Everything I Ever Needed to Know, I Learned from… ‘The X-Files!’

It’s kind of amazing how much The X-Files influenced the television shows that came after it. Introducing us to mythology arcs and shipping, the show was an early staple of geek culture. Now, I may have gotten interested in The X-Files way past its 2002 series finale, but as I found when I binge-watched all 202 episodes (which is a ridiculous feat but one I highly recommend), the show still has a ton to teach us, both television-wise and life-wise. Forget about kindergarten. Everything I’ve ever needed to know, I leaned from The X-Files.

 

Trust No One… Except Your Friends

Ahh, one of the shows many, many mantras. It may sound like “trust no one” is intended to make you a paranoid recluse, but even Fox Mulder, major supporter of trusting no one, couldn’t trust no one all the time. Mulder trusted Skinner, The Lone Gunmen and most importantly, he trusted Scully. It may indeed be helpful to be relatively skeptical of strangers and people you don’t know well. As the show professes, they don’t always have your best interests at heart. But The X-Files also shows it’s important to have a few people around that you can trust.

Stay Indoors?

While binge-watching, I noticed a ton of the X-Files take place outdoors and in remote locations. What that means is you will never catch me outdoors or far off in the woods. I don’t want to be made into a bug cocoon, murdered by part-tree and part-human creatures or get infected by an icy parasite. Of course, based on The X-Files, I don’t want to go to Atlantic City either, so maybe the best place is indoors. Or it would be, if episodes like “Squeeze” and “Orison” didn’t show you’re not safe there either.

The Power of Belief

The X-Files often insisted that Mulder was the “believer,” but if there’s anything you learn after 202 episodes of the show, it’s that Mulder and Scully were both believers, just in very different ways. Mulder wanted to believe in powers beyond his control, but Scully already believed in them. Only Scully thought the powers should be couched in terms of science or religion.

As cheesy as it may sound, one of the major themes of the show is learning to believe in yourself. When Mulder met Scully, he was just “Spooky Mulder” who hung out in the basement and had weird ideas. While working the X-Files, Scully had to reconcile her sense of self with the new experiences she encountered, but she never lost sight of who she was. Whatever method of belief works for you, The X-Files definitely wants you to believe.

Rooted in Friendship

Obviously, the relationship between Mulder and Scully is one of the most important aspects of The X-Files. What I particularly like about their relationship is that it’s not always – or even often – portrayed ultra-romantically. But the Mulder and Scully relationship is never a lost cause, whether it’s focused on the romance or not, because the two are simply better together. They respect each other even when they don’t agree, and they work together to get more done. Without Scully, Mulder wouldn’t be who he is at the end of the series, and vice versa for Scully. It’s clear that Scully and Mulder care deeply for each other, and they’re a pretty good pair to emulate in either friendship or romance.

The Truth is Out There

Another X-Files catchphrase, “the truth is out there” was meant to represent Mulder’s quest. Whatever the situation, Mulder had a way of moving ahead, and for that reason, I think the quote contains a great deal of hope. In spite of the many, varied setbacks, Mulder never stopped looking, never stopped hoping. He didn’t get bogged down in hopelessness over his current situation. The truth was always out there, and Mulder wanted to find it. I hope I can remember to do the same.

Fight (for) the Future

How many times did The X-Files get shut down over the course of the show? But Mulder and Scully didn’t give up. They pooled their resources and proved their bosses wrong. Not only did they believe, they fought for what they believed in. The subtitle of the first X-Files movie, “fight the future” doesn’t just mean fight against what’s happening but to fight for what you want. Hey, you might just get a revival of your favorite TV show because of it.

A lot of the time when people think about The X-Files, they only think about aliens or romance, but there’s way more to the show than that. The X-Files influenced many people during its nine season run, and soon, it will get a chance to influence even more. It’s hard to say if the show is coming back due to a combination of hope, drive, belief and friendship, but that’s what I’d like to think because those are some of the values that The X-Files instilled in me. I want to believe. Do you?

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Social Media

What a time to be alive! A millennial such as myself is fortunate enough to be born in an era where social norms have exceeded our ancestral expectations. Information is only a click away thanks to the internet, there are drones being used in all sorts of ways and we even have hoverboards being utilized as a substitute for walking. Social media has also changed the landscape in ways we couldn’t even dream of 20 years back. But is social media all good? Are we hurting ourselves long term by relying too much on conveying our communication skills through an app? Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly of social media.

