You Don't Have To Be Everything, Everywhere, All At Once
Here's permission to be where you're at.
Prior to the pandemic, FOMO was the bane of my existence. I was constantly fretting over what excuse I’d use to get out of social engagements. And then the world ground to a halt. Suddenly, JOMO (the joy of missing out) was a socially-endorsed lifestyle. What was once considered rude was now altruistic; cancelling on social plans became a heroic gesture, one that might save someone’s life. While loneliness is a real thing—a condition that even the most introverted introverts suffer from—for the most part, I welcomed the excuse to bunker down and socially isolate.
For two years, we didn’t have to everything, everywhere, all at once.
Now, the day I kind of wished would never come has arrived—the world has reopened. Even as someone who likes to be alone, I feel the pent up urge to embrace all that we’ve missed out on. I’ve gotten back on the road, wined and dined… I even put on jeans the other day (who have I become?)! It’s been thrilling to come out of hibernation. A hibernation that for me, started long before the pandemic.
As much as extroverts would frown upon my self-imposed isolation over the past few years, I do think it’s helped me center and ground myself. For me, the rush of stimulation from socializing distracts me from myself; I find myself so dependent on my ego—the version of myself I present to the world—that I can lose my sense of inner self. It’s only in the quiet solitude that I come back to who I really am. And this version of me feels much more resilient—less reactive, less dependent on the opinions of others.
And so, as much as I love doing all the things, and being everywhere, seemingly all at once, I want to make the case for embracing some of that early-pandemic isolation when you feel the need. For the first time in years, I feel that familiar fear of missing out lurking on the edges of my weekends; this sense that with everything reopened, there is a whole world of activity I’m missing out on. But as the past few years have shown me, occasionally missing out wasn’t the worst thing, in fact, it helped me grow; to deepen my sense of self. To go against the grain; to flip your FOMO to JOMO; to defiantly choose spending time with yourself over anyone else, is a brave practice in self-care. While I don’t think it’s good to do all the time, I do think it’s a valuable practice, especially if it scares you.
So if you’re doing all the things, all at once, because we can again, kudos to you. But if a part of you just wants to rest, let this be your permission—you don’t have to be everything, everywhere, all at once.
I used to be obsessed with Blink-182, so naturally I freaked out when the opportunity to write about Travis Barker landed in my inbox. I interviewed the famous drummer on his CBD line, Barker Wellness, which he was inspired to create following a near-death incident in a plane crash in 2008.
The world may have reopened but Americans are still stressed. It’s never been a better time to treat yourself to a wellness getaway. With some of the freshest produce (arguably in the world), endless natural exploration and the country’s pioneering spas—California is an obvious destination for wellness-seekers. I rounded up some of the state’s best hotels for a wellness getaway.
As someone who struggles to get through books that are more than 300 pages, the fact that I finished A Little Life is a testament to how much I loved it. So when I heard Hanya Yanagihara was releasing her second novel—To Paradise—I was quick to put it on hold at the library. I’m 300 pages in and am not sure I’ll make it through to the end.
An even more ambitious story than her first, this one is broken into three sections that span three centuries. The first takes place in 1893, in an alternate version of the United States, where a wealthy young man has a romance with a poor music teacher. The second similarly accounts a relationship between two men from different classes amidst the AIDS epidemic in 1993. The third fasts forward to 2093, to a world plagued by authoritarian rule.
Themes of loneliness, shame and homosexual love run throughout, as does the New York City setting. I want, so badly, to like it, but it’s just not grabbing me like A Little Life did. Are you giving it a go? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
🇺🇸 Structural racism killed Black people in east Buffalo and then the gunman killed the survivors.
💦 The pleasure of a good cry.
🏃♂️ A 63-year-old marathon runner proves it’s never too late.
📚 This is for anyone who has a library of books they haven’t read.
🍳 The plastic paradise of Tokyo’s famous kitchen town.
🍿 On the capitalistic history of movie theatres and their overpriced snacks.
