Friday, September 20, 2013

Thanks Louis C.K.

Tad and I watched Conan the other night and Louis C.K. gave this wonderful speech about cell phones.  If you don't want to click on it, I'll tell you.  Basically he said that he's not letting his kids (who are 8 and 12) get cell phones.  Because they don't need them yet.  Because why rush the inevitable time when they'll live, not in the moment but in the constant checking and texting and facebooking moments so many of us live in now.  Because his job is not to make them happy, or do things he doesn't believe in for them just so they don't feel weird.  His job is to nurture the adults they are going to become...

I loved his rant.

I'll tell you why.

What he said rang very true to me.  Life is sad.  Life is so incredibly sad. And sometimes you just get hit with the realization or the thought or the feeling that you are just so very alone.  And that is terrifying.  So we text someone or call someone or go on Facebook to see other people so that we don't allow ourselves to feel that sadness. Or feel that loneliness.

Yesterday I had to go to a breakfast event and as I pulled away from my house I realized I had forgotten my phone.  And at first, I was like...should I go back and get it? But I kept driving.  And I parked at work and walked to the breakfast event (about a mile away).  And on my way there, I just looked at the city, coming alive in the sunrise and sort of just felt it breathing.  It made me want to yell "GOOD MORNING!"  And I was wearing my tennies, my fancy shoes tucked inside my purse to put on when I got there.  That made me feel like a real business lady!  I smiled most of the way there.

And had I remembered my phone, I would not have felt anywhere near that alive.  Because I would have called someone...or texted someone...or just looked at it to remind myself that I could connect with someone...anyone else.  But instead I connected with me.

And then, after the breakfast event ended, because it was supposed to rain, my coworker offered me a ride home.  I looked out the window as we left and said, "No. It looks like it's not raining yet. Thanks! I'll walk back."  And then I got outside and it was raining.  I guess looking out the window into an enclosed courtyard is not a good indication of whether or not it is indeed precipitating.  At any rate, I walked.  And I kind of grinned at people around me and not once but TWICE different business men offered space under their umbrellas at the corners.  And finally it was just me, walking in the drizzling rain and feeling wide awake and happy. I smiled at everyone I passed (and people either smiled back or avoided eye contact with me--really a pretty sane response either way!) 

I stopped and took a picture of my city, glistening wet in the rain and waking up.

And you know, I've done that before,  walked like that, only when I was feeling sad and let that feeling wash over me too. And I have cried like a big buffoon, just cried my eyes out for no good reason at all except that I just felt so tremendously overwhelmingly sad.  It it felt lovely.  How good it feels to feel!  So thanks Louis C.K. for the sentiment.  I want to crash through all the joy and grief and pain and love in my life and really let it in.

And I want to teach my kids to do that too. And I would change one thing about what you said.  I would say that I am nurturing not just the adults that my kids will become but simply the human beings that they are now, from whom they have grown and that they will be.  And do my best to teach them how to be alive.

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