The One Where We Lost Chandler Bing

The One Where We Lost Chandler Bing. Chandler drinking coffee in Heaven. For Like A Bardess, the Indiepreneur Academy blog by Rebecca Bardess

Gen X Just Lost Family 

We don't get to choose how we're remembered when we die, because we can't fully measure our own value. 

Matthew Perry wanted our first thoughts of him to be about his work with people to overcome addiction. While I'll pay tribute to that later, it isn't the first thing that springs to mind about him to me.

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Gen X Snarkies πŸπŸπŸπŸπŸ

Solitary Bees πŸπŸπŸπŸπŸ

Rage Bees πŸπŸπŸπŸπŸ

Poor Me Bees 😭 πŸπŸπŸπŸπŸ

 

Friends Made Millennials Laugh, and Gen Z Sneer, But Gave Gen X Family

Friends is problematic for Gen Z, who makes it a point to meme about how unfunny they think it is. Personally, I don't find endlessly copied TikTok dances a hoot, found the sexualisation of children like Charli D'Amelio deeply problematic, and think a good case can be made for renaming 'Gen Z' as 'Gen Eric' on account of their endless copying-paste-cancel-repeat group culture. But that's a blog for another day. And, honestly, I can't hate on the hustle. Hopping around like manic selfie squirrels for vanity metric treats all day must be exhausting. 

Millennials loved Friends, and are the largest demographic to have watched it. Because they're a large demograph, which Gen X is not. In common with Gen Z and Boomers, they're a boom generation. Gen X is not. 

Now that millennials have hit middle age, their big social media platform (Facebook) has become Boomer Village, they realise nobody gives a crap what Hogwarts house they're in, and are trying to get in with Gen Z to preserve their relevance, the last few months have shown a swing in opinion to match that younger generation.

I predict that will be papered over in a mass generational appropriation of the show now one of the Friends has died.  Maybe I'm being cynical. How Gen X of me. We'll see. They've done this with everything else. Gen X has never been allowed a moment. Boomers swiped the early ones. Millennials swiped the later ones. It's part of who we are to walk the world unseen while others take credit for our contributions. 

Apologies in advance if I am wrong, Millennials. You know I love you. XOXO πŸ˜‰.

But Friends was a Gen X show, with a Gen X cast, and it spoke to a peculiar trait of Gen X.

As the forgotten generation, with the first rush of Boomers, and Boomer cusper parents, at peak 'Talking About MY Generation' energy, with little concern for what would happen to ours, we were never the special snowflakes that Millennials were to their parents.

The 'Me Me Me' generation had calmed its heels a bit by the time Millennials appeared. But Gen X were a side order generation. Never the main event. A casual addition to the 60s Generation's egotistical lifestyle.

My parents were great in many ways, so this isn't a dig at them. If anything, they made room for everyone else's children. The upshot is the same though. Gen X were either alone and unnoticed, or not special compared to anyone else's kids, and unnoticed. One way or another, we spent a lot of time alone compared to other generations. Over-educated, under-appreciated, and isolated, the lyrics of the Friends Intro resonated:

"I'll Be There For You (Theme From Friends)"

So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job's a joke, you're broke, your love life's D.O.A.
It's like you're always stuck in second gear
When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year, but

I'll be there for you
(When the rain starts to pour)
I'll be there for you
(Like I've been there before)
I'll be there for you
('Cause you're there for me too)

You're still in bed at ten and work began at eight
You've burned your breakfast, so far things are going great
Your mother warned you there'd be days like these
But she didn't tell you when the world has brought you down to your knees that

I'll be there for you
(When the rain starts to pour)
I'll be there for you
(Like I've been there before)
I'll be there for you
('Cause you're there for me too)

No one could ever know me
No one could ever see me
Seems you're the only one who knows what it's like to be me
Someone to face the day with, make it through all the rest with
Someone I'll always laugh with
Even at my worst, I'm best with you, yeah!

It's like you're always stuck in second gear
When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year

I'll be there for you
(When the rain starts to pour)
I'll be there for you
(Like I've been there before)
I'll be there for you
('Cause you're there for me too)

I'll be there for you
I'll be there for you
I'll be there for you
('Cause you're there for me too)

Our parents were the result of the culture in which they lived, and 'Western' culture as a whole spread this message.

Anyone who spent too much time with their kids was looked down on by society. The exact opposite of the helicopter parenting that Millennials experienced.

Our parents literally had to be reminded they even had children. 

As the smallest generation there is, we generally didn't have large sibling groups, were deemed best seen and not heard, and had to find family outside our family. In part this was due to the mood of the 60s being so narcissistic and hedonistic that the idea of making time to put your kids' needs before your own was just not having a moment. It was also due to being the generation most edited via the new technologies available for birth control. For example, between 1970 and 1980, for every 10 Americans born, 3 were aborted.

