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Fit for Life: Magnify the Positive in Your Life Today

Saturday, November 10, 2018


“THIS IS US”, analyzed by me.

What do you see when you watch the series “This is us?”

For those of you that haven’t seen the show, it’s about a family from Pittsburgh that jumps back and forth between the seventies and the present day, depicting the trials and tribulations the “all American” family encounters on a daily basis.

In one scene the parents, Jack and Rebecca (both white) are due to have triplets but one dies during delivery.

However, another (Afro American) baby is born in the next room at the same time, and the mother dies.

This prompts Jack and Rebecca to adopt the orphaned baby and bring him into their lives as their own.

They treat the incidence as a “meant to be” omen and welcome the third child as their own with non-judgmental open arms.

It is a great story, and on the surface everything looks perfect. Jack is an amazing guy that seems to do no wrong. He is a loving father and husband and has the morals and ethics of a saint. Rebecca is a beautiful and talented woman that can sing, and play the piano on a professional level, and she passes that talent down to her daughter Kate. Their sons are also talented on different levels. Randall (the adopted one) is super smart, and Kevin is a naturally gifted athlete and actor.

They seem to be the perfect family when the show shines a light on the past and covers the family’s interactions.

They enjoy the holidays together, go camping as a family, and watch Steelers football games together.

The parents are loving and supportive on every level, and they live for their family.

True all-American family life, with the occasional growing pains, such as the kids acting like selfish spoiled brats in certain episodes. Sort of a modern day “Happy Days with the Cunningham’s”

Until you dig deeper, and the show keeps taking you on journeys back and forth to the present day.

During this journey you find out that Jack has a drinking problem, and a shattered past consisting of an abusive father, and a stint in Vietnam.

Rebecca passed up on a professional singing career and has some bottled up resentment that she sacrificed to raise a family.

As the show gets deeper, the perfect family label starts to dissolve, and real life shines its ugly face.

Jack dies in a house fire while the kids are in high school and life changes for the entire family.

The mother struggles to raise three kids on her own. Three kids that turn uncooperative and make life difficult for their mother.

Kevin develops a drinking and substance abuse problem, Katie has an eating disorder and becomes obese at an early age, and Randall struggles with his identity being a black kid raised by white parents.

They also carry a certain level of unjustified resentment towards their mother, that’s doing her best to be a good parent and role model.

Fast forward to the present day, and Rebecca marries Jack’s best friend.

Kevin, although a successful actor, still struggles with substance abuse.

Katie is extremely obese and wants to have a baby despite the risk factors.

Randall is a successful corporate professional, and awesome family man but still needed to find his biological father after he finds out that he is alive, and Rebecca prohibited him from being in contact with him.

What I like about the show is that it tells the story that beneath the surface we all have shit going on despite looking perfect to the public eye.

That it doesn’t matter how successful you are on the outside, the size of your house, or the car you drive, we are all humans, and we all face the same adversity that all humans face.

Regardless of income or status everyone has the potential to become either emotionally resilient or fall prey to the everyday emotional baggage that holds us down.

Nobody is exempt from problems and adversity, despite a loving upbringing, and this show spells it out perfectly.

What I don’t like is the whiny victim attitude they portray to get you to feel bad for the characters.

They are all older, and it’s time to stop blaming their problems on their childhood.

I believe that there is a time limit on letting your childhood dictate the path your adult life takes.

We are resilient humans with the capacity to overcome anything that you put your mind to.

Although bad memories can’t be erased, you can still control your future and destiny with the right mindset and support system.

Kevin, although a rich and famous actor, still blames his substance abuse on his childhood. He uses his relationship with his mother, and the loss of his father as his scapegoats for his problems.

Katie, despite the risk factors of being obese and undergoing in vitro fertilization still gets emotional when the doctor tells her to lose weight to reduce the risk. Again, blaming her childhood on her eating disorder. She doesn’t like being overweight, yet she won’t stick to a program to fix the problem.

Randall, although being successful feels the need to find his roots, and resurrect a poor neighborhood in Philadelphia, as well as adopt a troubled teen to prove to himself that he can make a difference. Despite growing up loved and accepted, he still has issues being a black man raised by white parents. He even went to an all-black college despite being accepted to more prestigious ones to express his identity.

In conclusion, there are always two ways to look at life.

You can shine a light on all the positive things happening to you, or you can dwell on all the bad memories and possibilities.

You can focus on what you are or what could’ve been. However, we will never know the second theory because it never happened.

All the characters in the show live amazing lives and have become amazing people, yet they victimize themselves and magnify their problems.

Instead of embellishing on all the positive factors and happy moments, they hold on to the painful moments in their past too deeply. They were loved and well cared for, yet they compartmentalize their negative experiences and let that dictate their present lives.

I know it’s a tv show that glamorizes everything, so apply it to your life today.

Take a moment and do an inventory on all the positive things happening to you today. Focus on magnifying your findings and let your past become a stepping stone of what you are today.

We all have had good and bad instances that at one time shaped our lives. Some things have the potential to put us on the wrong path. However, with age and experience, we all have the power and strength within us to course correct and steer our ships to brighter horizons.

Committed to your success. 

Matt Espeut, GoLocal's Health & Lifestyle Contributor has been a personal trainer and health & fitnesss consultant for over 25 years. He is the owner of Fitness Profiles, a one on one, and small group personal training company, as well as Providence Fit Body Boot Camp, located at 1284 North Main St., on the Providence/Pawtucket line. You can reach Matt at (401) 453-3200; on Facebook at "Matt Espeut", and on Twitter at @MattEspeut. "We’re all in this life together – let’s make it a healthy one.


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