Mark and I are big fans of the television show “How I Met Your Mother.” We didn’t really discover the show until Season 3, but we liked it so much that we went back and bought the first two seasons on DVD in order to catch up. We loved the characters and the writing. We looked forward to Monday nights with great anticipation, rushing the kids to bed so we could sit down and watch one of our favorite shows. But sadly, this is not the case anymore. Our enthusiasm for this once great show has turned into apathy and disappointment. At times, it’s become almost too painful to watch. This is because HIMYM has suffered the same fate as so many other once great shows before it…HIMYM has jumped the shark. You and I may disagree about when it happened. I believe it was when Barney and Robin started dating, but you may feel that it was when Lily and Marshall had baby Marvin. Either way, the shark jumping has happened and the best thing we can do now is to learn from it.
Yes, that’s right….learn from it. Because “jumping the shark” doesn’t just happen in TV shows. It happens in our lives too. In fact, “jumping the shark” is such a common occurrence in our lives, that I’m dedicating this entire week to writing about it. But let’s back up for just a minute. What exactly is “jumping the shark?”
The phrase “jumping the shark” was first used to describe the moment that marks the beginning of a television show’s decline in quality and creativity. The phrase itself refers to a Season 5 episode of Happy Days when Fonzie (Henry Winkler) literally jumps over a shark while waterskiing. This scene was so gimmicky and bizarre that many people feel that it marked the beginning of a creative decline in the show. If you Google the term “jumping the shark” you’ll find plenty of lists describing television shows and their shark jumping moments: X-Files jumped the shark when star David Duchoveny left the show, Friends jumped the shark when Rachel and Ross had baby Emma, and Roseanne jumped the shark when the Connors won the lottery, just to name a few.
“Jumping the shark” has since taken on a broader usage and can be applied to almost anything (a product, a company, a band, etc…) that seems to have reached its peak in creativity and quality, and is now on a downhill slide into obscurity. But this doesn’t just happen in TV shows and popular brands. It can also happen in our careers, our relationships, and many other aspects of our personal lives. Over the next few days, I’ll be discussing some signs that you’ve jumped the shark and what to do once the shark has been jumped. But what does “jumping the shark” really mean in our day-to-day lives? And can it be avoided? I’m so glad you asked!
To Be Continued…
So you may have heard that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian got engaged a few days ago. I’m not a big follower of either one of them…to be honest I thought they were already engaged. (Guess I need to stay more up to date with those gossip pages.) The thing that struck me, and perhaps you too, wasn’t the fact that they got engaged but the way in which they got engaged. In true celebrity fashion, Kanye rented out the San Francisco Giant’s arena (AT&T Park), hired a 50 piece orchestra, and proposed to Kim in front of family and friends while the words “PLEEEASE MARRY MEEE!” flashed up on the jumbotron scoreboard. I can only imagine that it was quite a spectacular show.
The night that Mark proposed to me was not the same type of event. There was no arena filled with our friends and family and no 50-piece orchestra. Instead, it was simply the two of us in a place that was special to only us. There was no 15-carat diamond and no media coverage. Instead, it was an incredibly simple sweet moment that I wouldn’t trade for all the arenas and orchestras in the world. Looking back over my life so far, I believe that all of my favorite moments and fondest memories aren’t full up of hoopla and fanfare but are instead made up of simple moments with people I love.
Some of those moments are probably obvious, such as holding each of my children for the first time. But there are other, less obvious moments too. For example, during our junior year of college, one of Mark’s roommates discovered a nest of baby bunnies that had clearly been attacked by another animal. The mother was dead, but a couple of the babies were still alive. He took the babies back to the dorm room (a clear violation of dorm policy for sure), where he spent a couple of days desperately trying to keep them alive. But sadly, despite his very dedicated efforts, they all died on the third day. That night, a handful of us gathered in the pouring rain to watch our good friend bury those tiny bunnies. I can still clearly remember the cold raindrops, the dark night sky, and all of us silently watching as he laid those bunnies in the ground and covered them with dirt.
When I think back on my years in college, the memories that stand out aren’t of parties, big football games, or even graduation. My fondest memories are all simple moments between close friends. Sometimes it seems as though we live in a world where more is better…more money, more publicity, more show. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of wanting more and more drama. But I find that often it’s the smaller moments…the simpler moments…that become the most cherished moments of our lives.
Throughout the month of October, I’ll be sharing some ideas for simple changes you can make to improve your life. Did you miss a day? Visit the 31 Days Welcome page for links to each day.