Are you the poster child for couch potato? Does your life consist of a back and forth volley of work and couch? Has “couch” become a verb for you? “Nah, thanks for the invite, but I’m actually going to couch it tonight.”
It is incredibly easy to get into a brain and heart-numbing pattern after a divorce, mindlessly flipping through channels. After all you’ve been through, going into your man-cave is totally natural and necessary, but the key is to avoid getting so comfortable there that it’s a permanent change of address, rather than a temporary getaway. Luckily, there are several options from which to choose to breathe life back into your life.
We start with the most obvious of choices, and the shortest distance from the couch potato position to the front seat of life: if you want to know what it feels like to be fully alive again, come close to death. Kickstart your heart the old fashioned way and scare yourself. Jump out of an airplane. Bungee jump. Skydive. Run with the bulls. Anything that makes you kiss the ground in thanks once it’s over will suffice. Feel your heart in your chest and the adrenaline rush that let’s you know you’re alive. Repeat as necessary.
The next obvious choice is a good old-fashioned sporting match. A couch potato watches the game on T.V. You can do better. But don’t just go to a game; go to a pinnacle of an event, featuring the best of the best. Attend the World Cup. Feel the full impact of a rugby match. Get up close and personal at lacrosse. Any sport where the athletes are true athletes and fans have more than just the game on the line is a great choice. Attend a sporting match where you are a part of something larger than yourself, where you find yourself surrounded by fans for whom bragging rights, loyalties, and the blood, sweat and tears of generations are at play. Remember that life is about being a part of something greater, and let the energy of the moment lift your spirits.
(No, not the usual kind.) Does the thought of singing in front of thousands get your adrenaline going? If you can’t stand-in for the front man of a major band, no worries: go sing karaoke. Don’t laugh! You’re not just gonna simply sing karaoke, you’re going to rock. Big difference. Does your heart start pounding and palms start sweating at the thought? Awesome. That’s a good sign that you are not, in fact, dead. There’s hope for you yet.
If getting on stage terrifies you to the point of inaction, go in front of one instead. Buy the next available ticket to a band in town and just go. Get in front. Feel the bass reverberate through your chest. Get jostled around by people who are swept up in the fervor. Dance. Feel self-conscious? Guess what? Nobody gives two shits about what you’re doing. They are in the moment feeling the music. You can be too.
This is the least obvious of the four choices, but one that may have the most impact on your heart because, in the long term, it has the least to do with you. Find an activity that allows you to look at life from a different perspective, any other perspective than that from which you currently stand (or rather, sit, if you’re a couch potato). Find a cause that matters to you and volunteer; be a big brother, work with rescue animals, deliver meals to shut-in seniors.
Volunteer at a hospice or visit someone in a nursing home. Understand that there are those that don’t have as much time left on this beautiful earth as you do; maybe it’ll be just what you need to realize life is precious and it’s time to start participating again. Speak to those that are further down the path of life than you are. Listen to their stories of love and loss and understand that you will love and be loved again. Donate blood. Build a house. Anything that is not about you, but that will make you feel alive again.
It’s okay if your pace has slowed to the point where Mr. Snuffleupagus from Sesame Street could run laps around you, but now is the time to take matters into your own hands and resuscitate your life.
If You Need a Couch Potato Intercession
If you can’t muster the energy to make it from the couch to the car alone, email this article to a friend and type “Help” in the subject line. They’ll know what to do next. Getting out the door is the hardest part.