A Life You Thought You Wanted
What if I told you that most of the people you wanted to model your life after are/were miserable? Now, what if I told you the dream you were sold might have set you on the wrong path and your belief in it is actually part of what keeps the farce alive?
This scene from “The Devil Wears Prada” is incredibly poignant, and I think it speaks directly to this topic. It’s the only scene I remember, even tho I loved the movie.
I was especially affected by the following dialogue:
Andrea: I don’t think I’m like that. I couldn’t do what you did to Nigel, Miranda. I couldn’t do something like that.
Miranda: Hmm. But you already did. To Emily.
Andrea: That’s not what I… no, no, that was different. I didn’t have a choice.
Miranda: Oh no, you chose. You chose to get ahead. You want this life, those choices are necessary.
Andrea: But what if this isn’t what I want? I mean what if I don’t wanna live the way you live?
Miranda: Oh, don’t be ridiculous, Andrea. Everybody wants this. Everybody wants to be us.
Let’s unpack this.
The way I see it, if you find yourself chasing the life, you’ve probably had this “Andrea Moment”, if you’re lucky! The Andrea Moment is an opportunity. It’s that moment when you have your blinders on, driven by ambition, playing the part and the game, then SLAM into the person you’re on the fast track to becoming and you have to make a decision. Spoiler alert (for the uninitiated): You don’t like what you see.
In this car scene, Miranda holds a mirror up to Andrea exposing the cognitive dissonance many people experience living life in the fast lane, or at least trying to move into it.
You do what it feels like you have to do, all the while you start to feel more lost, more anxious, more insecure even. You climb the ladder and from the outside looking in, you’re killin’ it!
We all see who we don’t want to become at first. Our intentions start out at least relatively pure if not just naïve, but the system forces you to play ball or get pushed out. The danger here is the feeling that there’s no life outside of the system.
Everyone thinks you’re so happy and refers to you as GOALS if you play it right. You’re not happy though. You’re actually wondering why being in the spaces you wanted to fill feels so empty.
Now I’m not suggesting that we all renounce worldly things. I’m from Brooklyn at the end of the day, sure — get money. Secure the bag.
Make bloody moves, not blood money.
Don’t miss your Andrea Moment.
When Andrea realized that maybe this isn’t what she wanted, Miranda replied in a way that encapsulates the entire system. “Everybody wants this. Everybody wants to be us.”
This theme is something I’ve been processing for some time now. I wonder, why do we as a society insist on re-selling the lie that was sold to us? Is it because we’re afraid to be wrong? But what if being wrong about what we initially thought and owning it is the key to our liberation and the portal to our best lives?
What if everyone really knew what being Miranda was like? What if everyone stopped wanting it? What would our world look like?
What kind of work would we pursue? How might we impact the world? Who would we be?
Many of the most iconic figures in history played outside of the system. By doing so, they changed the way we see things. They expanded what we think is possible.
Maybe the idea of you doing that for the world feels too lofty, but what if you could be that to just one person.
Can you see that?