There was a time…when men were kind…when their voices were soft…and their words inviting…
Okay wait–sorry, sorry. There was a time when Thought Catalog, to me, represented the ultimate pinnacle in modern creative writing and life advice available on the interthing. As a world-weary teenager, I sought solace in the pure cynicism and thesaurus adjective selection of my peers. “Finally!” I marveled. “People who understand me! People who view relationships as something more than a flashy Cosmo one-liner!!” From that moment on, I vowed to make Thought Catalog my personal consultant for any major life question I was to come across.
Did you know! When you make that pledge to thought catalog, Satan shows up, makes you sign a contract, and then hands over 10 pairs of cut-off denim shorts and Weezer t-shirts you must wear at all times?
Thus began a transformation into Natalie Portman’s character from Garden State. I was Google-Mapping every sunflower field in the tri-state area so as to frolic in them, baking a cake in the shape of Dr. House, and wearing only clothes that had been created pre-WWI. I was saying YES TO LIFE!!
Then my balls dropped. The more I forced myself into the role of charmingly psychotic, the more I could feel of my soul, slowly chipping away. Though Catalog is not a world view so much as a lifestyle that demands every waking ounce of energy poured into over-analyzing every glance with a stranger that lasts more than two seconds.
It was the advent of one of the site’s most popular posts–25 Things to Do Before You Turn 25–that opened my eyes to the incredible, perpetual eye-roll-worthy idiocy that is Thought Catalog’s very foundation. Gone was the veneer of mysterious, romantic adulthood, always slightly out of reach. This mentality was completely within reach, and, in fact, something I had abandoned at the age of seven. To illustrate my point, let’s break down the previously mentioned article and really dig deep into the outlook of Though Catalog:
2. Kiss someone you think is out of your league; kiss models and med students and entrepreneurs with part-time lives in Dubai and don’t worry about if they’re going to call you afterward.
Ah yes, this certainly sounds like an excellent way to maintain happiness and emotional stability! By all means, go forth and do these things with people merely because it’s an experience you have to have, or else you simply can’t reach the age of 26! You only want meaningful romantic interactions? Pshaww!! Who do you think you are? Haven’t you learned, by means of all of these other posts romanticizing cheating, that love is merely a vapid concept reserved only for Friends re-runs??!
3. Minimize your passivity.
Maybe I am missing the grand ironic scheme of this one here. Maybe Thought Catalog itself is a grand ironic scheme and the joke is on me!!!! But judging by the fact that one of the most recent posts is titled “10 Places Guys Can Meet Girls (Without Being a Total Creep About It” I highly doubt that anything on this website is meant to be taken at more than face value. So back to the point of this comment, please read point number two, and immediately follow that up with a reading of point number three. Then let’s play a game of “One of These Things Is Not Like the Other!”
5. Recognize freedom as a 5:30 a.m. trip to the diner with a bunch of strangers you’ve just met.
Getting roped into a Russian mafia con scheme late at night and then having them treat you to bacon and eggs. Yes, that is freedom.
6. Try not to beat yourself up over having obtained a ‘useless’ Bachelor’s Degree. Debt is hell, and things didn’t pan out quite like you expected, but you did get to go to college, and having a degree isn’t the worst thing in the world to have.
At this point it’s like they are trying oh so earnestly to cater to only the most privileged white kids ever born. I am sure the people working three jobs to get rid of a crippling $100,000+ debt will have a little more to tell you than “Yeah…things didn’t really go how I was expecting…but I have this degree! Boy howdy!” Let’s let Kanye West help us to understand this.
7. If you’re employed in any capacity, open a savings account. You never know when you might be unemployed or in desperate need of getting away for a few days. Even $10 a week is $520 more a year than you would’ve had otherwise.
Okay okay, wow. I mean WOW. This counts as ADVICE? What sort of mansion with indoor pool and ten car garage complex do you have to come from where it doesn’t cross your mind to open a savings account before the age of TEN?
8. Make a habit of going outside, enjoying the light, relearning your friends, forgetting the internet.
“But don’t forget the internet for too long! After all, where are you going to find tips for how to have a quaint Silence of the Lambs themed outdoor picnic?”
11. Learn to say ‘no’ — to yourself. Don’t keep wearing high heels if you hate them; don’t keep smoking if you’re disgusted by the way you smell the morning after; stop wasting entire days on your couch if you’re going to complain about missing the sun.
This doesn’t sound like learning to say no to yourself. This sounds like learning not to be a piece of human excrement.
12. Take time to revisit the places that made you who you are: the apartment you grew up in, your middle school, your hometown. These places may or may not be here forever; you definitely won’t be.
Pro-tip: there is nothing that signals “my life never got any better than tenth period math class” than being that guy who shows up to say hi to his old high school teachers after the age of 20.
14. Think you know yourself until you meet someone better than you.
Because if you read Thought Catalog, chances are you don’t think there is anyone better than you.
15. Forget who you are, what your priorities are, and how a person should be.
Well at least this genius piece of advice explains why you majored in “The Films of Kevin Smith” in #6. Boy that debt sure seems worth it now that you are really opening yourself up to new experiences!
18. Stop hating yourself.
Then again, if most of the other things on this list apply to you, you probably should keep hating yourself for a while. At least until your trust fund runs out.
19. Go out and watch that movie, read that book, listen to that band you already lied about watching, reading, listening to.
No. I don’t want to watch The Neverending Story.
23. Leave the country under the premise of “finding yourself.” This will be unsuccessful. Places do not change people. Instead, do a lot of solo drinking, read a lot of books, have sex in dirty hostels, and come home when you start to miss it.
Decidedly my favorite piece of wisdom gurgled up by the geniuses at TC. Good thing I have enough money to completely sustain myself in some of the world’s most expensive cities while simultaneously battling that pesky student debt. Also, I can’t wait to tell all of my future partners about my herpes, because won’t they think it’s romantic how I picked it up in the shower of a Bulgarian hostel? Phew, at least I can always come home to mummy and da-da when I realize everyone who actually lives here is utterly aggravated by my presence.
How are we feeling now, gang? Has that sunk in appropriately? Go ahead, take another sip of your Thought Catalog-brand chai tea mocha frappe and really mull it over.
And so, if you ever want your life to amount to nothing more than a walking Pinterest board titled “~*~hipster~*~*” then please, by all means, dive headfirst into Though Catalog.