As we navigate our working years, there will be times of uncertainty. We may question our motivations, our goals, or the impact we are making. We may be searching for a partner to share the journey. We may wonder what it is we’re working toward. Questioning things is completely normal.
There was a fictional group of friends who were often switching careers, struggling in their romantic lives, and just trying to find their way. Anyone else remember Seinfeld? Okay, so it’s hard to say that this show represented “normal,” but it’s all relative, huh?
Seinfeld follows the lives of four friends in New York: Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer. Each character has their own goals, career paths, hardships, and hangups—their lives couldn’t be more different, but they supported one another through it all. Sometimes it takes tough love, but they keep each other humble. (Like when Jerry has to break the news to Elaine that her dancing is atrocious.)
Life can get complicated; Seinfeld reminds us to work with the hand we’ve been dealt. George always tries to take things with a grain of salt. As he once said, “Divorce is very difficult. Especially on a kid. Of course, I’m the result of my parents having stayed together, so you never know.” (George’s life could sometimes be a mess, but hey, we all have troubles!)
The show reminds us that while starting over can be scary, it can also be exhilarating. We get to experience “firsts” all over again. Elaine is a good example. There’s the first time meeting new coworkers, the first time holding hands on a date, the first time we get a fresh paycheck and get to decide what to do with it. Elaine shows us that it only takes a little energy—and maybe a commercial break—to jump back into it. All these opportunities wouldn’t be available if we didn’t keep putting ourselves out there.
There is never going to be a perfect way to handle a hard situation. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore our challenges, to never learn or grow. Kramer tends to think of his life as “doing what I do, the way I’ve always done it, the way I’ll always do it,” but that won’t get most of us very far.
It’s good to remember why we keep at it, too. We don’t want to be like Jerry and think, “Why do I always have the feeling that everybody’s doing something better than me on Saturday afternoons?” We don’t need the same plans as everyone else: we need the plans that work for us, the ones we actually want to be enjoying!
Do our actions align with our goals? Is there anything we could be doing differently? The funny this is, Seinfeld is known for being a show “about nothing,” so it does give us a chance to think about what all this is adding up to. Are we headed for a retirement like Jerry’s parents, with a condo in The Pines of Mar Gables? Are our plans, our support system, and everything else pointing us in the right direction?
Seinfeld may resonate with some of us because we enjoy comedy, but we also enjoy the fact that the characters show up for each other and keep at it, time after time, even when life is at its most absurd. It’s not a bad reminder.
Whether you’re starting a new job, a new relationship, or a new stage in your journey, we wish you the best. It’s aways better if you can lean on your friends and get some laughs in along the way.
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