The year is 1994.
- In February, the film Reality Bites debuts, designed to chronicle the unique experiences of a new generation.
- In April, Kurt Cobain – the reluctant voice of that generation – is found dead from a self-inflicted shotgun blast.
- And in September, a new show called Friends premiers on NBC, becoming the surprise sitcom for a generation.
Shortly thereafter, everyone forgot about Generation X. But for a brief, shiny, traumatic moment, all eyes were on us.
Friends wasn’t just a show about Gen Xers, for Gen Xers. Gen Z adores the show thanks to streaming, while Millennials got hooked via syndication. It’s ultimately about transitioning to adulthood, when for a period of time your friends truly are your family.
I have a confession. During its broadcast run, I was one of those “too cool” Gen Xers who refused to watch Friends.
Underemployed (all white) people in spacious Manhattan apartments who spent an incredible amount of time sitting around in a coffee shop. Yeah, right.
As I got older, my edge softened. I ended up watching the series all the way through a couple times, and truly enjoyed it.
In the last few years, I started falling asleep to Friends. It gave me comfort to hear those familiar voices when winding down, especially as the world seemed to be going off the rails.
Chandler is my favorite.
How could he not be? Chandler is me at my self-actualized sarcastic best.
Let’s face it, if one of the cast was going to die too soon, it was going to be Matthew Perry. His past struggle with addiction is difficult to fully comprehend. It’s hard to believe that the human body can survive that level of abuse at all.
That’s the thing that hurts. He got sober. He stayed sober. But the damage was done.
I don’t really have some grand point to make here.
All I’m saying is if you’re missing Chandler and the brilliant, troubled man who brought him to life, you’re not alone — and it’s okay. We were raised on television, after all.
He was our friend.
The First of Our Friends to Go (New York Times)
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Fight Obesity Organically
The medications Ozempic and Wegovy are helping people lose dramatic amounts of weight, apparently by mimicking a hormone that our bodies naturally make when we’re eating food. Here’s how to stimulate that hormone without the drugs.
Want to stock your shelves to set you up for quick, nutritious meals? Look no further than these nonperishable canned foods that pack a nutrition punch.
Now that the Federal Reserve has increased its rate by more than five percentage points and bond yields have recently climbed steeply, we’re all wondering when interest rates are going to go back down “to normal.” The answer likely is, they aren’t. This is a return to normal after 15 years of short-term rates near 0%.
The fullness of life is often revealed in simplicity. That’s not an argument for always having or doing less. But when you slow down and do less, you’re able to fully experience things instead of rushing through them to do more.
How Simplicity Reveals Life (Zen Habits)
Taking Back Snoopy as Our Emotional Mascot
By Trudi Roth
It’s no secret that our kids have co-opted the pop culture of our youth — who can blame them? From Star Wars to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to TV shows like Friends (😢) and the music and tech we innovated, our formative years bridged the gap from the “good old days” to today’s chaotic postmodern world. As Brian once pointed out:
As the father of two Gen Z teenagers, I see — for better or worse — that we created the framework they inhabit. There’s nothing they’re down with that shocks me, and I can explain (to glazed-over eye rolls) the influences that inform their obsessions.
Still, there’s something excellent about our kids resurfacing our touchstones, especially how it ushers in nostalgic feelings when we need them most. The latest viral TikTok account, Snoopy Sister (@Snoopyiscool), revives the pop existential perspective we were raised on starting in 1965 with A Charlie Brown Christmas. In the face of a mounting polycrisis, we can find inspiration in the iconic comic Peanuts to help soothe our inner turbulence.
What Dogs Us
Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz couldn’t have foretold today’s troubles, but he could certainly relate to living in challenging times. As Blake Scott Ball, author of Charlie Brown’s America: The Popular Politics of Peanuts, notes:
The comic ‘was about the difficulty of existing as a regular human being in the 20th century … just how hard it is to handle the immensity of problems that faced us, and hold all that together with your daily concerns.
Reconciling that divide isn’t simple. When you witness tragedies from afar by taking in the news, your body and mind react as if they were there in a response psychologists call “vicarious trauma.” This can make you feel depressed, anxious, hopeless, and helpless, leading to paralyzing apathy, which can compound and prolong the pain.
When your anxieties have anxieties, it’s time to take a page out of the Peanuts playbook.
Stay (Joe) Cool
Snoopy is a great role model not just for our kids but also for us when times are bleak. His defining features and go-to activities are the kinds of things necessary to take care of yourself during tumultuous times:
- Don’t bottle up your feelings: You don’t have to talk to let your emotions fly (i.e., crying, even at a party).
- Maintain a regular routine: Keep things like suppertime sacred.
- Adopt healthy coping mechanisms and take breaks: Skip the booze and do things that bring you joy (i.e., read, write, dance)
- Ask for help: Rely on your friends, family, or a good therapist.
And remember, happiness is a warm puppy. So stick there, and you’ll find yourself less likely to feel the urge to scream Good Grief!
The Hero Gen Z Needs (The Atlantic, gift article)
Split Enz – I Got You
True Colours, 1980
When Neil Finn of New Zealand band Split Enz wrote I Got You based on a title given to him from his brother Tim, neither thought they had a hit. The song ended up topping the Australian charts for 8 weeks, and become the biggest selling single in Australian history at the time. Neil Finn would go on to found Crowded House in 1985. (YouTube)
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