reality tv

Reality Break

A recent nightmare where Andy Cohen starred as my therapist and had to restrain me as I exploded Theresa-style tipped me off. Time to take a “reality” break. What at first was just good gossipy fun has descended into emotional strife. The griping, back stabbing, poor communication and relentless judgment going on between the “ladies” of the Real Housewives franchise has stoked some unpleasant emotions in me.

As I watched Andy Cohen engage with these women on a weekly basis always hiding his feelings about the women and the events with a big smile and crossed eyes, I noticed that I began to take on the anger and frustration he seemingly cannot express.

So I've decided I can’t watch it anymore. That means protecting my brain from these women and other television shows that are sad and debilitating.

I didn’t realize that I had such control over my life until a woman once told me this- “As an adult, you get to decide what enters your brain.”

As a child, I didn’t have much choice in the matter, but now, I do. As a result, I've eliminated all Law & Order shows, most of Lifetime (the channel regularly likes to kill women), and all local news programs ("single women at risk in San Francisco, news at 11").

The fear mongering across the board is unhealthy. So I'm putting a stop to it.

What I See

Pulling some of my thoughts together. What I see:

1. The 18 to 25 year-old set. These folks have to either know immediately that they want to be nurses (good economic choice, btw) or auto mechanics (ditto) OR they have to have the grades, focus and resources to go the Stanfords/Dartmouths/Yales of the world. There is a huge gap in the middle that is filled mainly with state schools, online universities (univ of phoenix) or community colleges. All are more and more expensive and often quite directionless.

2. The lack of high school counselors and good ones at that

3. The boom in career/life coaches

4. Reality TV and interactive TV (see Bravo Channel) as a distribution model; it’s still super hard to get anything to scale in the online world

5. The more and more entrepreneurial world – meaning because there are no IBMs anymore, people, in order to survive, have to become entrepreneurs – approach their lives like running a business

6. Self-awareness or lack thereof and the lack of these skills in young people – you seem to learn only if you’re lucky; no educational focus or system around it: Who am I? What am I good at? What can I do with that?

7. Life long learning – how education or taking a class can be viewed as a way into self-awareness and personal growth (even if the class isn’t about self-development)

8. Good teachers – there’s a trend online where more are being highlighted – see MIT Open Courseware Initiative

9. What we say about ourselves implicitly and explicitly – the beauty of online is mostly in the data; a way to use that data in a valuable way to the provider of the data, the consumer

10. Learning on the job – there are teaching hospitals, why not teaching businesses? Educational co-ops

This all amounts to something. I'm working through what.