The other day, I watched the new Netflix series “Pretend It’s a City” with Fran Lebowitz and Martin Scorcese. I enjoyed it very much. I know bits and pieces about Lebowitz. Enough to know that she’s a “cool, New York, writer”. Sometimes, she gets herself in hot water, as outspoken thinkers are wont to do. There are a lot of things about her that I can relate to and a lot I can’t. But she’s the type of person I just enjoy watching and listening to.
Things that Lebowitz and I have in common are that she’s a secular (or atheist) Jew, and we both love to read. Also, she rolls her eyes in a city (hers is New York, mine is Toronto) at the increasing lack of awareness of people that they are sharing space in a big city. My husband laughed and side-eyed me when Lebowitz stops and complains inwardly as a younger man cuts her off getting off the subway. But, despite our similar annoyance at certain aspects of city life, we both love our cities.
Things that we do not have in common are that she’s much cooler than I am and has a much cooler persona and/or fashion sense. She’s a successful writer. She’s over 20 years older than I. And, she’s a committed smoker, which I, thankfully, gave up almost 20 years ago. She’s also a luddite, in that she doesn’t own a mobile phone, a computer, or a typewriter.
Even though I participate in certain group endurance sports, I could still laugh at her amusement, when a group of people were willingly pulling tires from a rope around their bodies through the streets of New York, as a form of exercise. Her comments on these types of challenges are also amusing, even though I can disagree with her and see the benefit of some of these types of challenges. Link here to some of her quotes from Pretend It’s a City, including the one about climbing a mountain.
Something she said, stood out to me, and had me agreeing – and disagreeing – at the same time. “Your bad habits can kill you,” Lebowitz says, “but your good habits won’t save you.” This quote comes from the discussion in the series about her anti-wellness stance, which I can relate to, to some degree, as I don’t believe a lot of the “wellness” industry”, as it has evolved, has anything to do with health.
I agree, and believe the science supports, that your good habits “might not” save you over the long haul. Unfortunately, luck or genes or terrible accidents may not be on your side despite your good habits.
But, day-to-day, which is often a focus of my posts, I think our good habits can save us. And, it’s one of the main reasons I exercise, try to limit my sugar, get enough sleep, do some yoga or active breathing, etc., on a daily basis. These habits save me on a daily basis. They save me from bad moods, hormonal changes, lack of sleep on other days, stress from work or living through a pandemic – in a city I love that is a “hot spot” for Covid-19 rates. They give me energy and a feeling of strength.
So, I say try to keep your bad habits in check. Keep your good habits at your side and in perspective. And go read or watch some Fran Lebowitz for some good laughs or thoughts that linger with you for days after for some ponderance on your own.