Podcast 327: Something to Remember: Gretchen Passed Out on Live TV! Plus a Hand-Holding Hack, and Are You in an Age of Expansion or Concentration?


A listener made a great suggestion for designing your summer:

  • 3 local adventures
  • big projects I want to do
  • 3 people I want to hang out with
  • 2 things I want to get better at
  • 6 fun and extraordinary things to do at home
  • Things I want to make and/or eat this summer


Try This at Home

Remember, “The things that go wrong often make the best memories.

Our mother once told me this truth, when I was worrying about all the things that could go wrong during my wedding, and I reminded myself of it recently, when I recently passed out on live TV! In the middle of a CBS This Morning segment. (Fortunately, I wasn’t on camera at the moment.)

Everything was fine, then just before I gave my first answer, I started to feel light-headed and saw spots in front of my eyes. Drew Barrymore asked me a great question about happiness, and I gave a terrible stammering answer. It was hard to talk.

Then I thought I’d recovered myself. I answered the next question without a problem—then suddenly passed out.

If you want to see my terrible answer, right before, watch here. We mention that we interviewed Drew Barrymore in episode 44, to talk about her memoir Wildflower (AmazonBookshop). My producer and everyone at the show was so understanding. I’m so grateful! And my doctor says there’s nothing to worry about. Elizabeth also had an opportunity to remember this aphorism recently, when she and Sarah got booted off the internet during a major formal presentation for Fantasy Island.

Happiness Hack

Right after I passed out, as soon as I got home, I told my husband Jamie what happened, and when he sat down across from me to hear the story, I told him, “I need you to hold my hand while I tell you this.” My research into the five senses has impressed me with the power of touch.

Know Yourself Better

Are you in an “age of expansion” or “age of concentration?” This question was adapted and inspired by the essay “The Function of Criticism at the Present Time” by Victorian poet and critic Matthew Arnold.

Gretchen’s Demerit

Because of my research into the five senses, and because of my love of color, I went to “The Nature of Color” exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. The weather was so beautiful that I decided to walk across the park, and for the first time, I timed how long it took me. Only twenty minutes! I’d always assumed it took forty-five minutes.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star

Elizabeth gives a gold star to the memoir Brat: An 80s Story (AmazonBookshop) by Andrew McCarthy. Hollywood small world story: she and Andrew McCarthy worked on the TV show The Family together. (After hearing that she liked the memoir so much, I read it, too, and also really enjoyed it.)


  • If you know someone looking for more outer order and inner calm, consider my Outer Order Inner Calm 30-day text (SMS) Challenge. Your gift recipient will get thirty days of simple, concrete ways to de-clutter their life and make more room for happiness.
  • Every week, to more than one million people (!), I send an email with five things that are making me happier, plus links to new blog posts, lists, quotations I’m pondering, and other updates. Join the free weekly newsletter here.


What we’re reading

  • Elizabeth: Destiny’s Embrace by Beverly Jenkins (AmazonBookshop). First of a trilogy.
  • Gretchen: Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative by Jane Alison (AmazonBookshop).



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