Advice

The Anxiety of Doing Anything Marginally Interesting With Your Life

May 15, 2023

A mini manifesto on the art of letting mediocre people be mediocre, especially when they have opinions

There’s a lot of fear around DOING THE WRONG THING.

What if it doesn’t work out?
What if I’m making a mistake?
WHAT IF—hear me out!—what if, I were to do anything marginally interesting with my life, and what if…I let all the people down who were counting on me to be mediocre? Who’s going to be there for them?

I know. It can be so hard, trying to live your own life, but I am here to assure you that “your mentor” who has never left her living room and is now trying to instill fear deep into your asshole is not, to her surprise, actually an expert in doing exciting things. She may know some interesting information about cleaning white surfaces with vinegar, but so does Google: a source that is far-better equipped to help you navigate your big life decisions…especially if you type in “flip a coin.” (Actually, why not type in “askew” while you’re at it and get a real thrill???)

You know what you need?

Some opinions.

These are these stylish, portable little ideas that actually belong to you, that you can take with you wherever you go, and that you can use to justify your own decision-making. It’s very avant-garde! The whole concept is dazzlingly wild, like having YOURSELF in your pocket. Could you imagine actually being able to actually respect your own ideas??? SO INVENTIVE. I’ll admit, it’s only for the bravest of the brave. But, I’ll tell you the good news: you can start getting your very own opinions today, with no money down and 0% interest! And they’re 100% yours to keep FOREVER. They even come with a lifetime guarantee that you will be happier following their advice over someone else’s, which also happens to come garnished with horse urine and cigarette butts. What a weird combo, right? I don’t know who’s making up the rules, but it sure isn’t me. I hate the word “butts.”

So, what’s the catch?

I’ll be honest: it’s not all tits and roses.

The moment you get your own opinions, you are likely to experience some or all of the following side effects:

  1. Glacial, iceberg-sized resentment among those who have not, yet, discovered this magical panacea. 
    I say “iceberg” because even though icebergs are getting smaller thanks to one million monster trucks in Arkansas, they are still PRETTTTTTTY BIG—and that’s exactly the size of the resentment that will build in the minds among those who haven’t ascertained how to wield their own yet. That’s okay, lend them a helping hand with their groceries and then wave fondly from the driver’s seat of your new Ferrari.
  2. Sudden and immaculate control over your life. 
    It’s amazing what happens when you actually decide to do stuff based on your newfound opinions (thank god for these things!) about what you actually want to do. It’s a rip-roaring miracle, really. You will suddenly have more direction, clarity, and motivation than you’ve had since you were fifteen years old, trying to ride in cars with boys. (Peak motivation era.)
  3. A burning sensation in your loins. 
    Not to be confused with other, similar burning sensations, this one is accompanied by the extreme urge to get on a plane, start a new business, try out for parkour, and start a flower shop in France. DO IT! What is France without flowers?! What are you without a flower shop?? This is where having your own opinions really comes into play: imagine all the incredible shit other people would have convinced you out of doing—like scaling the side of Machu Picchu with a hot guy named Rex who is mildly irritating but has nice abs—had you not finally put your foot down and got some of your very own views. Speaking of views, they are excellent from outside the zone of other people’s bullshit. You wouldn’t believe how much farther you can see!
  4. Zero sense of obligation to people you kinda hate. 
    It’s weird when other people you don’t even like somehow take over your life, but with your BRAND NEW SET OF OPINIONS, you are now empowered to confuse the fuck out of them when they ask you to do stuff you do not want to do and you actually say “no” instead of “yes.” These are wild times out there, kids. Use your new abilities responsibly.
  5. SO MANY TURTLENECKS! 
    These are magical pieces of cloth and anyone who thinks differently is either high or under the age of seven. You stopped wearing them because you worried you looked like Diane Keaton at a funeral, but now that you have your very own opinions, you can do whatever you want! This includes: wearing turtlenecks to the supermarket, wearing turtlenecks to bed, wearing turtlenecks to heat up Hot Pockets in the microwave, and absolutely refusing to take off your turtleneck in any sort of unflattering lighting. (Which is basically all lighting after the age of 30.) Good thing the humble turtleneck is here to save the day…and your neck.
  6. And finally: daily hot flashes of total fucking bliss the moment you realize that your life is yours—
    and so is your time, and you can literally do whatever you want RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE, and you can pivot your career, and your goals, and your interests, and even your favorite laundry detergent. (Wow!) Out here in this new wild, wild west of possibility, you can actually reclaim your spine; you can try something new without needing a reason; you can indulge in your deepest fantasies without answering to ANY OTHER PERSON; you can follow your heart; be a real pioneer; fly like the wind; and maybe not be such a sad sack of calcified bull testicles every day of your life. (The options are endless, really: just like your new wardrobe of turtlenecks.)


You can find fresh opinions in Aisle 5 of your frontal lobe.

Offer does not expire.

Results not guaranteed, but can be very exciting for participants who find the inner strength to cut the crap and become their own person before it’s too late and they fade into a murky oblivion of existential despair, regret, and the faint whiff of egg farts, an unfortunate but very real alternative side effect of listening to other people when you should have listened to yourself.

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