in the mirror and I thought, 'Well, yes, definitely, huge improvement.' Then I thought maybe it's not that I'm more beautiful today, maybe I was just as beautiful yesterday, only I lacked the self-esteem to recognize it."
When we feel ourselves aging a bit too rapidly...
"So it comes down to this, my first stethoscope, a bottle of vintage red, a meaningless engraved pen, a collection of ornamental owls.... since when do I have a cat? 'Where did you come from, cat?' I'm not ready for the cat stage. It's six years too early"
When we try to deny our sensitivities...
"You don't know me. I don't hurt easily." *Bursts out crying* "What is happening?"
(Friends from College)
When we try to explain our love of food...
"'You have my cookbook?' 'Sorry, um, I... I mean, I like to look at the pictures. It feels like I'm eating. Is that sad?'"
(Orange is the New Black)
When we try to find the perfect Tinder date...
"You have the raw sexuality of a jungle cat! But, I'm sorry, I'm just not feeling it. You have the luminosity of a Botticelli! ... But I'm sorry. I'm just not feeling it."
(Jane the Virgin)
When we try to flirt...
"I really like the instrument of the cello. I like the cello a lot, and I don't talk about it a lot but I should because I feel very passionate about it. It's a beautiful instrument. It's like a guitar but it stands up. I once saw a zebra named Gavin give birth at the zoo, and I cried hysterically. And then I bought one of those stretched out pennies that you can get to remember it and then I lost that and I cried again. Sometimes when I smell dust in like an attic or something, like that mothy, dusty, I think about my mother. When I was fourteen I saw my mother change and I saw her whole body naked without underpants on. I really like when a rap song uses a choir. It makes me feel really happy when all those ladies' voices come in and then the guy's rapping - I think it's awesome."
When something is going a little too well...
"'I gotta admit, this is really nice... it's the best day I've had in a long time. ... It's funny though, when something like this is, like, going really well, I get, like, super nervous, like, Oh, when is something bad gonna happen and it's all gonna end?"
When we need to talk ourselves down...
"Okay, let's take a deep breath here, buddy. You need to chill a little. 'Cause you have a very psycho, burnout-guy-muttering-to-himself-at-a-library-computer type vibe... You could stop working. Look ... the way I can help you is to force you to take a break... Recharge the old batteries... Let's go! ... Okay, Crazy, come on."
(The Good Place)
When we finally decide to be healthy...
"So, I have come to the decision that I need to be making healthier choices so I stayed up all night last night and I did some research. And now I'm into, like, all the good stuff. We're talking, like, kabbalah, bee pollen, colonics. Let's see, I learned a ton about Buddhism and, oh, I'm a vegan now."
(Crazy Ex Girlfriend)
When we come to the right kind of realization...
"It's hard trying not to judge yourself. Because we are aware of every mistake. We know our inner doubts, our hidden motivations, our failings. So my wish for next year... is to be easier on myself. Focus less on the bad and more on the good. Really, just give myself a break." (Emily Owens, MD)
So maybe Netflixing isn’t all that terrible! Maybe I am learning something. In which case, here’s to another episode (or 3)!
[Photo by Julie Bloom.]
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