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I have been binge watching the show Alone on Netflix.
My husband and I watched the first season of this when it aired years ago. The premise of the show is they take 10 survival experts and drop them individually in different areas of a super harsh and remote place in the world.
Whoever lasts the longest before “tapping out” gets $500,000. They do not know when others tap out, so at any given time, they do not know how many people are still competing.
It’s kind of an extreme version of the show Naked and Afraid. The Alone contestants do all their own filming, as opposed to having a comfy film crew tagging along capturing their every move, which is the case on Naked and Afraid.
The Alone contestants are given some basic items, including a first aid kit and clothing of their choice. And then they can pick just 10 survival items. Most people pick a fire starter, knife and cooking pot. Some choose to bring a bow and arrow, wire and fishing line. I assume they can’t choose a gun, because no one ever has a gun.
Of course, the physical survival stuff is mind-blowing. These people are definitely the friends you would want to have with you if you were camping or trekking over harsh terrain.
They know how to build snares and shelters. They know how to forage and fish. They know how to track squirrels, rabbits and large game. Despite all they know, they understandably do make mistakes. They aren’t perfect.
One guy killed a moose, so he had plenty of meat for weeks on end. But even he as an expert hadn’t anticipated how lean moose meat is. Virtually no fat in moose meat. The guy still lost 30 pounds of body weight in one month, even though he was eating moose meat every single day. Go figure.
Some are wiser than others, so the first few people who tap out usually don’t come as too much of a surprise.
The medical team of the show does regular med checks on the participants. If their body mass index falls below a certain level or if they are having blood pressure or heart rate issues, they are pulled from the competition.
Good to know the show creators won’t let people die, all in the name of entertaining us viewers sitting comfortably in our homes with our fridges, microwaves and bazillion entertainment options.
But wow, doesn’t that ramp up the stress—it’s not just that you have to survive, you have to meet certain expectations of what “surviving” means. So you could be alive and still want to stay out there, but they won’t let you if you aren’t doing a good enough job surviving. They won’t let you starve to death.
Obviously, the contestants spend quite a bit of time figuring out how to get food. But they have to balance exerting energy with having some down time too, so they won’t fly through calories exponentially faster than they replace them.
That down time alone in a desolate environment gives the contestants time to think.
A lot of time. Practically to the point of going insane in moments.
Not gonna lie. It is super fascinating and humbling to watch this. In those moments, their guard and filters fall away and they get real about what matters in life. They cry. They struggle to express themselves. They talk about their loved ones. Parents. Spouses. Kids.
They find a raw clarity that is terrifying and comforting, all at the same time.
Certainly the vast majority of us are not survival experts. And of those who are survival experts, incredibly few would actually go off on their own for months on end, regardless of a big prize incentive for enduring.
So as average every day people who get our food off shelves and who crawl into warm beds each night, we have to figure out how to find clarity. We have to find clarity without the external pressures of being isolated, alone, bored and hungry in a desolate forest.
We have to find clarity amidst the noise, distractions and stress of our daily lives. I don’t know about you, but I find that super challenging at times. So. Hard.
I told my husband when we got married that I didn’t want just an average marriage. I wanted an extraordinary marriage. In all our years of marriage, we have hit that mark a lot less than I thought we would have. I don’t think that’s commentary on us per se, as much as it is on our vast underestimation of the sheer noisiness of life.
It takes concerted effort to not only tune out the inconsequential noise, but also to keep the consequential noise from drowning you when your back is turned. And let’s not forget that we spend a considerable amount of time just trying to figure out what is inconsequential or consequential.
I know that when my husband and I are intentional—with our marriage, our boys, our friends, our dreams—we find those sweet spots. Life comes into focus. Everything comes into focus.
If you have followed my blog this year, you know we have been navigating two huge stressors that have worn us down at every turn. I mean, they probably aren’t on par with trying to survive alone in a harsh wilderness, but you get the idea.
Worst year ever.
And that was before the pandemic chaos showed up on the scene.
So I increasingly have new resolve to reclaim something of this year before it is over—and to make 2021 a lot more about clarity than distraction and mediocrity and crushing stress.
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.