I don’t watch a lot of television, especially now that I’m in college, but I do love viewing the Graham Norton Show with my parents once a week. We sit curled up on the leather couch, our laps acting as 1950s TV dinner trays with our plate of food sitting there, our hungry bellies grumbling, and our minds eager for a lighthearted end to a busy day.
If you’re unfamiliar with Graham, he’s a British talk show host and comedian who invites a variety of celebrities to spend a night on his red couch and share little snippets from their everyday lives (while, of course, promoting whatever new movie, show, or book they’ve just released). At the end of each episode, a musical guest performs before Graham takes a visit to the Big Red Chair (who’s there?). This is the part of the show where the audience gets a chance to shine—two or three members of the crowd sit in the red chair and do their best to deliver a great story. If the story is a winner and makes everyone laugh, Graham lets them walk back to their seats. But for whatever reason, if the story goes awry or if Graham is in a mood, he’ll pull an ominous lever—like something a diabolically laughing villain would do in a cheesy superhero movie—which causes the chair to flip backwards. You can see what I’m talking about here.
After watching the show, I’m always left asking myself: what story would I tell if I were in the Big Red Chair?
I’ve never been the type of person who follows celebrities and obsesses over their everyday whereabouts. I do, however, find their anecdotes on the Graham Norton Show to be particularly amusing. Their lives are so extravagant and filled with one-of-a-kind experiences, crazy interactions, and unbelievable parties (all requiring dressing to perfection, of course) that I can’t help but wonder what that would be like.
Besides my dream of being a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, I’ve never wanted to be famous. But the seemingly constant excitement and spontaneity of celebrities’ days are really appealing to me. While I find comfort in routine, I also get bored with it; I fall into a trap of running through the motions instead of running with each moment; I slink into a habit of what’s comfortable instead of what’s a healthy dose of impulsivity. By hearing these celebrities’ anecdotes—little snippets of their lives, embarrassing moments, funny coincidences—it makes them seem more relatable. Sure, I’ll probably never run into Leonardo DiCaprio while on a million dollar winter getaway in the Maldives, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be interesting too. What are my stories?
One time, I wore a black long sleeve t-shirt covered in rainbow skulls. It’s one of my favorite shirts, though it has never appeared on the blog. A very bold girl in my class walked up to me and proclaimed excitedly, “Wow! I LOVE your shirt! Where’d you get it?” I returned the enthusiasm when I responded honestly, “I won it in a dance-off at a Halloween party.” She looked shocked, and then she admiringly told me something so unexpected and flattering that I never imagined I would hear: “Your life is so interesting.”
No, I’m not famous and no, I don’t want to be. But just because I don’t have the money or status to go to fancy parties, travel the world, and meet celebrities, doesn’t mean I can’t be the interesting star of my own life. Watching the Graham Norton Show has guided me in the realization of this goal: I want to be somebody. Somebody with fascinating stories, somebody with incredible experiences, somebody with whom to share a riveting conversation.
You’ve probably heard cliché life mottos and read them all over Pinterest: you only live once or live in the moment or live life to the fullest. But I’ve added a different twist to those clichés to create my own mantra: live a life worthy of a talk show.
So instead of trying to live up every single second, which always seemed to me a daunting and impossible task, I now focus on having at least one good story a week. One anecdote exciting and interesting enough that Graham wouldn’t have to pull that big lever, that I could stand up proudly and walk away from that Big Red Chair, knowing I’m truly living.
Whether it’d be showcasing my moves as an exotic dancer at the “adult” hypnosis show in front of hundreds of my peers during the first week of school, or the crazy happenings at Tango Club each Thursday night, I would say I’ve been pretty successful in accumulating anecdotes since arriving at college. Keeping this mantra at the forefront of my mind reminds me to continue pushing the boundaries of my personal bubble. I’m always seeking novel experiences and more importantly, maintaining an open and positive outlook. But now I ask you: what story would YOU tell in the Big Red Chair?
Leave me your stories in the comments below! I’d love to read them and for us to share the interesting moments of our lives with each other. If you’re struggling with brainstorming an anecdote, like I did when I first asked myself this question, then I encourage you to make it a priority this weekend to live a life worthy of a talk show. Seek out opportunities to do something spontaneous and exciting. Don’t let fear or your comfort zone (we all enjoy a little introverted Netflix at night, but maybe try going to that event you read about instead) get in the way of a great story. Get out there! To quote the movie Up, “Adventure awaits.” Or else, I’m coming for you with my big lever. 😉
See all y’all story-tellers on Monday!
Miles of smiles,
Red Thermal-Knit Dress: Francesca’s, $6, debut on the blog // Brown Booties: DSW, $35 // Aviator Sunglasses: Icing, $16 // Brown Studded Belt: Cabi Clothing, $76 // Brown Saddle Bag: won in a giveaway, originally from Club Monaco