Would you rather be cool or happy?

This morning I was walking to my studio when I decided to call my friend Javier. I, like many if not all millennials and thanks to the rise of sms, messaging apps, and social media, have lost the habit I had in my childhood of calling friends. I’m always low-key mortified of making any errands by phone, I have to force myself into calling my mom, and calling friends almost feels like an intrusion, a disrespect. But honestly, I miss my friends’ voices and the spontaneity of real-time conversations. Chatting online feels safer but also controlled, polished, and somewhat unauthentic. And I love my friends even more when they’re raw and real.

This year I added a recurring task to Things that reminds me to reach out to a friend every couple of days (because I tend to forget and I want to be a better friend…) and today was the second time I got one of those. Two days ago Javier told me that he added my blog to his blogroll which was hilarious and a travel back to the early 00s so he was fresh in my mind. And yesterday I had read this article from the The New York Times and decided to give it a go. I ignored and didn’t listen to that part of me that thought This feels awkward. What if he’s busy working? What if I annoy him by calling without any previous notice?” and I called him. And we had the most lovely chat! We talked about our jobs, lives, hobbies, and we ended up chatting about the dichotomy of being cool or happy.

About how striving to be cool pulls you away from joy. How pursuing your passions to the point of cringeyness can ironically lead you to be a cooler person in the end than ignoring those impulses. And the whole thing felt full circle. I think an unconscious tendency towards coolness (plus debilitated social skills after the pandemic, generational behaviours, personal traumitas, and a bunch of other shit) has kept me (us?) from reaching out to friends more often. And I don’t want to keep doing that. So I’m going to choose cringe over coolness, courage over comfort, and I’m going to call my friends.

Get ready for my spontaneous phone calls y’all.

January 5, 2023