If you’ve led a pretty raucous and complicated life, as I have – or even if you’ve led what looks like a pretty simple life – it can be hard to answer the question, “What have I done?” Are you the sum of your acts in your life, or exemplified by your life’s highs and lows? Does your life make narrative sense – and should it? Should we maybe think of our lives as episodes, or even as just amalgams of moments, rather than as cohesive tales? And what are we to do when others tell stories about us that don’t match our own?
This episode explores those questions and so much more. Mike and I really loved working on this episode together. In fact, we’ve been talking about it ever since. The conversations we had with these three helpers – Tod Chambers, Dan McAdams, and Jonathan Adler – set us to thinking a lot about how life narratives are imposed upon us, and whether it’s possible to free yourself from existential arcs.
You can listen to the whole episode for free. But if you want to hear more of our conversations with the helpers, subscribe to our Tangent Tier and gain access to the raw, long-form tapes. If you do so, you’ll see how hard it is for us to choose material to pull to the main pod!