Jessie Buckley and Eddie Redmayne (Photo: Reuters)
A recent trip to ‘Cabaret’ reminded me to stop fretting and start asking myself: ‘So what?’
I went to see Cabaret last week and I’ve been inspired to try a new thing. Before my fans get too excited, I should make clear that the “new thing” is not, “join a West End musical” (although I do need to put my drama training to good use at some point, so never say never).
My friend had a spare ticket to the show last week, just after Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley triumphed at “The Olivierssss” (dahhhhling!) and I was genuinely thrilled to get invited along.
However, the looming 4pm slump almost set off the “ah, maybe I should get an early night” part of my brain. Over the last two years, it’s become all too easy to hide, hibernate, watch Below Deck Mediterranean and get an early night. And that’s fine sometimes, but too much and it begins to feel like a cry for help.
I avoided the slump, by the way, and had the most brilliant night. If you can find some tickets and spare the cash before the cost of living becomes truly insane, you won’t regret it. The post Redmayne/Buckley cast are out of this world incredible. Particularly Emily Benjamin, who on the night we went was covering for Amy Lennox who’s currently playing Sally. I was moved to tears by her rendition of “Maybe Next Time”, and I’m not much of a crier. Usually it’s only deaths and my dog standing on my balls that activates the ducts, but this really got me.
My other highlight, as I sat there with a massive gin (this might explain the tears actually), was the track “So What” by Vivien Parry as the ageing landlady Fraulein Schneider. It was exactly what I needed to hear. It’s funny and silly but also poignant and it’s the reason I’m writing this column today.
For me, it was a great reminder to stop obsessing over stupid things that don’t really matter. In my instance, being a bit tired. So what?!
For those embarrassingly unfamiliar with the story, as I was, Fraulein Schneider is looking to rent out a spare room she has for 100 marks. Clifford Bradshaw, a wide-eyed aspiring American novelist only has 50 and she settles for that because, essentially, life’s too short and no one else was going to rent the room anyway so she’d rather settle for that as it’s “50 more than I had yesterday”. Who cares? So what?! And she’s right, so bloody what?
It sounds silly, but the song served as a great reminder to brush off the smaller worries in life. Afterwards, it left me thinking about the stupid little things that can consume me for hours and how ridiculous that is. Save your worries for the big things.
I’ve spent too long worrying about not having a flat stomach despite doing loads of exercise and feeling fitter than I ever have. Why does it matter? It doesn’t. If I haven’t got a six pack and instead I have a little cheese belly, who cares? So what!
Do you think you’re too tired to go out and see your best friends? So what! Go out anyway, I bet the energy you get from them is even more valuable and better for you than an extra couple of hours in bed.
What else? Oh, every man worries about his hair thinning. But you can shave it off or save up some money and get some new tufts planted. Either way, everything’s going to be OK.
Instead of writing a list of “things you’re grateful for”, like so many wellness fanatics encourage us to do, why don’t you write a “so what” list? Document the ridiculous worries in your brain, then write “so what” after each one. It’s possible you’ll notice how little hangs on them.
You will always be left with worries that actually are worth your time, but once you’ve weeded out the small niggles, you might be able to better focus your brain on the ones that do deserve attention.
None of us needs to spend a minute longer worrying about some photo that didn’t get as many likes as our modern brains seem to need or why that guy you went on a date with hasn’t messaged back for two days.
Now, stop reading this, write your list while you listen to the Cabaret soundtrack and go and do a nice thing for yourself or, even better, someone else. I’d suggest maybe donating to a refugee charity would be a good place to start.
So when you feel your brain obsessing over something pointless, just remember: “The sun will rise and the moon will set/ And learn how to settle for what you get/ It will all go on if we’re here or not/ So who cares? So what?!”