The Open Floor Plan
I have found it easy, in 2021, to see multitudes of daily actions and interactions as problems to be solved. Loads of social media appears incorrigibly ‘as therapist,’ either as a quick fix towards a brighter future or as soothing content to rub aloe over the emotional void; here is a Twitter screenshot of why your ex dumped you / this Substack explains why you feel so unloveable in your mid-20s. Friends become therapists, Twitter becomes therapist, TikTok becomes therapist, mid-century modern is therapy, brunch is therapy, Restoration Hardware is therapy, and therapy is work. There is a lot of noise sans filter for the many ways we can consume content that feels therapeutic. Everywhere I look, I am being influenced by the lesson I should be learning in the passive and active moments of the day. See, clearly, I mean you must have been dense for years (so they say), this is how you should be doing it: sleep is to be performed without alcohol ever, without caffeine prior to 5 pm, without the rustling of a conjugal neighbor cautiously stacking limbs as one might in a sensual and slumbering game of lincoln logs. When you awake, it must be to the music of your state bird, the default Apple alarm being your Metro-pass down the escalator to Hell, and any cortisol injection (both accidental or purposeful) would accomplish the same terrible fate of turning you into whichever parent or guardian your significant other prays you never age into. You can beat back these generational years, this heritage and propensity for morning coffee and unwashed stubble and a lack of sunrise-sponsored vitality, by choosing (within influencer-therapy, all actions and moments occur independent of all others) to walk hand-in-hand with the grace of the day, choosing to eat a handful of spinach with a blueberry for dessert, choosing not to work late hours or work early hours without also beginning with meditation, exercise, a nutritious meal and the next unsung paragraph of a Malcolm Gladwell essay. If you boil water for tea in a copper-plated pot, you have likely ascended beyond the grudge of my writing.
I would like to stop thinking about whether I am fucking up the simple parts of my day. Some time of the day is deserved for total auto-pilot, for unconscious observation and fluid waking slumber; I am worried if I treat every habit as something to break, I begin to tear down the idiosyncrasies that build who I am to this point. I am the friend that drinks espresso at 7 pm; I’ll drink it at 1 am (a warning) if it means I can manage another round of conversation in the soft light of your local dive bar. Perhaps it’s a very young state of mind, to resist the actions that could definitively lower my blood pressure. What can be suffered?