The Death-Defying ‘Russian Doll’ Guide to Confronting Your Mortality
It’s your 36th birthday and your best friend threw you an intimate party with lots of drugs, alcohol, homemade chicken, and a drippy cake. What more could you ask for? Sex, which is why you leave your own birthday party early with an attractive stranger. After getting laid, and dismissing your one-night stand, you head out to the streets of New York City…and get killed. It’s a total bummer, but the next thing you know, you’re back in the bathroom at your birthday party and it’s the previous night again. You seem to be alive. Are you dreaming? Did you time travel? What the fuck is happening? In your attempt to figure it out, you die again and end up back in the bathroom.
That’s the plot of the hilarious Emmy-nominated Netflix series Russian Doll, which follows Nadia Vulvokov (Natasha Lyonne) as she tries to free herself from the deadly vicious cycle she finds herself in. Though the themes are dark, the dialogue is whip-smart with rat-a-tat timing as Vulvokov contemplates what this mindfuck from the universe means. We recommend figuring out the meaning of life before you die, which is why we’ve put together this Russian Doll guide to confronting your mortality. Don’t forgive to live before you kick the bucket!
Cover Photo: Netflix
You don't know how much time you have left in life, but you know it's limited. Drop anything unnecessary, like your gig as a video game developer. Your priority should be contemplating the big questions of life and figuring out this whole life-after-death debacle.
Own your shit.
Have you been a horrible human being? (Admit it. We all have at some point.) You can't transform until you take responsibility for your behavior. If you play a toxic role in someone's life, recognize it and start inching towards change. It's never too late for a total overhaul of your soul.
Have a post-mortem with your ex.
We all have that one breakup in our past that we wish had gone differently. Maybe you need to apologize; maybe the other person does. Either way, if there were things left unsaid, there’s no time like the present to say them. This conversation might not unfold as smoothly as you think, but it’s better to air your grievances than let them fester. Bring on the late-night confession sessions.
Contemplate WTF is up with the universe.
Why are you here? What is your purpose? Does anything you do matter? Is there a God? Is He punishing you? These are crucial inquiries and they deserve to be meditated upon. Find a priest, a rabbi, or any kind of spiritual adviser and see what they have to say, then come to your own conclusions. Be open to revising your spiritual stance every couple of years as you gain more life experience.
Once upon a time, some guy said, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." You don't know what shit other people are going through, but it's probably worse shit than yours. So be kind. It's literally the least you can do. If a homeless dude wants to cut your hair, let him. It will grow back.
Do good deeds.
Being kind is good, but actually doing good is better. Stop a friend from jumping off a roof. Then steal his shoes and give them to aforementioned homeless dude. What goes around, comes around, so start banking some goodwill for all the tomorrows you hope to have.
Forgive those who have wronged you.
Life is a motherfucker. Most people are doing the best they can under the circumstances. The problem is that some people’s best isn’t very good. Still, when faced with disappointing people, you really only have two choices: hold a grudge or forgive them for being human. The former feels good temporarily, but it keeps you stuck. In the end, only forgiveness lets you move on.
If you’ve been avoiding therapy like you’ve been avoiding thinking about your mortality, now would be a good time to stop that. Therapy is just paying someone to listen closely to you and call you on your bullshit. Sometimes, they even care about you for free! While this might sound transactional, it’s actually really nice to have a one-way conversation where you get to unload all your troubles with someone who has no skin in the game. Try it. You might like it.
Be your best self.
Your days are numbered. You don't have time to act a part that isn't authentically you in this shitty play called "humanity." Dream big. Be bold. Grab life by the balls.
Enjoy the party.
We're all going to die someday. It might be someday soon. So when you have the chance to celebrate, do so and do it loud. You won’t be surrounded by friends with high-quality hallucinogens forever. As Ms. Vulvokov said, "Let's fuck this party in the mouth."