Latchkey kids ran the streets until the street lights came on. Rural Gen X were herded together and told to 'go out and play' in fields and lanes, with no particular attention to what was special about any of us individually, in comparison with later generations. We learnt to be hyper-independent as children, were generally kicked out of home way earlier than other generations now are, and friends were family, so Friends became emblematic of that. 

In this context, Chandler was the funny brother. The awkward one who covered shyness with humour. The people-pleaser. The glue that held the family of friends together. As a university student at the time, being held together by friends in my Halls of Residence as my family (temporarily) fell apart, I understood the message. Laughing at Chandler's wry observations helped to keep me on track between the panic attacks. 

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Who Was Matthew Perry?

That was Chandler, but who was Matthew?

One of the blessings and curses of gaining fame young is being known forever for one role. But Matthew played many roles in his life.

He wasn't only an actor, he was a friend. And he was someone who laughed so he didn't cry. 

He famously said that he couldn't watch Friends, because he knew how badly addicted he was to the pain drugs he took after an accident in 1997. In constant turmoil, fighting addiction and depression, his weight fluctuating as he tried to keep some sense of stability, Matthew lived far longer than many of us thought he would. 

How Matthew Perry Saw Himself

Matthew wanted to be remembered as someone who helped people overcome addiction. He always struggled with it, but he sought to help others.

He wanted to be remembered as someone who:

'...lived well, loved well, was a seeker, and his paramount thing is that he  wants to help people.'

This video shares his thoughts on himself, as well as a tribute by a friend of his, whom he helped to get sober. In the next video, he talks about his book and about how it might be a shock to people if he died, but it wouldn't be a surprise.

Video Poster Image

This is difficult to listen to, especially when he talks about the desperation of a drowning man, given how he left us.

But his legacy is to help 'his people'. The people in rehab, not the people in the Academy Awards. 

Honouring Matthew Perry

At the time of writing, we don't know the exact details of how we lost our friend. But whether it ends up being a story of a lost battle to addiction or depression, or foul play, or an accident, or a heart attack shouldn't matter. 

What matters is that he lived, and that he taught us about friends becoming family. He battled addiction, and he raised awareness of it. He supported those struggling in the same way, and he was grateful for life.  

Those seem like pretty big accomplishments to me. 

What can you do today to further that message, if you want to honour the resilience that he had and the struggle he went through to help others?

And let me know in the comments what he meant to you, and also what Friends meant to you, if it mattered to you. And, yes, Millennial and Gen Z comments are also welcome. But if you want to make a blog about how much he or his work sucked, write your own blog. Here isn't the place for it, and now isn't the time. 

He was there for you. It's time to be there for him too. 

Rebecca. 

Rebecca Bardess

Rebecca Bardess is a Dot Com Pioneer, was one of the first Bloggers in the world, and won and was a finalist in some of the earliest social media influencer contests, including Ms Twitter, in which she beat all the Kardashians, and the first Shorty Awards, in which she was a finalist in the Literature category. 

Rebecca is a bestselling author, was a magazine columnist for many years, and has been online since 1986. She's been helping men in their 20s in the entrepreneurial space with personal and business development for 25 years. 

This earned her the nickname 'Queen of Kingmakers'. 

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/* desktop padding overrides */ padding-top: 0px; padding-right: 0px; padding-bottom: 0px; padding-left: 0px; } } /* mobile text align */ @media (max-width: 767px) { #block-1698733696173 { text-align: left; } } #block-1698733696173 .image__image { max-width: 25%; border-radius: 4px; } #block-1698733696173 .image__image { float: left; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 10px; } /* flush setting */ /* margin settings */ #block-1696522456141 { margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; } #block-1696522456141 .block { /* border settings */ border: 1px solid #ECF0F1; border-radius: 10px; /* background color */ background-color: #ffeed1; /* default padding for mobile */ padding: 0px; padding: 0px; padding: 0px; /* mobile padding overrides */ padding-top: 15px; padding-right: 15px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 15px; } @media (min-width: 768px) { /* desktop margin settings */ #block-1696522456141 { margin-top: 0px; margin-right: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; margin-left: 0px; } #block-1696522456141 .block { /* default padding for desktop */ padding: 0px; padding: 0px; /* desktop padding overrides */ padding-top: 15px; padding-right: 15px; padding-bottom: 15px; padding-left: 15px; } } /* mobile text align */ @media (max-width: 767px) { #block-1696522456141 { text-align: center; } } #block-1696522456141 .feature__image, [data-slick-id="1696522456141"] .feature__image { width: 100px; border-radius: 100px; } .authorfeature { display: flex; align-items: flex-start; position: relative; } .authorfeature__image-container { flex-shrink: 0; /* Prevent the image from shrinking */ margin-right: 20px; } .authorfeature__image { max-width: 150px; height: auto; } .authorfeature__content { flex-grow: 1; /* Allow the text and button to take the remaining space */ } @media (max-width: 767px) { #block-1696522456141 .authorfeature { flex-direction: column; /* Stack children vertically */ align-items: center; } #block-1696522456141 .authorfeature__image-container { margin-right: 0; } }

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