Our generation deals with a ton of sh*t. Nobody notices how much you take on until one day, you suddenly have three papers to write, a six hour shift at your local grocery store, two friends to comfort, with the weight of political turmoil dragging you down; and all you can think about is crawling under your covers and calling it a day.
I hear you. The Eagles hear you. We get it.
But sometimes, we face more complex problems where distraction becomes more of an enemy than a friend. I’m not talking about the problematic dread I feel when I have to write citations for my Stats research papers. I’m talking about problems like why I kept taking Public Health classes when I thought Psychology was fascinating, or why I kept accepting mediocrity from my significant others when I deserved more. Instead of changing my life, I found peace in taking more electives than my schedule allowed or finding people to give me quick bouts of attention. Avoidant distraction is easy, and damaging.
Then came along “Lyin’ Eyes.” The song follows a young woman trapped in a loveless, but financially beneficial marriage. As her home life chips away at her mental health, she seeks refuge in the arms of her lover, a young man who truly cares for her. But at the end of the day, she leaves him and spends the night alone, wondering how her life has amounted to such an elaborate and unhappy lie. I will acknowledge that not all of you readers are having affairs, so why is this relevant?
“Lyin’ Eyes” is essentially a case study into our generation’s tendency to utilize short-term solutions that provide temporary distraction from all the problems we have on our minds. In place of facing our horrible husbands, we run off and enjoy quick pleasures, avoiding the confrontation that could lead to real changes in our lives. I don’t blame you, in fact, I’m right there with you. But, as the Eagles say, “Every form of refuge has its price,” and I realized that these short term, fast dopamine fixes usually end up causing their own share of problems. That lover will eventually ask us when we are going to leave our husbands, and when we don’t answer right away, they realize we may never. Now, our point of refuge needs a point of refuge! We need to remove ourselves from this new stressor while still coping with the first stress. It’s a never ending cycle of temporary relief, adding stressors, and becoming overwhelmed with nowhere to go. The cycle of Lyin’ Eyes.
But there is a glimmer of hope! The good news is that the solutions to our problems themselves are not difficult to come to. It’s easy for this woman to say, “jeez, my marriage is super unhealthy and I am in love with someone else.” What’s hard, and where most people get stuck, is the execution of the solution. It is so easy to get bogged down by all the difficulties and consequences one faces when confronting situations in their lives that make them unhappy. It is scary to take responsibility -not blame- for our unpleasant situations in life, and how we deal with them. But I ask you, think long term. If I keep studying public health, I might end up in a career that I’m not passionate about. NOT experiencing that long term feeling of unfulfillment is absolutely worth the long process of switching my major and having to take some extra classes. If I keep seeing people who I am incompatible with, for the sake of seeing them, I may end up missing out on an opportunity to find someone I genuinely connect with. It’s absolutely worth my time to not sell myself short in relationships, and to invest in making myself truly happy.
Break the cycle of Lyin’ Eyes. Do the 5 year older version of yourself a favor. They deserve it.