The Ugly:

We love to think we’re always right, but in reality we’re not. In the comfort of our own home we especially love playing arm-chair psychologist when it comes to judging the misfortune of others. Unfortunately those who engage in social media love to take it to a whole new level. Whether it’s clowning an athlete and bringing his personal life into it or judging a television star selfie, social media users will take shaming to the next level. Sadly, adults are usually the ones pulling the strings (or typing in this case). Makes me wonder why one is so comfortable tearing an individual down from their couch. Oh wait, now I know…

The Bad pt.1:

Shame is a tactic used to belittle the individual you’re addressing. As Dr. Brene Brown said in her book Daring Greatly, “Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough.” Whether it’s about race, status or education, tactics like shame are used to show superiority over another person. I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen people use shame as a tactic to attack individuals whose beliefs don’t align with theirs. Social media is a forum that allows one to express themselves through pictures or opinions. Constructive criticism is one thing, but hating on someone because of their views on a particular subject is ridiculous.

The Bad pt.2:

The aspiration nowadays for young people is to become “YouTube famous” or anything in the realm of social media popularity. It’s a numbers game for some folks, where the amount of “followers” or “friends” they have boost up their egos. Low self-esteem, insecurities, or just life in general can play a part as to how one uses social media. Instead of it being used as a way to pass time many find it as a utility to escape what’s really eating them from the inside.

The Good pt.1:

Finally some positive news! You may be asking yourself “is social media is all that bad?” My answer to that is no. If utilized correctly, it can be such a useful tool to get a whole new perspective on things. Special events like the Olympics or MTV awards have such a following, and it’s great to engage with like-minded individuals who may or may not like the same athlete or artist as you, but are able to communicate with one another and discuss on such topics. On top of that, who can pass up sharing a funny meme? I know I can’t.

The Good pt.2

Believe it or not I’ve actually made some cool friends off of social media. I hit it off with a few where we actually got to meet in person. Networking is an important facet of life. Whether it’s for work to spread your ideas or to branch out and form personal relationships, social media can play an integral role in creating those bonds.

Again, do I hate social media? No, but do I believe some form of etiquette can be used while engaging others? Hell yeah! If you have the decency to act right with people in person, why’s it so hard to use those same principles behind a computer screen?

 

What Your Astrological Sign REALLY Says About You

Horoscopes. Some people love them, some people put no stock into them. Sometimes, though, they are scary accurate. So there has to be some truth to the traits applied to us all based on our zodiac sign, right? Eh, maybe. Sometimes those descriptions are just a bit too sugar-coated…Cancers are the best cooks! Libras are the best lovers! Leos will perform the best in a marathon! And blah, blah, blah. What if horoscopes told us the downright truth? Well, if your horoscopes were like a blunt, bitchy friend, this is what they would have to say. Only continue if you can handle the truth. You’ve been warned.

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Don’t Let Family Bully You

(Image Credit: Olly)

(Image Credit: Olly)

Imagine this: you and a longtime friend are hanging out, getting coffee at Starbucks because that’s what you do. You are talking, having a great time, when all of a sudden you say something that wasn’t entirely the smartest thing you’ve ever said. It happens; it’s what you do. But your friend? They lash out. They look at you with disgust, they tell you that this is why America is going to hell in a hand basket and put you down. Then, in an instant, they laugh it off as they see your face contort in confusion and hurt. “I’m just joking; gosh can’t you take a joke?” They smirk and move on, as if nothing even happened. Continue reading

Your First Time: Carving a Pumpkin

(Image Credit: Alliance)

(Image Credit: Alliance)

The first jack-o’-lanterns were supposedly carved in Ireland, except instead of using pumpkins, the carvers used turnips (weird, I know). The spooky lanterns were meant to represent the strange phenomenon of flickering lights over peat bogs, known as will-o’-the wisp. The pumpkin lanterns were meant to represent the faces of spirits and goblins. Nowadays, the tradition of carving pumpkins is widespread and, in America especially, has friendlier symbolism: come trick or treat here; we’ve got candy! Continue reading

What It Means To Be A ‘Real Woman’

(Image Credit: Shock)

(Image Credit: Shock)

