I am in a rut, I would say. I am in a phase of my life where I kind of search for the meaning of life and my purpose. I am 21, almost 22 and I just decided to drop out of college. What the hell am I supposed to do now?
This search is meanly unconscious. I am not sitting in front of a computer and do research of possible undergraduate programmes and so on (even though, this is what I did at the beginning, but it doesn‘t really worked). I think I am subconsciously leading myself to things that could help me find out what I want to do in life.
One of these things was, lately, to watch Netflix documentaries. I know, pathetic, but I think my generation is raised to search for answers on the internet. Generations before me would go to their friends or maybe parents, or aunts and uncles, books, comics, movies, music, but we are searching for it on the internet.
And there is nothing wrong with that. The internet is a very useful and powerful tool for information. But it could lead you to information that is not at all beneficial for you. We are not going to talk about this kind of information today, about the dangers of the internet, we are going to talk about the great things you can find and use on the internet.
I also think, that since I am not visiting any uni courses this semester, I haven‘t really actively learned new things like I was doing very intensively every day in uni. I was sitting in about 2 lectures per day and almost everything I heard was a new piece of information. Now, it‘s been a long time since I visited my last lecture (I think, in February). I am missing to learn. My brain needs new information, new views on the world, new things to think about. Maybe that is another reason that I started to watch documentaries.
I was watching a lot of crap. Like your normal Netflix shows and movies. There is nothing wrong with them, they are fun to watch. But you rarely ever learn anything from them. Documentaries are different. Most of the time they present you with new ways to look at the world. New ways to think about yourself, other people, the earth, society, animals, career, happiness … you name it. There are so many documentaries – you could watch one on almost any topic.
So, now, my brain has new stuff to work on and to think about. And I already feel how the information is being considered by my brain, being evaluated, maybe changing my thinking, maybe even making me to a slightly different person. I like this feeling.
In this article, I want to show you the 4 documentaries that I watched lately and I really liked. It is really not difficult to wow me, I think, I am going to like every documentary I am ever going to watch, purely because I am learning something by watching it. So, it is possible, that these documentaries are total crap and I am the only one who liked them. But there is a slight chance that they are going to have the same effect on you that they were having on me – and in that case, writing this article is already worth it.
Let‘s see, what are the 4 documentaries I am talking about (how often did I write ‘documentaries’ in this blog post??, Jeez):
Living on One Dollar
This was the first. This is where it started (it sounds so dramatic, haha). I was just searching for something on Netflix to watch, after I was binge watching How to get away with murder and it was all too much for me. I mean, it is a very fun show to watch, but it is so far from reality (or at least I hope it is far from reality!!) that my brain, that is hungry for real information, was just tired from it. So I wanted something, that was more realistic. Well, a documentary would do, I thought.
And it did. And this one in particular was a very good choice for that. It is about 2 guys who travel to a very little village in Guatemala and try to live on 1 dollar per day, like the rest of the people who live below the poverty line. They bring 2 other guys with them to document the adventure. They are from New York, modern western environment, so you are ultimately just curious, if they are even going to come out there alive.
This documentary teaches you a lesson about being grateful for the things you have. I know I felt that way after watching it. Imagine, how those guys were feeling, after getting back to their New York apartments from a Guatemalan village! It is about society, helping each other, giving, caring. A very nice film. Absolutely recommend it to everyone, like all the other films on this list.
Fitness, nutrition, health – these topics that are getting more and more important. People are searching for the best way to eat healthy, to be healthy. But there are so many theories about what is healthy, how you should eat, what diet is the best, more carbs, less carbs, more protein, less protein – it is impossible to decide which one is true and which one to follow.
This is what this documentary is about. A man is dedicated to find out what the best way is to consume food and be healthy. He travels across the country and talks to many nutritionists, professors, athletes, scientists to find out the healthiest way to eat.
It makes you think. Other than Cowspiracy or Earthlings, but it makes you think. This time, it is about the human health, not entirely about the animals. I am vegan now for a while and I went vegan because of ethical reasons. But it was also nice to see, that it was also the right choice for my health.
I don‘t say you should be a vegan. I don‘t say: watch this and then you are going to be vegan. I say: watch it and just think about it. You can watch it and go back to however you are living your life now. Just get the information. There is nothing worse than ignorance.
Minimalism: A documentary about the important things
This was on my list for a longer time, but only now I decided to watch it. I have so much stuff and I only realised it as I was moving. And even though I can‘t put my stuff anywhere and they are still in bags and boxes, I am still buying more and more. But why? Why do I need so much stuff? I haven‘t even touched the things in those bags and boxes till I packed them up. I don‘t even use them! Why do I have them?
This documentary is trying to answer that. And if you were living under a rock and you never heard about minimalism, well here you are, this is a great film about that. But even if you already heard about it and decided it is not for you, just watch this. Maybe you see it from another perspective this time.
I found it nice, that the people who were featured in this documentary and who are minimalists, they were telling how hard it was to get on board with it. How hard it was to get rid of stuff, how they needed a lot of time and effort to do it. They weren‘t born minimalist. We were raised to be ‚maximalists‘ and to accumulate more and more things. This is what ads and media were telling us. Is telling us. But it is very possible to live with only a few things. And maybe, it is even a better way to do so.
If you ask somebody what they want in life, most of them will say: I want to have money, I want to be happy, I want to be successful. Everybody wants to be happy, but studies show, that we are not really happy, in fact, we are unhappy. Even though we have all the stuff we buy, all the money, all the opportunities, maybe even all the success, still, we are unhappy.
So what makes people happy? If it isn‘t money or things, then what it is? How can somebody be happy? And not just a joy of a moment, but lasting happiness? This is the question that is asked in this documentary.
It shows many aspects of being happy. There are many different kind of people featured in this film, from the Dalai Lama to neuroscientists. From the Danish people, who are showed by studies the most happy people on Earth, to Okinawa, where the people get the oldest. They all tell you a little about happiness and how they achieve it.
It is insightful. I thought, I am actively working on being happy, but after watching this, I realised I don‘t do much to be happy. Maybe it is time, for you and me, to start being happy 🙂
What are your favourite Netflix documentaries? I would love to know, I am eager to learn 🙂 Tell me (and others!) in the comments 🙂
Thank you for reading!