Fish, Water, and Roller Coasters

I drank a lot last night. It’s not the first time.

As the saying goes, “it's all right to drink like a fish — if you drink what a fish drinks."

With my therapist’s permission, I’ve been recording a few of our sessions so that I can remind myself of the captivating lessons and inspiring conversations we’ve had. This morning, with a hell-bent hangover, I decided to revisit my discussions regarding life, as we know it. 

Here is a transcript of the audio recording:

Neil: …and he wrote that on the inside cover?
MH: Yeah, it’s one thing that stays with me. I mean, it’s in a song from a band I’m not too fond of, but I find the context to be super meaningful…
Neil: I love it. Read it again please?
MH: Sure.  “Do what you do and at least you exist”
Neil: Wow. So what does that phrase mean to you?
MH: Well, just like what we’ve talked about in these sessions - I’ve had a ton of ups and downs in my life. Shit, I turn 25 on Saturday…hard to imagine. But I guess what it means to me is to just be true to myself.
Neil: Meaning?
MH: [My] life’s been a roller coaster. I’ve sat there while it goes up and down and upside down and most of the time I hit my head, scrape [my body], get thrown out of the seat and shit sucks.
[muffled cough]
Neil: Right, right. That’s life though, isn’t it? Tosses you around…it’s a tough thing. Sometimes it makes you want to quit.
MH: ...but I’m not a quitter, you know? Even though I’ve been so close to making that decision, as you well know. So instead I crawl back into the roller coaster seat. The moment I'm back in it, the ride just keeps on going and going with its twists and turns and craziness…All the scrapes and bruises, all the wounds, all the scars...the successes and the fuck ups. That’s what life really is.
Neil: That’s very true. It’s a tough thing, depending on your perception.
MH: Sometimes I say "God damnit, I don't want to be in this roller coaster anymore. I’m fucking done."
But when I take a step back and think about it… if I'm not right here, right here in this moment, then where the hell would I be?
In the line for the ride? On the sideline for the game? I don’t exist to stand on the be afraid of what’s going to happen next. That doesn’t make any sense to me.
I was born to fly through the sky, throwing my hands up, looking at the crazy views and angles while screaming the entire time. Have the time of my life. Or as Alan Watts said, “having a ball”… ya know? So that’s where my head is and that’s what I’m going to do.
Do what I do...and at least I exist.


Life is better without the harsh anxieties of the world swimming over and engulfing your mind. Work, family, responsibility, relationships, money, stuff, things…

Thoughts, worries, pain, anger, sorrow, depression… These are components of life you can’t control. Accepting these unfathomable and scaling traits is a feat that can be summed up in one word: tough.

My life is taking twists and turns; changes.

The other day at a local diner, I had a ‘strange’ encounter with the restaurant owner. While sitting with my girlfriend and her family in this local Connecticut diner, the owner greeted our party, these “regulars” as they’re known, with a very simple question. He asked,


“How are you – is everybody happy and healthy?”



What an incredibly simple question…but there is so much more to it. This empathy-ridden interrogation was an incredible moment in my life. In that moment, I gained the clarity of family relationships, love, human understanding, consciousness, kindness...and so much more. It’s crazy to think that something so simple could set off a chain-reaction of chemicals and electricity which erupted into a sequence of illuminating thoughts, feelings, and change.

How does the water really feel to the fish? Is it comfortable? Does it only keep them alive, or does it nourish their soul?

I guess the real question is this:

“Does it bring them joy and happiness?”

Because that is life.