The beginning of adulthood can be a wild time to navigate. All your life right up to the end of college, everything from what you eat, what projects you do, all the way down to how often you can use the bathroom is decided for you. Your life has a lot of structure at that point. But after that? You’re in charge of your own life. And that means you decide your own purpose. This can be very confusing though. And a lot of us constantly look for answers, for inspiration. We look to movies, our favourite shows, for this and they connect to us for a reason. But out of everything, personally, I did not expect an alcoholic and completely immoral 25-year old woman to be my latest source of inspiration. So this show, The Good Place, showed me a different way to see our place in this world.
In the show, to get into The Good Place (i.e., Heaven) you need to have a certain number of points which you achieved by doing good deeds in your life on Earth. Good deeds earned you points and bad deeds got you deductions. People with enough points got into The Good Place, and people who didn’t went to The Bad Place, a place for torture, punishments, demons, the whole deal.
But how do you decide if a person is good enough for The Good Place? Even in the show, there are several people who fall short. People who are not terrible, but only lived an average life. They weren’t good, but they weren’t bad either. They were just… okay. Or take the people in Parasite for example. Their life situation is terrible and they can’t afford to be nice simply for the sake of their own survival. Do they all deserve punishment and nothing more?
The Good Place doesn’t stop there. It believes that there is capacity for good in everyone. Yes, even in the most despicable people you can think of.
And they show us this through the main characters. They are selfish, indecisive, and one of them has the overwhelming need to throw a Molotov cocktail at any problem (why Jason why). But in the afterlife, under the right circumstances, Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason (belovedly named Team Cockroach) improve. Far more any of them could separately on Earth. And they drive the point,
“People improve when they get external love and support. How can we hold it against them when they don’t?”
And that everyone deserves that support, especially if they didn’t so far in their life. And when you get that from those close to you, people become better versions of themselves. Finding that support is key. And that's the endgame. That is the purpose of life!
Think about it. Say you get to The Good Place (or Heaven or whatever version of it you believe in). It is your personal paradise. You could have any material thing you ever wanted. You have your fair share of fun, watching every single movie ever made, eating the most delicious version of your favourite foods and anything else your heart desires. But once you’ve had your fun doing your own thing alone for a century or 50 years the very least, you grow tired of it. We humans are very used to interacting with each other, yes, introverts included. And we will want our favourite people with us to experience these new-found joys. Or at least someone to talk about these experiences to. And that is what The Good Place really drives in at the end.
“This is what we’ve been looking for since the day we met. Time. That’s what the Good Place really is — it’s not even a place, really. It’s just having enough time with the people you love.”
And that is what every humans’ experience should be aiming for. Of course I’m not saying it’s easy. Everybody lives a different life and only you know your own life and what can be done when. But remember that we’re all human. As Eleanor says,
“I assume he’s doing the same as every human. Some good days. Some bad days. He’s got a few friends, a few people he can’t stand. He’s learning some things, all by himself, and hopefully learning to ask for help when he needs it. He’s messing up, and trying again, and messing up again, and then getting things wrong, and then trying to make them right. That’s what everyone does.”
And we’re all in that experience together. Fighting the same fight. So appreciate the people around you a little more. It couldn’t hurt to try right? After all, Pobody’s Nerfect!