The name of this blog…

July 20, 2008

…comes from the Radiohead song Fitter Happier off of OK Computer, one of the best albums of all time. Musically, Fitter Happier is strange, since Thom Yorke’s vocals have been replaced with a computerized voice. Lyrically, it is genius.

The song lists all of the goals to which we aspire, simultaneously shining a light on our unquestioning pursuit of these goals.

The first few lyrics:

  • fitter
  • happier
  • more productive
  • comfortable
  • not drinking too much
  • regular exercise at the gym (3 days a week)
  • getting on better with your associate employee contemporaries
  • at ease
  • eating well (no more microwave dinners and saturated fats)
  • a patient better driver
  • a safer car (baby smiling in back seat)
  • Most of the items in the song are, in fact, worthy of pursuit. At the same time, a picture is painted of a very conventional life. Not everyone chooses this life consciously. Plenty of people I know have just sort of fallen into it, and then they are stuck (unless they decide to quit their jobs, get divorces, and follow their original dreams, which few of them will — except maybe the divorce part). I know people who have had children because that’s what they were supposed to do. Some of them have been surprised to fall in love with their children, and some just go through the motions.

    For me as well as for my husband, having children is something we have very consciously chosen to do. Years before we were married, as teenagers, we had picked out names for our children. We chose to postpone having children for the first several years of our marriage while we pursued our career goals, mastered the art of marriage, and learned to be grown-ups. When we finally made the decision to have children, Fate disagreed with our timing. Being infertile brings the purposeful pursuit of parenthood into clearer focus, although it also brings a lot of other crap with it too.

    Just as having children is automatic for many people, it is easy to get carried away with fertility treatments and other methods of pursuing parenthood once you’ve started down that road. I respect all of my infertile sisters and brothers, but I have extra respect for the ones I’ve encountered who, after years of non-success, have pulled in the reins and questioned whether having a biological child, or any child at all, was worth what they were going through. A few years ago, after our first miscarriage broke my heart, we got out the condoms and stopped TTC for over a year. Now, we are back in Come Hell or High Water mode.

    In non-baby aspects of life, we both frequently question the life that has been predestined for us. Despite being very driven in our careers, we have both made decisions that did not follow the standard path. Rather than staying close to any of the cities where our families or other loved ones live, we move around the country as jobs and whims dictate. We consume media, particularly news, with a critical and dubious eye. We don’t listen to our mothers.

    Whenever I realize that I’m becoming complacent and blindly buying into the norms of society, I think about the lyrics of Fitter Happier, or listen to the song.

    I’m still working on the “no longer empty and frantic” part. Some days are better than others.

    One Response to “The name of this blog…”

    1. Lindsay Says:

      That is one of my favorite songs. You explain it so perfectly.
      I saw your blog name at Mel’s and had to check it out. Glad I found it. I’ll be catching up…

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