Podcast 232: Consider the Company that Someone Keeps, Dealing with Podcast Overload, and Do You Have a “Rage to Live?”

Try This at Home

Remember to consider the company that someone keeps. This idea was inspired by my Summer of Proust, and I quote from Marcel Proust’s novel Swann’s Way:

What an agonizing truth was now contained for him in those lines of Alfred de Vigny’s Journal of a Poet which he had previously read without emotion: “When one feels oneself smitten by love for a woman, one should say to oneself, ‘Who are the people around her? What kind of life has she led?’ All one’s future happiness lies in the answer.”

And I also quote from Proust’s Sodom and Gomorrah:

Like everybody who is not in love, he [Robert] imagined that one chooses the person one loves after endless deliberation and on the strength of diverse qualities and strengths.

Happiness Hack

Create a reminder of your one-word theme by choosing a tag at a pet store and getting it engraved with your word. Elizabeth’s theme is “#6.” Mine is “Growth.”

Know Yourself Better

Do you have a rage to live? This question was inspired by The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt. Here’s a lightly edited version of what Gloria Vanderbilt writes:

I’ve always had passion, what [writer] John O’Hara called “a rage to live.” Yet part of me craved stability, which is incompatible with that rage….When you feel you have so much to give and so much passion inside you, there is only one thing to do, and that’s go out and find it, fulfill it. If you have that rage to live, nothing is going to stop you from trying to satisfy it, and each time you fall in love anew or achieve a creative goal, you tell yourself, “This is it! This is what I’ve been looking for!” But then you soon start to think “It’s not enough, I want more.”

Later, she goes on to observe:

I was born with an appetite for life, a romantic readiness, and I’ve rushed to greet life with an open heart…If you have that rage to live, don’t do something silly and mess up what you already have because you crave more. There is no amount of “more” that will ever satisfy. Once you are aware of this, once you are cognizant of the rage, then perhaps you can see when it leads you astray, taking over your thoughts, propelling you into a course of action you may regret.

Listener Question

Our listener Pia feels overwhelmed by the number of podcasts she needs to listen to, to get caught up. This is called being a “completist.”

Elizabeth’s Demerit

She hasn’t completed Jack’s health forms for school. 

Gretchen’s Gold Star

Speaking of listening to podcasts, I just discovered the podcast Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast with host Dallas Taylor –“The stories behind the world’s most recognizable and interesting sounds.”


  1. Do you love great quotations? Subscribe to my “Moment of Happiness” newsletter and receive a daily quotation in your inbox. Visit gretchenrubin.com/#newsletter, enter your email address, and click submit. You’ll get the option to customize which newsletters you receive from me. Select “daily happiness quotation.”
  2. I’m often asked about my favorite works of children’s literature and young-adult literature, so I made a list of my 81 favorites. Download the PDF at gretchenrubin.com/resources/.
  3. Happier with Gretchen Rubin is part of The Onward Project, a family of podcasts all about how to make our lives better. If you like this podcast, you’ll probably enjoy Happier in Hollywood, Elizabeth’s other podcast with her writing partner Sarah Fain; Chris Guillebeau’s Side Hustle School; and Melissa Hartwig Urban’s terrific new podcast Do the Thing.

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