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I think we all incur stress in different ways. I know that I beat myself up about the state of my education, or how I’m ‘not as funny’ as I used to be. People beat themselves up about their bodies, or their personalities, or anything until it graduates into some sort of undeserved stress. We’ve all been there, in our first week of term (whether this be college, university, a new job, etc.) crying on our beds because we don’t think we can manage all this work that’s being thrown at us, right? Although that might just be me. Other humans probably take a more sensible approach – like actually trying to do the work they’re supposed to…
Over the course of a university year, it is inevitable that you will find yourself endlessly watching TV series to procrastinate as much as you possibly can. One of these series, turned to in an hour of procrastinating need, that always fascinated me was The Simple Life. Now, I’m no reality TV junkie, but I do watch TV to give my mind a rest. That’s exactly what The Simple Life did. Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie – two of the world’s arguably least deserving heiresses – taken from their L.A. lives, set to work in the redneck depths of Arkansas. In the first episode you hear multimillionaire Paris ask a shop assistant ‘Can I charge this to my mom’s credit card?’ I found myself watching these blonde heir-heads flit about, finding simple tasks impossible, failing nearly everything they did. And you know the best part? They just didn’t give a fuck.
Now, I’m not trying to glamorize laziness or ignorance, but just think about that life. I (and I know many other students too) stress about everything. Rent, inadequate student loans, exams, how there are only two bottles of wine left in my room, the sad ratio of the number of condoms I own to the number of boys I’ve taken back to my room, etcetc. The magic ingredient to Paris and Nicole’s stress-free lives isn’t their millions of dollars – though I’m certain that’s what caused it – it’s their blissful ignorance. Everything appears trivial and disposable in their eyes. If a job seems impossible to them, they refuse to be stressed by it, whatever the situation. And that’s what we should learn from them.
Very few of us are millionaires, though we might feel like it when our loan comes in. We don’t have money to throw around and it’s probably for the best that we have a bit more tact than Paris ‘It looks racist if you have all white teeth’ Hilton. Yet there’s a strange mantra to be taken here. Granted, we shouldn’t shirk responsibilities, and we should never be as unkind as they occasionally are, but there’s one phrase they repeat throughout all seasons which totally embodies the care and stress-free mindset that they adopt:
Simple but brilliant. Maybe you have to watch the show to understand, but it’s a refrain they say again and again in response to the most random things. Paris literally says “If you don’t even know what to say, just be like ‘that’s hot”. To me, it’s the verbal equivalent of taking something ‘with a pinch of salt’. Whenever I border on thinking about something that stresses me out and I know that I’m not in the right mood to handle it, I just think ‘that’s hot’. It’s a verbal throwaway. It’s a mind-block. It’s an ‘I’m not going to let myself feel bad about something I can’t handle right now’. This tactic probably seems ridiculous to people who have distaste for reality television, and think it stupid or shallow, but this isn’t about the phrase itself. This is a philosophy. This is about giving yourself a break. I don’t know anyone who isn’t stressed about something right now. I envy anyone who isn’t. But it’s about knowing what you can handle and when, and knowing that nobody deserves to feel stressed.
Are Paris and Nicole good role models? No. Of course not. On first meeting, to every male, Nicole asks “how old are you?”, “do you have a girlfriend?” and often, “how big is your dick?”. I wouldn’t let either of them within reach of a child. But they are doing one thing right. Whether it’s genuine obliviousness, petty ignorance or intentional stress-relief, these women live life happily. Happiness and contentment are what everyone’s aiming for, whether it’s achieving your best academically, getting the best job you can, finding love, or making someone happy. All these things can still exist without stress. Maybe this is familiar to you, reader. Maybe this is only news to me, and you’re the kind of person who doesn’t get stressed out so much. But if you, like me, get really stressed about things, try taking a break.
Allow your brain to focus on something else until you’ve built yourself up to tackle the task again. We’re bloody fragile, us humans. That’s so often forgotten. We’re not always invincible, we’re not always ready and we’re not always going to win. So what we should be doing is adopting brief and blissful ignorance against stress until we feel strong enough again and ready to take control. We’re fucking awesome, most of us. Existing is difficult enough as it is without stress being added on. We don’t live ‘The Simple Life’, and yet we’ve survived so far – because we’re amazing and truly capable creatures and we can.
That’s what’s hot.