======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ==== ======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ====
If you’re like me, you’ve seen this phrase spread around faster than an UberEats glitch discount code. “Live your best life” has taken pop culture by storm, replacing “live, laugh, love” on framed posters, throw pillows, and Instagram bios across the globe. Before you go and get it permanently inked in cursive on your ribcage, consider that it’s completely impossible to live your best life.
Part of the reason it’s not possible is that the phrase itself just doesn’t make sense. Taken at face value, to “live your best life” implies that you have multiple lives or multiple versions of yourself, and you get to choose the best one. Obviously this is ridiculous, unless you’re a cat. Or the bad guy in Split. Or Rick and Morty with access to parallel universes. If none of those apply to you, then you see what I’m saying. You can’t live your best life because you only have one life. Whatever happened to YOLO, huh?
If I had the ability to choose and then live my best possible life, I’d choose to be a Labrador Retriever in a suburban upper middle class family: table scraps, sleeping all day, traditional stay-at-home mom to give me scalp scratches… Actually that doesn’t sound entirely different from how I spent my summers in college. But grammatically speaking, “live your best life” is about as solid as a bowl of tapioca.
Semantics aside, the broader inspirational intention of the phrase is also something I find problematic. The first time I heard this phrase was in public when two friends were talking to each other. This is actual advice I heard a human being give to their friend:
“I don’t know, I just do the same routine every day. I feel like I’ve just been stuck in a rut.”
“You just need to live your best life”
“You’re so right”
I kind of just stood there confused for a second. What just happened? Is that slang for something? Nope. Turns out that person is just a bad friend who gave even worse advice. “Live your best life” is basically the “let’s hang out soon” of inspirational phrases; it’s bullshit and deep down you know it, but for some reason you still go along with it. It’s just open-ended and vague enough for you to feel like you’ve accomplished something without any progress being made. It’s a cop-out.
Nobody is ever living their best life. Everyone endures hardships and has to overcome obstacles. Comedian Bill Burr said that “everyone has to eat a shit sandwich, some are just made with better bread”. Nobody is going to fix their problems by listening to empty-calorie words that make you feel good, but have no real substance. This is why any therapist worth paying for doesn’t read you your horoscope or give you fortune cookies.
Everybody’s got problems. Don’t waive them off because you think you could have a better life. Tackle them head on, and things in your life will start clicking like a Swahili socialite. Cut out any toxic influences that might be affecting you. Call your mom. Get blackout and use a sick day. Go to a teashop and let the soothing aroma of lavender and chamomile wash your stress away. Sign your ex up for your local Church of Scientology without their consent. All are great options for you to turn things around for you. But, one thing you should never do is live your best life..