This is not a reflection on marriage or relationships. It’s far more self-centered than that.
The still miraculously ageless Paul Rudd, our Dorian Gray of the 21st century, stars in a new Netflix series called Living with Yourself. In it he plays a man in seemingly middle-aged malaise (Note: Because really, it’s Paul Rudd).
Life has turned against him and it’s mostly not his fault, more a circumstance of battle scars and, well, age if you don’t count his still voluminous hairline and the suppleness of his skin.
In any event, after a sad public semi-meltdown at the office, his newly reenergized work friend takes pity on him and gives him a card with the key to his secret of rejuvenation. What it turns out to be is the number of a slightly seedy storefront in a strip mall where, for a small pile of money, you will become the BEST of you.
Or, put more succinctly, a CLONE of you; the rested, hottest, most well adjusted version of yourself, the best of yourself and without having to endure painful psychotherapy or tedious self-help courses.
You will wake up and walk out as strong and as vibrant and as in demand as, say, football quarterback Tom Brady. Because, as the series more than implies, that is how Tom Brady manages it.
Though since nothing is that easy in our actual reality these days AND because all good TV shows and movies need some conflict, it’s not that easy. Rather than killing off the world-weary version of Paul Rudd, as this storefront usually does (Note: Ha, imagine that they thought they could even nick Paul!) with no one the wiser, things go awry.
The real, down-in-the-mouth Paul Rudd somehow manages to live (Note: Was there ever a doubt?), emerging through dirt and plastic wrap from sex feet under clad only a diaper, where he then walks six hours home to his nice house and nice wife and angrily confronts…HIS OTHER HALF.
No, it’s not his wife who he encounters when he enters back into the world that was once, more sadly, his own. What he sees instead is the best version of him; someone that he instantly recognizes physically but for all intents and purposes is now a psychological stranger. Right before his eyes is his truly OPTIMUM self. The can-do guy without the bumps and dings and self-sabotaging either life or he saddled himself with.
It’s infuriating and yet strangely comforting. It makes him sad and resentful and, yet, gives him a sliver of hope.
In short, it allows him and us to look in a three dimensional mirror and try to somehow rectify what it means to be the best AND most world-weary versions of each of us in any given moment, mindful that every option is always available and every alternative has its perks and minuses.
This gets you to thinking.
If even ageless Paul Rudd is world-weary and tired and angry and bitter what hope is there for me?
But if there is indeed an age defying, bouncier version of the Paul Rudd that we all know and love hiding from even Mr. Rudd himself, perhaps each of us suffers from the very same malady?
Maybe there is a better version of yourself lurking somewhere deep inside. This would be a person less jaded and certainly less fed up. This would be a guy (or a gal, obviously) able to take a different, more positive road to, well, everything, and make his or her choices accordingly. This could be someone WE’D envy and, more positively, even aspire to be if we weren’t already them.
Imagine if we had access to that?
Who would Donald Trump be? Is there a better version? What would Vladimir Putin do? Or maybe there are even worse choices and what we are now experiencing is actually his best self?
Again, it gets you thinking. Though that can be a perilous course depending on which version of yourself you are.
Difficult though it might be to accept that we are not set in stone, condemned to act in a certain way given our all of our specific life experiences up to that very point in time, it is worth considering.
What would it be like it be like if my mind and body could get serviced by the best human garage in town and emerge as a nearly refurbished version? Not only could I be freshly painted and waxed on the exterior (Note: Because, please, that’s the first thing you notice, no matter how much psychotherapy you’ve had or not had) your outlook could be a sharpened, shiny and certainly more electrifying version of that very same DNA.
This does not mean you’d be anyone else but you. It only allows you to be the very best of who YOU are and choose what actions YOU take accordingly in any given situation.
It also allows for a more limber point of view from which to make these choices. Not necessarily younger, since we all must choose unwisely when we’re young, but simply less cynical and jaded.
It gets you to thinking again, and again, and again.
What are the possibilities contained within all of our inner operating systems?