Why don’t you take a moment to silence your brain and think about what you really want out of life? I went to see a college production of Doubt this afternoon, and one line really stood out to me: “Life perhaps is longer than you think and the dictates of the soul more numerous.” I was really quite gobsmacked by the idea. We are made to believe that we can only have one career, one existence, one chance at getting everything right. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Life can be a grand stage with many different acts. I know the one I’m in right now, and I know it’s not forever. And, I know the next act, too, I just don’t know when the curtain will fall and I will transition from educator to Egyptologist or Romanian hay farmer or screenwriter. They’re all equally possible and valid. Life is whatever you want it to be.
Why don’t you give up ever trying to be a morning person? If you’re anything like me, you’d love to rise gracefully at some obscene hour of the morning, sip coffee in bed, take time to do your hair, and enjoy the sunrise before going to work. And if you’re like me, you know that this will never happen. For years, I have tried to fight sleep off in the morning. I’ve gone to bed early. I’ve shunned naps. I will schedule two shifts of sleep, and yet, nothing works. Inevitably, I power through my alarm and rise with only a half hour to get ready (if I’m lucky). I have tried, reader, desperately for two weeks now to rise at five o’clock. It’s only been successful a few times. I have been sleeping more but I’ve never felt more tired. What madness is this? Weep for me.
Why don’t you give up on ever having the Hollywood hair of your dreams and invest in wigs? I talk a lot about wigs for a man who doesn’t own any. I just keep dreaming that one day, I’ll wake up with the shiny Harry Styles waves I crave so much. It’s an injustice, too, because our hair is so similar. It’s literally the same. It should not be this hard to get a bit of bang volume and curl. But it is. I don’t know what animal he sacrificed to the gods of beauty, but we will never have the same hair. Oh well. I can just buy a Harry Styles-esque wig to wear each day. I could buy an entire arsenal and have all my dream hair styles. Then I would shock everybody on the regular with my rotation of luscious locks. One day.
Why don’t you learn a new unexpected skill to impress people when you casually drop it into conversation? I mean, who would expect you knew how to hot-wire a car? Who wouldn’t be impressed by your ability to do a headstand at a dinner party? Who wouldn’t gasp in admiration when you let drop that you can fluently read ancient Akkadian? People are routinely befuddled that I know how to drywall. It’s fun to delight and shock. Don’t let anybody judge you by your cover.
Why don’t you find a way to make global warming useful for us all? Now that we have reached the tipping point, and there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than we will ever be able to manage, we should find a method to create an endless summer. Can you imagine anything more delightful than eating a local, vine-ripened tomato on a Christmas picnic in an area that was once notorious for brutal blizzards? Life is so much better when the weather is pleasant. Or, you know, just solve global warming and I’ll move south.