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A Pep Talk from the Wall You Hit

Hi there! It’s me, the wall. First of all, allow me to apologize. I know that you hit me, but clearly you’re the one suffering here. I’m sorry to say it, but I’m totally fine. Not even a scratch. You must’ve seen this coming, though. I am, in fact, a bright-red immovable object, and you ran right into me.

Deep down, you probably know how you got here, but I’ll tell you anyway. All you do is drink coffee and stare at screens. You have no work-life separation. I get it: it’s hard to achieve balance when you sleep in the same room your office is in—and by “office” I mean the laptop you balance on a pillow while you sit on your bed. Not only has this ruined your posture but you now subconsciously associate your bed with work. You wake up to pee at 2 A.M. and end up replying to work e-mails; you dream about co-workers sending GIFs on Slack that you don’t understand; you pretend your throw pillows are your boss and have long conversations with them about how you’re ready for that long-overdue raise, because you’re never not working but have never once called it overtime. That’s where I, a literal wall, come in.

The pandemic has made life challenging for everyone except the enormously wealthy, so take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. I’m even tired, and I’m a friggin’ wall. But listen, kiddo—can I call you kiddo? I’m here for you. You can hit me as many times as you need to. A little slap, a full body slam—whatever feels right. I should warn you, though, that, when you hit me, I will feel nothing and you will wound yourself deeply. Your shoulders will hunch forward and your body will ache. (Duh—you’ve just hit a wall!) You’ll only want to eat ice cream and pizza, and you’ll cry whenever you get an e-mail. You’ll spend a week like this before you finally take a sick day, during which you’ll aimlessly scroll to the end of Instagram before realizing that you need to change your life. At this point, the best and quickest way to do so will seem like the miracle mushroom powder you saw a hundred ads for, so you’ll order it. A B-list celebrity endorsed it, and he has good hair and doesn’t look like he hits walls with anything other than squash balls, so you’ll feel pretty confident that this is the start of something great. It won’t be, but it will get you to the next wall, and maybe that one will be farther away, or made of a pliable wood instead of brick. Probably not, but maybe!

What you need to remember when you hit a wall is that it’s almost always a sign. Oprah calls this type of sign the universe yelling at you, and she’s not wrong, because she’s never wrong.

Speaking of wrong, I feel like this red color is messing with my vibe. It sends a real “danger zone” message, and I’d like to think of myself as a safe space. Yes, you hit me when you’re stressed to the max and on the brink of collapse, but, on the plus side, at least I slow you down. That counts for something, right? Maybe I’ll paint myself a nice, soothing sage or pale yellow. Then, when you hit me, you’ll see a trendy color that reminds you that you’re a millennial with precarious job security, an abundance of sickly plants, too many hats with ironic messaging, and every reason to hit walls all the damn time. Reality is a comfort.

If the past has taught me anything, it’s that you will continue to hit me and other walls like me, repeatedly, for years if not decades, until you wake up one morning unsure of who you’ve become. After some heavy drinking or intense meditation, you’ll make plans to move out West and start a new life. You won’t actually move, but the plans will be enough to reroute you in a direction where there are fewer walls to hit, and you’ll find rather enjoyable employment at a trampolining facility. We’re not there yet, though. No, no. You have many more years of hitting me ahead.

What else can I teach you—maybe a life lesson? Well, I wasn’t born. I was built. That’s something to think about. A metaphor! You’ve gotta work on stuff. Build yourself up. Because you are not a wall but a human being with a body and mind, you should find a less soul-crushing job, get some therapy, rescue a dog, save for retirement, and go for walks outside. Those things should be your bricks and mortar, if you know what I mean. Speaking of building, I’ll let you in on a little secret: the real way to stop hitting walls is to tear them down. Isn’t that beautiful? I’m getting weepy.

Since you’re still here, should I sing to you? How about “Everybody Hurts,” by R.E.M.? Hey, kiddo, where are you going? It looks like you’re running away from me, to your 10 A.M. meeting, clutching your new mushroom powder. Ah, good for you. See you next month!


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