How ‘Fleischman is in trouble’ saved me from nostalgic disaster

I’ve always been a nostalgic person. Even when I was in elementary school, I would look back fondly on my pre-school days and think of how great my life had been when I could wake up, have breakfast with Gram, watch Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers and spend the rest of the day playing with blocks or running around outside. Those were the days, man! (No offense to my siblings, who didn’t exist yet.)

As I’ve ventured into my 40’s, I often think of things that happened 20 years ago and then spend some time going “Oh my god, that was TWENTY YEARS AGO” or, “I’ve been alive longer in the time since X happened than I had lived on this planet at the time.” I think it’s hard to wrap my head around the number of years that have elapsed since various events when they seem like they just happened last week. Yet they also feel like they happened in another life.

Recently we watched the Hulu show, Fleischman is in Trouble, which is about a 41-year-old man who is going through a divorce. Initially it focuses on his side of the story, but as the episodes progress, we see his best friend’s story and perspective and then finally his ex-wife’s. I related to the best friend in the story, a woman named Libby, who has reached her 40’s and while she has succeeded in getting married and raising a family, has failed to achieve her career dreams because she’s constantly getting passed over by the men in her profession. She starts living vicariously through Toby (Fleischman) and falls down a nostalgia rabbit-hole where she laments all the hopes and dreams she lost or gave up on over the years.

Before watching the show I had noticed (via FB) that an old friend of mine had apparently gotten divorced and was dating someone new. I perused the photos his new girlfriend shared on FB and noted that he’d let his hair grow out, was wearing a leather jacket and was frolicking around town with this new woman, both seemingly living their best lives.

I thought about reaching out to him, as it had been a good decade or more since we actually talked (not counting FB likes or comments). I wanted the scoop on his marital situation and what had happened, and how he met this new lady. I also yearned to reminisce on our misspent youth. Not misspent in the usual fun ways, mind you, but in stuffy church pews with our heads bent to our bibles.

Ok, so we did have some fun back then, it wasn’t ALL bible readings and hymns. We actually spent many hours talking about our upbringings, our outlooks on life, our faith (or lack thereof), and whether or not to leave the religion. My current-day self was curious to know how his perspectives had changed, after several marriages and batches of kids. Would we still be on the same wavelength?

Watching Fleischman is in Trouble was a preview of how it might’ve gone had I reached out to this guy. We could have tumbled down memory lane and pondered how our lives hadn’t turned out the way we’d expected them to from our early adulthood points of view. We might have reverted to our 20-something roles. He, the smart, ambitious one with lofty goals, and me, the artsy, dreamy, waiting-for-her-Prince Charming to roll up and pave the way with gold. Like in the show, I probably would have become too invested in his story at the peril of my own.

Although, who knows. It could have been fine. We might have exchanged a few messages and caught up and been good for another 10 years. But the show just hit me in the nostalgic feels, and really helped me avoid falling down a nostalgia rabbit-hole of my own. It was a good reminder to keep facing forward and focused on my own life, and not be concerned with what my old friends might be up to, or what they’d think of me now.


7 thoughts on “How ‘Fleischman is in trouble’ saved me from nostalgic disaster

  1. Hi Heather, we also enjoyed that series & I kept asking the screen why Libby couldn’t see how much she was losing by fixating on the life she thought she should have chosen. Not only did she risk losing everything, but I kept thinking, why doesn’t she do that now? Be a writer, get a better job, etc. It’s not over while you’re alive, right? Good reading you. Hope you’re good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lisa!! Hah, I thought that too, like, she had a hot husband, a cute house and healthy kids (in that order… lol). But I could relate to having that overwhelming sense of nostalgia and maybe regret that you didn’t follow a path you initially thought you would. I’m glad she figured it out in the end though.

      I’m well- thanks! I hope you are too. Are you going to Colorado in July?


      1. Not going to Colorado, unfortunately. Norma thinks it’s too far to travel with too many legs for her from Nova Scotia. We’re going to visit her there instead this year. Maybe next year if they’re closer to a hub airport. Are you going?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I do believe dear Heather that you should write a book. I am not joking. I am no positive it would be a best seller. Think about it. Ponder over it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Heather, I love this!

    Just two days ago I wrote in my journal “Don’t spend too much time thinking about tomorrow. Or yesterday.”
    I don’t recall exactly what prompted such a philosophical hiccup, but the feeling that lingers is that it was very important to remember.
    Thanks for the reinforcement. It’s all too easy to fall into the reminiscence trap: “I’m sure the grass must be greener over there. Or there. Or maybe there.”

    Liked by 1 person

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