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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Banishing the Shoulds, Accepting the Wants

Here’s a confession. I have this terrible desire to watch this really cheesy dramedy the 8th Grader introduced me to called “Hart of Dixie.   I like to settle down on the couch with her and ingest a couple of episodes. 

How long will it take for Lemon, who dresses like Doris Day, but is a viper at heart (hart?) to cry in this episode? When will George clench his jaw? And doesn’t Brick (Tim Matheson) look good all these years after “Animal House?” How long until Zoe has to hide in the bushes because she left her pants at Wade’s house? I love it. I do. But I feel like I shouldn’t. 

I should be doing something about my book. I should be drafting a blog post. Or reading something. Like one of the books I have to review. But instead, Sunday, I just piled onto the couch with my child and watched an episode. Or two. Last night - a school night, no less - we did it again.

Why is this such a confession? Perhaps some of you will be saying to yourselves, “What is the big deal? You like to watch this cheesy dramedy with your daughter - so what?” To you I say, “You do not need to read any further, unless you want to hear tidbits about the show. You clearly are already evolved and have learned the lesson I am here to teach.” Perhaps you think this.

To you I say, bless your little selves for lacking the shame that leads me to want to hide my shallow, TV-watching soul. 

To everyone else, I do have two or three justifications for this waste of time. How about quality time with my daughter? I’m not saying high-quality - but quality. Sharing an experience is worthwhile. It promotes connection, and connection promotes contentment. How about relaxing the brain by focusing on something different than my writing projects for awhile? That’s important to stimulating creativity, as is taking a shower, or a walk. 

That’s two. Three might be a stretch. 

Anyway, the point - and I do have one, Readers, and indeed it is my third justification - is that you never know where you’re going to find inspiration. There I was on the couch with the 8th Grader watching, and the husband was making pizza in the kitchen, around the corner, but where he could hear the TV. A scene came up, where shirtless, buff Wade tells off purported surgeon-turned-general-practitioner (GP) in the small town of Bluebell Alabama or North Carolina or Georgia - somewhere southern. As I was saying, half-naked Wade, who’s been having a fling with this supposed surgeon-turned-GP Zoe (all 97 pounds of her, with her heels and makeup on), tells off said Zoe for resisting the things that make her happy because of what she thinks she SHOULD want: being a famous doctor and having a professional boyfriend like George Tucker, Esq, who is also quite a fine looking man, but he doesn’t run around shirtless, sleep with lots of women, and work in a bar. Wade, with the wisdom of the slacker, tells Zoe he has finally lost interest in her, because she refuses to accept what she actually wants (him) and actually loves doing (being a small town general practitioner rather than a stressed out surgeon in NYC, all in high heels and floppy shorts, far too often, I must add). Wade informs Zoe, moreover, that he is going home to sit on his couch and play video games for a couple of hours. And he’s not going to feel one iota of guilt about it, either. 

Well, Readers, just at the moment that Wade’s words whacked Zoe with their homespun wisdom, both the husband and I commented that this was something I could blog about. Because success is not success unless you’re doing what you want to be doing. I mean, it could look like success; but it won’t feel like success. And if you’re doing what matters to you - not to your peers, your father, or your superego - you won’t bother about success anyway. Or happiness, for that matter. You’ll be doing what you want, and thereby making yourself happy. So you’ve got to accept what is important to you, and to set aside all those shoulds.

Thank you, Wade, for your wisdom and your amazing torso. Thank you, Hart of Dixie, for giving me back just a little bit of all the time I’ve invested in you. Thank you, 8th Grader, for being such good couch company and for getting me addicted to this almost, but not total, waste of time. 

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