“Nine dollars is a hefty sum for a bucket of popcorn, but a small price for social cohesion and a break from the isolation of our couches.” - Marsha Gordon.
🥋 In another life, Ke Huy Quan (the dad in Everything, Everywhere, All At Once) was a star.
“The picture bears the hallmarks of Quan’s many lives: Hong Kong action (the kind Yuen helped pioneer), melancholy lyricism (as perfected by Wong), and sci-fi fantasy that builds toward cathartic, unifying uplift (which one might call ‘pulling a Spielberg’).” - Bilge Ebiri.
⏰ 24 hours in a creative’s life.
You’ve probably guessed by now that this week’s Best, borrows the title Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, from the film of the same name by the “Daniels” brothers (directors of The Avengers). While I’m not one for over-the-top, sci-fi fantasy flicks, the morale behind the story was too good for me to resist. As the critics say on Pop Culture Happy Hour, it’s “positive vibes without being too cringe.” I knew it was a good movie when I found that after nearly of two hours of pure ridiculousness, I was still brought to tears by the emotional climax.
Wild side effects, fantastical sets and bizarre costumes aside, the emotional thorough line here is the prickly intergenerational relationship between a mother (brilliantly played by Michelle Yeoh) and daughter (Stephanie Hsu). The daughter—queer and struggling with mental illness—just wants her overbearing mother to let her go, the mother—who still resents that her immigrant father let her go too easily—maintains her tight grip. On the surface, the mother and her husband (played by Ke Huy Quan), live their “least optimal” life, as the owners of a laundromat. But what the movie untangles, is whether their alternative lives would really have been any more fulfilling.
I also just loved how the film embodies several different genres and nods to several monumental films (my favorite being Wong Kar-wai’s In The Mood For Love).
It’s been almost 20 years since 13 Going On 30 came out but the movie’s overarching argument still lives on—that by 30, you’re supposed to have it all: the perfect family, the perfect job, the perfect closet.
In the 1950s, sociologists distilled the big, looming discussion of adulthood into a checklist: 1) Completing school 2) Leaving home 3) Financial independence 4) Marriage 5) Having kids. Back theb, most people had checked these boxes off by their twenties, whereas in 2006, only 24% of people had checked off these boxes by 34. Clearly, the age of our milestones has shifted, so why does the “thirty, flirty and thriving” sentiment live on? This episode of The Cut podcast gets into.
One source of comfort—apparently, the research from neurologists suggests delaying life decisions, instead of making people emotionally stunted, can help them grow,
“There are neurological benefits to keeping your life open. If you keep doing things that are new and unexpected, your brain keeps growing and changing, it helps you react better to uncertainty.”
I’m still trying to figure out the significance of the bagel in Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, but in honor of the movie, I’m eating everything bagels, with Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel seasoning, because you can never have too much EBTB right? (Get the recipe here). I prefer my bagels Montreal-style, thinner and denser, but occasionally I’ll do a fluffier one too. When I’m craving something sweet, cinnamon raisin it is. Either way, I’m layering mine with a vegan cream cheese that tastes just like the real thing.
Bonus tip- here’s a diet hack for the next time you order your bagels out.
I leave you with this highly relatable excerpt from Ann Friedman’s newsletter.
Clock: 24 Hours in the Actual Creative Life
this is how it feels some days:
12am - 4am - not dreaming of inspiring things to write about
5am - not waking up to write
6am - not greeting the day with a poem
7am - not drinking a cup of hot water with lemon
8am - not free-writing in our journal
9am - not loving the few sentences we've managed to type
10am - wordle
11am - not knowing whether to call it breakfast or lunch
12pm - not replying to emails
1pm - not writing but hey at least the google docs tab is open
2pm - not completing a 24-min yoga video
3pm - not knowing whether to call it lunch or a snack
4pm - quordle
5pm - not writing
6pm - definitely thinking about dinner
7pm - making dinner while listening to a podcast
8pm - dinner and Frasier
9-11pm - not reading the book that's open in our lap; scrolling instead