Podcasts aid in important self-reflection

By Brandon Zegiel , Columnist

This last week, Jonathan Goldstein took me back into time.

His narration of Heavyweight,a podcast produced by Gimlet Media, made me feel like Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” in the face of my past as I tried to make sense of my actions.

In the first season of this podcast, Goldstein talked about previous relationships with his family and friends, and took steps to investigate those past relationships in the present day.

During the first season, he talked about the importance of givers and takers. He explained that as people grow up, they progress from the status of a taker into a that of a giver. Essentially, it was the taking nature that he referred to as a childhood trait, where the adult typically takes on the role of the giver.

Loving podcasts, I listened to the rest of season one, and learned much from the pasts of Goldstein and his peers. But nothing quite provoked my curiosity like his giver and taker message.

I decided to put this theory to the test, applying it to my own childhood. I concluded that I grew up privileged, taking much from my parents in terms of financial and emotional support. It was almost as if they were my voice, speaking for me so I could learn the proper way to express myself.

I remembered the days my dad took me to school, when we would listen to classic rock while driving in his pickup truck. He would sometimes play the air guitar over his steering wheel, making me laugh many times in response. I took on his role through the years, becoming air guitar number two, and learning the popular artists from the 1970s and ’80s.

It was when I turned about 10 or 11 years old that I got my first real guitar. Still being a classic rock fan at the time, I aspired to be like Jimmy Page, Angus Young or Van Halen.

I liked to dream as a kid about being a starting pitcher for the New York Yankees and playing in a rock band that toured all over the world. Shaking my head now, I realize that financially, my parents paid for that guitar, and the lessons too. At the same time, they paid for me to get pitching help from one of the best baseball coaches in the local area.

It wasn’t just the opportunities they created financially either. Sure, money opened the door, but it was the appearance of my family when I called them to the room to listen to my awfully-put-together scales at first that motivated me to practice.

It was the nights my dad would come home from his long days at work, playing catch with me and devoting his time making me a better player. In short, the emotional support was given, and I took it contently.

Ten years from the time I got my first guitar, I start my college career: a whole new climate of taking and giving. I find myself maturing, where the emotional support from others isn’t needed as much anymore. Independently, I can speak for myself and make decisions regarding my future.

That is not to say I never call on my family for help, but the amount has decreased considerably over the past couple of years while I’ve been away at college.

Do I call my parents asking for money? Certainly. What college student doesn’t? But I don’t need my mom or dad to take me to church anymore. The reality is that if I want to remain religious, it is up to me.

Or in the case of school work, my teachers aren’t going to hound me for my missing report anymore. It is up to me to make deadlines without others constantly reminding me. My organization is my problem.

So, after listening to Goldstein, I respect the idea that I am not as much of a taker anymore. But I couldn’t quite grasp the term of the giver. Perhaps it is because I have yet to reach that status. At this point, I am almost in the transitioning phase between the childhood taker stage and the adult giver stage.

Every day, I become closer to becoming a true giver. Goldstein presented that reality is evident, as we all just must get there at different times.

Brandon is a sophomore in LAS.

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