A version of this article appeared in this week’s “It’s Not Just You” newsletter. SUBSCRIBE HERE so you don’t just get delivered to your inbox every Sunday.
🌞 So hello! I am so glad you are here. This week I have some thoughts on resolutions, ideas for finding winter joy, and the story of a waitress who with a little help survived COVID and is now paying her on. And of course a comfort dog.
Get started with NETFLIX
It is the time of year when we are usually forced to make unusually ambitious New Year’s resolutions. I would argue that under these circumstances it feels like an achievement to remain sentient up to this point, and we could probably take the search for self-improvement lightly for the next year. But you know we are already planning your reset.
I only have one solution and it’s an embarrassing one. My goal in 2021 is to break up with Netflix – our relationship is out of control. So, let’s go:
I didn’t know how much you would mean to me when the pandemic started.
I hadn’t looked at your home page in months, but saw Ozark in March. And after that I felt like you finally caught me. Your algorithm understood that I was the only one in the country who wasn’t reassured by the Great British Baking Show or Gilmore Girls. They knew I really needed a black mirror or Killing Eve in a national emergency.
Until June I visited you every evening hungry for some other paranormal practice, a genre I didn’t know existed until you serve it up.
I tried to negotiate with myself and vowed I would only spend time with you when I was on my new pandemic exercise bike. These were the days when we thought that ordering at home was also a once in a lifetime chance to band together, develop good habits, and stop all your glitches.
I’ve been on that bike for almost all eight seasons of Dexter. the show about a police blood spatter analyst who is secretly a serial killer who kills serial killer. It was the ultimate cardio multitasking. For a while I thought:
“Netflix, you are really good for my health! This could be the relationship I’ve been waiting for. “
We learned so much from each other – or rather, you learned from me. They knew you should propose shows about Australians returning from the dead in perfect health, as well as The Crown. What’s the common thread between these, but your algorithm did.
By June, the work video meetings had multiplied so much that my zoom fatigue turned into zoom paranoia. And the country began to detach itself from the burden of the pandemic and a long overdue race bill.
I was too tired and sad to get on my bike. Just wanted to curl up with you and see the comforting justice of an old Law & Order: SVU episode or the twisted morals of the old Twilight Zone. I would retire to my bedroom earlier and earlier to spend time with you and avoid anything else.
Late that night, I would just whisper an episode on the screen. One would become two or three. And then
I would wake up at 2am and you would be there and ask, “Are you still watching?”
And instead of falling back to sleep, I kept slipping into a haze of rewind, doze, wake up, and rewind as I tried to watch the parts of an episode I slept through. Each time the crucial scene was missing that explained why the whole cast suddenly cried in a helicopter.
There were other signs that our relationship was becoming unhealthy. I don’t think the 36 hours I spent with young Hannibal Lecter were good for my soul. I blame you for introducing us.
I am ashamed to think of all the productive things I could have done on Netflix with the 400+ hours we spent together this year.
I’m starting to believe that you’re holding me back You might be the only thing standing between my lumpy pandemic me and the incredibly organized and sane woman I was sure I would be now.
This is why I told my browser to block you in September. I only lasted a few days: watching cable news on Hulu is worse than watching a Swedish vampire movie. And your constant notifications of a hilarious, dysfunctional single mom or the hot French detective show were irresistible. I would promise to just watch on my bike, but after one episode I was back on the sofa and played the other 20 episodes in the middle of the night.
I don’t even know who I am these days without the bittersweet anticipation of a limited edition series. Plus, the dog and I get chunky.
But let’s be honest. I can’t leave you, cold turkey. Not at the beginning of this terrible winter. I can’t even stop buying chocolate every time I leave the house. Experts also say that incremental changes are better than dramatic resolutions.
So let’s try and Make this a healthier relationship. Perhaps instead of fueling my darkest tendencies with your “slow burns” and “threatening” proposals, your algorithm could sneak some more cheerful shows about couples who aren’t zombies in the closet or run a local heroin syndicate? Maybe you could find a DIY show that I don’t hate. Just don’t be mad at me, Netflix. Remember, this whole thing started when you first said, because you saw Ozark. 💌
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COPING KIT ⛱️
😊 6 ways to find joy in this bleak winter From the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen.
According to experts who say setting big goals this year could be counterproductive, why shouldn’t you make New Year’s resolutions?
🌮 And a word from Ludacris:
You see, I want a lot.
Maybe I want it all
the darkness that comes with every infinite fall
and the trembling fire of every step.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
Another way to think about your New Years resolution Many of us will make our lists of things that we want to change, be or achieve in 2021. Read Glennon Doyle’s critically acclaimed memoir, Untamed, for hard-earned wisdoms about pursuit.
I am a person who should be in constant growth. If I live bravely, my whole life will be a million deaths and rebirths.
How are you feeling this winter Send me your thoughts and suggestions at Susanna@time.com
PROOF OF HUMAN GOODNESS ❤️
Here’s a little reminder of why building a network of support and personal connection benefits everyone.
This story was kindly provided by Shelly Tygielski, the founder of Pandemic of Love, a mutual aid community that brings together those who want to help directly or volunteer with those who have asked for help with essential needs.
Jennifer, a single mother and waitress from Asheville, North Carolina, She was already registered for help from Pandemic of Love in July when she was diagnosed with COVID-19 and sent home for several weeks. She explains:
I rely on tips to get through and although it was still slower than usual due to the pandemic, I managed to squeak past – then I got sick and everything started to break down. I didn’t know how to feed my children
Suzi Israel, the head of the Asheville Pandemic of Love chapter, stepped in and helped Jennifer find a donor for groceries, utility bills, and overdue rents. After recovering and testing negative for the virus, Jennifer returned to work and has been the Pandemic of Love’s best ambassador ever since.
Last week while waiting for a local couple She told them all about her experience with the organization and they asked if she could connect them with Suzi. The couple, so touched by Jennifer’s passion and story, later called Suzi and arranged to meet her the next day to give her $ 1,500 grocery store gift cards to distribute to other food insecure local families for them to eat for the holidays. The chain of friendliness never ends – it is always paid up front.
Learn more about how to give or receive help from Pandemic of Love here.
COMFORT DOG 🐕
Our weekly recognition of the creatures that help us weather the storm. To meet TEDI the schnoodle shared by STEVE.
Send photos, suggestions, or comments about comfort animals to Susanna@time.com
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