I previously wrote an article on what it means to be a “real man.” The media defines “real men” differently than I do, and depending on the culture that we’re raised in, that definition will vary to some degree. Ultimately the gist was, men are faced with enormous pressure to embody traits of “masculinity” that are damaging to themselves and their relationships with others. The same is also true for women. It’s our job, whatever gender, to challenge those expectations, many of which are unhealthy and outdated. Continue reading

Watching Life Through Screens

(Image Credit: Bibi)

(Image Credit: Bibi)

This era of human history is all about “the screen.” We love our smartphones, tablets, touch screen watches and laptops, and we love to share every moment of our lives through these devices and the wonderfully addictive apps that come along with them. And that’s fine. We’re all guilty of it. But it poses a serious question. Continue reading

Life in the Linz Lane: Lessons Learned from Goodbye

(Image Credit: Kasto)

(Image Credit: Kasto)

It was only a couple of days ago; I sat on the tarmac waiting for my plane to take off, clutching desperately to a one-way ticket. I looked out the window and searched for a sign, a revelation, if you will. I needed to know I was doing the right thing. Yet desperately as I searched, I was only comforted and briefly saddened by the hazy New York City skyline and the familiar noises of a plane gearing up for flight. While the flight attendants prepared for departure, I scrolled through my text messages one last time. Just then, a message lit up across my screen. I don’t understand why you’re moving so far. Do you really need to leave? Continue reading

Your First Time Wine Tasting

(Image Credit: Boggy)

(Image Credit: Boggy)

If you’re looking for a fun weekend activity and are over the age of 21, wine tasting is definitely an experience you should try! I’m not typically a huge wine drinker, but I love trying new things, so when I was first presented with the opportunity to attend a wine tasting, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Continue reading

Managing Your Money Post-College

(Image Credit: Masson)

(Image Credit: Masson)

So you’ve finally graduated from college. Congratulations! Now what? For many of us, this means finding a job, moving to a new place and starting our “adult” lives. This is an exciting step, of course, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. One of the most daunting aspects of this new chapter of life is the financial responsibility. Some graduates may be lucky enough to walk away with no debts and the start to a substantial savings, while others are struggling to see how their last four years of education will ever be paid off. Regardless of where you fall on the financial spectrum, here are some tips for managing your money post-college. Continue reading

What it’s like being an Anxious Optimist

(Image Credit: Michael Spring)

(Image Credit: Michael Spring)

There are two things in life that I know for certain: I am an eternal optimist and I have anxiety. I am a walking contradiction; I always hope for the best, but I’m always assuming the worst. It’s a tough world for an anxious optimist like me. Continue reading

We All Have A Different Path

(Image Credit: Narstudio)

(Image Credit: Narstudio)

Imagine you’ve spent all this time pouring over a map; its hundreds of routes crossing and intersecting in a tangled web of possibilities. After much deliberation, endless nights of tossing and turning, and having finally learned how to distinguish a passing cramp from your gut’s instinct, you’ve actually managed to pick one path to brave. You feel relieved! Excited! And maybe a little bit nervous. But that’s okay. Feeling all there is to feel, you set out on your chosen route with an awesome playlist queued up and the sun shining through your car windows, going at the pace which makes you happiest. All of a sudden there’s someone running out into the middle of the road. You slam your breaks and realize it’s…your fifth grade science teacher holding a “wrong way” sign? Continue reading

Life In The Linz Lane: The Spiritual Retreat (I Never Took)

(Image Credit: JenkoAtaman

(Image Credit: JenkoAtaman)

(Image Credit: JenkoAtaman

A couple of months ago, while lying in a bathtub listening to Bon Iver and drinking a glass of cheap wine, I received a phone call from a spiritual retreat “camp” in Hawaii. Continue reading

Everything I ever needed to know, I learned from…’Grace and Frankie’

GRACE AND FRANKIE (Image Credit: Netflix)

GRACE AND FRANKIE (Image Credit: Netflix)

If you haven’t yet binge-watched one of Netflix’s latest masterpieces, you should stop reading this right now and get to it. Grace and Frankie may look uninteresting or “too old” but I promise you’ll love it! It’s one of the first shows in a long time that’s made me laugh, cry and everything in between. I never thought I would want to be living my life as two 60-something women, but I would jump at the chance to be Grace and Frankie for a day! Continue reading