This year has been a learning experience on so many levels, and that is me trying to put a positive slant on the beginning of the last quarter of 2020. The year that keeps on giving.

One of the biggest differences I noted in people (obviously politics aside) was their approach to the lockdown. To all those people who used that time to deep clean their homes, learn a new language, get into shape, and get to the bottom of their to-do list, I say congratulations. What an inspiring way to spend all those hours isolated from friends and family. I applaud you and your responsible decision making.

I, however, went in a slightly different direction. There was no deep cleaning or new language learning. And, the only part of my body that got a consistent work-out was my liver. But, I did make a substantial dent in my list of “must-see when I have the time” TV shows. And reflecting on it, I seem to have learned a thing or two.

  1. From Ted Lasso: “The happiest animal on earth is the goldfish. They have a 10 second memory.” I could definitely learn a thing or two from the goldfish.
  2. From Hamilton: “Everything is legal in New Jersey.” Enough said.
  3. From The Umbrella Academy: Family is not defined by blood. No matter the circumstances…whether you are brought together by an eccentric bajillionaire or you are lucky enough to cross paths with the people who leave that precious, indelible mark on your life, friends are the family you choose. And also…Life deserves a great soundtrack. Whether it’s The Kinks or Tiffany, music is a key part of every chapter of our lives. You can’t tell me that you don’t have at least one song that immediately takes you back to another time. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad, but always meaningful.
  4. From Space Force: “Someone needs to lead and someone needs to follow but they are both equally on the same team.” More and more I am convinced that life is a team sport. We all have unique abilities that every team needs. Everyone should be comfortable leading, following, delegating, questioning, and trusting. No single part of the team is more important than another, and success depends on remembering that.
  5. From Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich: Money can’t buy happiness. It can buy mansions and islands and private planes, but maybe some of that money should have been earmarked for a therapist.
  6. From The Tiger King: OK. You got me. Nothing learned. Absolutely nothing gained. And I have no idea why I watched it. Twice.
  7. From Schitt’s Creek: Unconditional love. John and Moira not blaming each other when their lives were the most challenging, and instead leaning on the other for strength and support. David and Patrick navigating an unconventional relationship, not perfectly but with mutual respect and unending patience. Alexis and Ted overcoming the obstacles to reunite, only to unselfishly part…not because they didn’t love each other but because they knew it was the best thing for the other person. I aspire to bring even a little of their passion, their dedication, and their unconditional love to the relationships in my life.
  8. From 13 Reasons Why: “You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own.” “No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people.” Working in a pediatric emergency department, I will admit that my first interest in the show was more of a morbid curiosity, wanting to learn more about this series that was rumored to glorify suicide. It is a show that makes you feel uncomfortable because it shines a bright spotlight on issues of mental health that have long been stigmatized or brushed under the carpet. And it didn’t glorify suicide. It showed how one person’s unimaginable pain indelibly impacts so many lives forever. I watched all four seasons and while there are so many great take-aways in relation to bullying, mental health, drug abuse and sexual assault (just to name a few), the point that stuck with me was that you have absolutely no idea what is going on in anyone else’s lives, and there is no place for assumptions or judgment. And every gesture, every word, every text – no matter how seemingly small or insignificant – can have a profound effect on someone. So my goal is to try and make that be a profound positive effect. Be the reason someone smiles. Make someone feel like part of the team. Be better.
  9. From AfterLife: “Hope is everything.” I love the humor of Ricky Gervais. I would be happy if he hosted the Golden Globes forever. Edgy? Yes. Sometimes cringeworthy? Yes. Funny? Always. His dark comedy that follows his character’s journey after losing his wife to cancer shows him at his lowest points and is absolutely heartbreaking at times, but there is an underlying thread of hope that carries you through. Someone once said that laughter through tears is the best emotion (thank you Clairee, Ouiser, and Truvey), and remembering the hope while wiping the tears makes it even better.
  10. From Hamilton: “If you stand for nothing, Burr, what will you fall for?” I’m not proud of the number of times I watched Hamilton after it was released on Disney+, but I loved every minute. And while I could do 10 lessons just from Hamilton, I limited it to just two. I should also confess here that I chose not to watch either of the first two debates. And, in no way is this a political blog (definitely out of my wheelhouse), but if Hamilton taught me anything it is that there is no place for apathy in our country, especially right now. No matter what your views or beliefs are, please vote.

So, while I could have taken this time to learn Italian or take a toothbrush to my shower grout, I don’t regret (all of) my choices over the past months. I do feel like I have earned my professional binge-watching badge (don’t feel bad if you’re still amateur status…practice makes perfect), and I feel like I gained some new insight I can use moving forward.

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go put up the Christmas tree. Hoping it will make 2021 come quicker. Stay well.

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