My best thoughts of the week, collected and presented to you for your Sunday reading. This week: Steve Carrell, real estate conundrums and the euphoric experience of laughing until you cry.
I never understood what it meant to be a ‘fan girl’. I could never empathise nor understand the infatuation with someone, who is, by definition, still a complete stranger. In my adult life I have never fawned, religiously followed, or gotten overly enthusiastic or deeply passionate about a specific celebrity. That was, until Steve Carrell came into my life. I recently re-watched The Office and was reminded of how happy the slightly problematic, and at sometimes, culturally offensive character of Michael Scott makes me. But it doesn’t end there. I began to actively seek out and watch anything that Carrel’s name was billed on. Be it Frank’s dramatics in Little Miss Sunshine, the extremely dweeby and awkward Andy in The 40-Year-Old Virgin or even the foolishly childish animated voice of Gru. It wasn’t until I turned to David quite seriously and said, “I just have a feeling that if I ever met Steve Carrell, he would already know who I am. Like somehow, we would just get along instantly and be so familiar to each other,” that I knew how far into the fan girl zone I had truly gone. And yet my fondness for him isn’t because of his charisma, his A-list status or even his talent. It’s because…Steve Carrell reminds me of my dad. Hang on, hear me out. It’s not that they even look similar (Carrell is white and my dad is very much a brown Sri Lankan man), but that they share similar personality traits and characteristics – both on and off screen. This parasocial relationship with Carrell, which manifests itself in the form of familiar attachment, brings me great comfort. My dad is one of the funniest people I know, and in someway, I find this same comedic relief and humour in Carrell’s performances and public appearances. When I can’t see or talk to my dad because of the time zone difference, I can still sit and laugh on my sofa with someone who reminds me of him. Steve, you remind me of my dad. And really, that’s the best kind of compliment I could give you.
All my friends are buying property and I am freaking out.
If I had ten thousand dollars for every time I heard “it’s an investment”, I would (maybe) have enough money to buy a house. For the sake of my own morality, I will not blag and pretend that I understand investment properties. I guess, in very basic terminology, I do kind of understand it. You buy property, wait for the economy to inflate or flip it, and then hope that you sell it for more than what you paid for. Right? But then you throw in words like mortgages, assets, cash flow, and appreciation, and suddenly I feel extremely out of my depth. Besides blaming the school curriculum for not educating us enough, I also blame myself for not being interested enough. It’s not that I don’t want to own a house and make a passive income, it’s just that I can’t see myself being financially stable to have a real shot at it. The fact that I live abroad may also have a tiny part to play in it. In order to buy a property and settle down, you need to know where you want to do it. To root yourself to a place also requires you to feel assured in the future of it too. Yes, there is a possible alternative that had I stayed in Australia instead of living as an expat, I may too be uploading a photo of me posing next to a SOLD sign. But albeit, I followed a different route. One that requires renting, moving, landlords and lets. Yes, the fear of being ’behind’ tends to creep up on me frequently and fervently, but I know that the life I am currently living is the right one for me. My cousin recently told me that I invest in experiences and travelling instead, and whilst I think she was just trying to make me feel good, it makes sense to me. Life is not a one-size-fits-all. I can still feel incredibly proud of all my friends and family members who are growing up and growing into their new homes without wanting that for myself (just yet). Unless I want my future kids to be homeless, I know that at some point I will need to bite the bullet, wise up and buy a property. And it won’t be out of fear or FOMO but because I feel ready and the property feels right. But until then, I will pay my landlord’s mortgage and show up to your new digs with a housewarming plant instead.
The crying laugh.
My favourite kind of laughter is the one where my eyeballs leek and my heart burns. You know the one. It’s where you wheeze, cackle and hunch over in a fit. Nothing else is racing through your mind and you laugh so hard, that you cry. This rare experience or pure elated joy is something I hold very dear, and if you’re someone who can give me that pleasure, then I am eternally grateful and forever in your debt. To me, sharing a crying-laughter with someone is like touching the heavens together. It binds you to one another and gives you something to always fondly remember and reminisce about. Still to this day, a crying-laughter experience that I shared with my friend Lily in our Year 10 Biology class sits firmly implanted into my core memory, so much so that I am chuckling now just typing it. It wouldn’t even be worth telling you what we were laughing about because the best kind of crying-laughter sessions happen when the joke isn’t even that funny. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become acutely aware of the absence of these tear-induced laughs. It wasn’t until two weeks ago when we had family visit us in Sweden that I remembered how good it felt to cry-laugh and how much I had sorely missed it. An endorphin escapism, the crying-laughter phenomena makes you feel like nothing will ever be funnier. It lifts you out of your body and transports you to a place where nothing matters, problems don’t exist, and the only thing that is important is this hilarious and incessantly dumb moment. To me, nothing beats this feeling. I hope my life continues to be filled with tears and laughter in equal measure, both separately and simultaneously.