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Be Carefulo: the Calming Properties of “YOLO”

I have a very buzzy brain. I tend to go off in tangents, and think in a lot of directions, and lose my place easily,  and get distracted between several interesting tasks*, and find myself frazzled. I get anxious in addition to this, and these two tendencies are terrible bedmates. Left to my own devices, I can silently work myself right up into a panicked lather over relatively small things that remind me of something else anxiety-inducing.**

In the last few months, after a few bad postpartum visits and a few stern looks from my really great OB, I started taking an antidepressant and started seeing a therapist to deal with my periodic inability to cope with, like, existing. She and I have discussed coping strategies I sort stumbled into over the years, and she’s pointed me at more deliberate and proactive coping mechanisms. (She’s rad. I like her.)

Since I’m supposed to be doing this therapy homework, I’ve also given some thought to these accidental coping mechanisms. Enter the single song, of all the songs I’ve obsessively listened to on repeat, that I find 100% soothing if I’m trying to settle some anxiety and slow down a little bit.

“YOLO” by The Lonely Island.

Like, it’s known that I’m a fan of The Lonely Island and Andy Samberg. There’s a brand of humor there that appeals to me, but I discovered before a presentation while I was in school that this song also mellows me the fuck out, and I would like to present it as Very Credible Anxiety Song if you experience anxiety in the way I do. (Because I’m sure there’s someone out there for whom it would have the very opposite effect; everyone experiences their shit differently.)

The easiest thing: it’s got very chill, steady music to it that’s still upbeat. If you’re the kind of person who has a physical reaction to music, that’s just gonna ease you down without bringing you down. I noticed this earlier today.

But what also works for me is the utter absurdity of the song. If you haven’t listened to it, and don’t plan to start, the lyrics are ridiculous. Like I said, I like the Lonely Island, and the style of humor works for me. The song makes me laugh, which goes far when I’m trying to calm down — I can laugh a lot off.

Another thing happens: it’s such over-the-top nonsense thinking that also reminds me so much of my own, that I listen to it and I’m like, “This is silly. This is no way to be.” And while it’s just the way I am, it does somehow help me logic myself through whatever thing I’m freaking out about. I mean, “two words about furniture: killing machines” deserves its own award. That’s silly, and so is panicking about a presentation to ten people in a class about digital media.

* Right now, I have this tab, two to confirm that I’m using the phrase “taking an antidepressant” correctly, and another because I just remembered a headline about Chrome OS running Linux apps and I want to know more about that.

I would later go on to Google how to spell Andy Samberg, hey, who is his wife — wait, do I own the therapist’s office a bill? I should go check that. Phew, I don’t, that’s good. Maybe I should format this footnote differently…

You get the idea.

** Ask me about the three weeks I spent terrified to carry my baby near my staircase! Or watch my husband carry the baby near the staircase! Or think about my son walking past the staircase to use the bathroom!