Photo by Shawna Stanley
Photo by Shawna Stanley

Assisted Living: Keith is Back to Answer a Reader's Question About Crippling Option Paralysis

by / Apr. 6, 2016 2am EST

DEAR KEITH: I’m trying to find some new interests—a new hobby, a new genre of music to listen to, a new TV show to binge on, a new subject to study—but I find myself so overwhelmed by all of the options out there that I find it impossible to figure out where to start. I call this Netflix syndrome. What is your advice for approaching this issue? SO INDECISIVE I COULDN’T DECIDE ON A SIGN-OFF NAME


Before I dive into your crippling/extremely annoying option paralysis let me just take a moment to say, “WELCOME BACK, ME!” Yes. Yes. Thank you, much too kind. Wow. What a reception. Thank you. Huh. Wow. Yes. I see you, thumbs-up to you back there. Boy. So humbling. Incredible. Thank you. Yes. Hello. Wow. Yes. Incredible. Thank you. Thank you. Wow. Yes. Hi. Yes, thumbs-up to you now up in the balcony. My goodness. Wow. Yes. Boy. Thank you. Hello. Thank you. Oh, on your feet now? Okay, wow. Yes. Huh. Wow. Thank you. What a crowd. More people than I’ve ever seen in my life. Wow. Thank you. Thank you. Hi. So kind. My goodness. Easily the loudest applause on record. Wow. Thank you. A dream come true. Wow. Thank you. Yes. Yes. This is overwhelming. Hello. Oh my, a “Keith” chant? Wow. Incredible. Really incredible. I’m speechless. Thank you. Yes. Yes. Wow. Okay. Okay. Thank you. Yes. Wow. Thank you. Okay. Please. Settle down. Thank you. Wow. My gosh, what a city. What a city. Okay, so, I LOVE YOU TOO! Ha ha ha, okay, yes, settle down. As I was saying, you may have noticed that my office was closed for renovations for the past few weeks? Well, the horrible stench that made work impossible turned out to be nothing more than a rotting popcorn kernel wedged in my sinus cavity. Yes. Thank you. I know. I know. Thank you. Strange, since the last time I ate popcorn was while watching the newly released Sarah Palin porn spoof over five years ago but you know what I always say…

[Entire crowd in unison.] LIFE! IS! SUFFERING! 

Ha ha, that’s right. So good to be back. Feels like I never left.

So what’s this? Something about Netflix? Sorry, I’m really high. Oh yes, you’re unfulfilled but have no idea where your true passion lies and you feel overwhelmed by all the things demanding attention. That’s easy enough, let me address this with a ham-fisted anecdote: Once, on a drive through Canada, I was listening to the radio and the Dj was a man named Alan Cross who knew seemingly everything about bands—and I mean everything, even the names of their drummers. At one point in his show, someone called in and posited a similar question to yours: “With such a wealth of knowledge, how do you know what the best thing to listen to at any given time is? How can you settle on one band when you know there are so many others out there?” And Alan Cross gave an answer that I’ve tried to apply to everything I’ve done since then. He said, “If I’m doing it at the moment, it’s the best thing I could be doing at that moment.” He wasn’t saying that everything he did was the best, but rather that wherever he found himself was exactly where he needed to be. There are going to be a million things pulling you in a million different directions if you let them, and each one will seem more important than the others in their own way. But only one of those things will really speak to you if you can drown out the noise. And when it does, grab that thing by its huge, gorgeous, newly shorn balls and enjoy the shit out of it while you can, because pretty soon everything you love will be dead and your will to live will vanish like an insect track in the sand. 

Editor’s note: As frontman of Every Time I DieKeith Buckley has traveled the world gaining insights about the universe. In this monthly column he’ll use those insights to guide our readers with heartfelt and brutally honest advice. Have a question for Keith? Send it to

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