If you’ve gotten to know me on any sort of personal level, you’ll know that I watch a lot of tv shows. From Grey’s Anatomy and Girls to Chicago P.D. and Westworld, the act of watching these series has given me a brief respite from everyday life, a way to unwind after a long day at work or after a particularly grueling workout. As Abbi from the show Broad City nicely sums up, I often just want to “get home and watch my shows.”
But, in addition to these mini breaks from life I’ve given myself, I find that I actually am learning valuable lessons from the shows’ characters. I hear Meredith Grey’s voiceovers eloquently summing up what it feels like to suffer a loss, and I see Lena Dunham in Girls normalizing the fact that almost everyone struggles to uncover who they are in their twenties.
It’s these seemingly innocuous moments in the shows that keep me coming back for more. They offer a sense of retrospect on my previous experiences or an opportunity to catalog a series of events that may become more relevant to my life down the road.
This is the very reason why I watch so much tv.
I’d been meaning to write a post for quite some time that explains my love of television, and pop culture in general, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint what I wanted to say. The typical “I don’t know, I just like tv” answer wouldn’t do it justice because I knew there was a deeper reason for it. I just had to find it.
Then I started watching the show Casual, and finally the veil was lifted. I realized that I keep watching in order to have these retrospective thoughts and to have these characters’ life lessons illustrated in a way that could one day come in handy when and if I experience a similar thing.
Casual, a scripted Hulu Original series, is a melodrama about Valerie, a middle-aged woman who moves in with her single brother while she deals with a difficult divorce. Throughout the show, we see the characters often exhibit irrational behaviors that stem from a difficult childhood; both distract themselves from confronting their issues by engaging in meaningless sex with multiple partners.
Although I initially started watching the show simply because my cousin recommended it, there’s one particular instance of dialogue, so minuscule I almost missed it, that illustrates my need for these retrospective moments that I can apply to my own life. One of Valerie’s many casual partners asks her a simple question.
“Can you name the happiest minute of your life?”
Valerie proceeds to tell him her happiest minute (I won’t spoil it in case you decide to watch the show), and I couldn’t help but to ask myself what my happiest is.
After much thought, I settled on the belief that life isn’t defined by one single minute of happiness, but instead a string of many. Maybe right now, these moments of happiness make up only 15 minutes of your life or maybe they make up over an hour of time. I like to hope that when I’m finally ready to leave this world for the next, I’ll have a whole year’s worth of minutes of happiness to look back on. Fingers crossed.
So, here are a few of the happiest minutes of my life thus far in no particular order. I hope my list will inspire your own retrospection and you’ll be able to write down a few of your own.
My Happiest Minutes
- The minute I became content with the idea that I was no longer an only child and I fully embraced my role as a “big sister” (you’re welcome, Nate)
- The minute I walked arm-in-arm with my closest cousin, both of us around the age of eight, singing Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” at the top of our lungs
- The minute(s) my mom told me she was in remission and then eventually cancer-free
- The minute I heard “Welcome to Moe’s” being cheered by the crowd as I saved a shot during my high school soccer team’s state championship game
- The minute I looked out at the Vltava River from Letna Park in Prague as my study abroad roommates opened a bottle of wine in the background
- The minute(s) I spent exploring Santa Monica by myself, particularly when I sat on the pier reading a book and feeling the ocean breeze against my face
- The minute I mustered the courage to eat dinner by myself at a busy Paris restaurant and realized that I’m comfortable being alone
- The minute I stood in a crowded New Orleans bar with my study abroad roommates after a long time apart listening to a talented singer belt out Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly”
- The minute I accepted the offer for my first full-time job after graduating college
- The minute I sat in the bow of my parents’ boat drinking Blue Moon and feeling the sun warm my skin
- The minute I laid my towel down on the hot sand of Bačvice Beach in Croatia after a grueling 13-hour bus ride
- The minute(s) I spent on Saturday mornings sipping coffee with my mom at our favorite café
Although these are only a few of the many minutes of happiness I’ve been blessed to have, I can only hope there will be more to come.
Until next time,