One of the worst aspects of the emergence of social media has been how efficiently humans can now judge one another almost instantly, and on a massive scale. The latest viral Twitter ‘judgment’ involves gossip around Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck’s decision to retire from the NFL “before his time”.
I feel for him. There’s nothing quite like being an introvert and forced to make a highly personal decision in front of the entire world. Everyone has an opinion – and most are probably clueless about what really goes on in the mind of a person making this type of decision.
On a microscopic scale by comparison, I can very much relate to Mr. Luck’s experience. When my husband and I decided to retire “early” (me in my 50s, hubs in his 60s) from our respective health professions, we were met with a proportionate tsunami of judgment from family, friends and even people we didn’t know on a personal level.
Why do people feel the need to obsess about what other people decide to do with their lives?
Andrew Luck’s decision to walk away is first, foremost and ultimately none of our business. His reasons are not ours to know and/or pass judgment on. Booing him as he left the field for the last time on Saturday is about as low class as it gets.
What many fail to realize is that being a celebrity isn’t always something someone seeks. Sometimes you end up being discovered to have a certain skill set that affords you the opportunity to become financially independent at an early age.
It makes sense to people who are highly social that achieving celebrity is not only desirable but a measure of social status. However, there is a segment of population who do not respond this way and whose mental well-being becomes overwhelmed by celebrity.
Andrew Luck is/was a talented NFL quarterback. But he also has a degree in engineering from Stanford University. He also recently got married and for those who haven’t had the pleasure, it can definitely change priorities in life. He has an entire identity outside of the NFL.
Mr. Luck also appears to be a fairly introverted person by nature. Introverted people seek solitude to recharge their batteries. It’s hard to find any mental space when cyberspace instantly lights up with all sorts of clucking about why one made a personal decision to walk away from their career.
The problem created by celebrity for those who would much prefer to live a quiet, simple life without a lot of attention is that once the genie is out of the bottle it’s really hard to go back to the way things were prior to the emergence of ‘celebrity’.
Luck’s dead giveaway to his introverted side is exhibited by the discomfort he obviously shows here during his press conference announcing his retirement. A piece of me died for him watching this because I can’t imagine a hell worse than having to stand up in front of reporters and explain what is likely one of the biggest personal decisions a person makes during their lifetime.
I wish Andrew Luck nothing but health and happiness for the rest of his life. It’s hard enough to make that type of decision as a “private citizen”. Can’t imagine how he is coping with all the media attention on his personal life. Hopefully the glare of the spotlight will die off soon and on to the next media frenzy.
As incomprehensible as it may seem for some, there are people who really only require enough resources to sustain a simple life and prefer it that way. Mansions and Hollywood might seem like a dream come true for some, but there are others (myself included) who would rather stick their head in the proverbial meat-grinder than live a ‘TMZ lifestyle’.
My hope for Andrew Luck and his family is they get to enjoy their privacy and remain true to themselves – and live their lives out of the cyclone of a celebrity lifestyle. There’s so much more in life once you get out of the spotlight. There is freedom in simplicity.
Editor’s babble: A pox on the fans who booed Andrew Luck for retiring. There’s very little positive that comes from having a miserable mindset. I also blabber on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO.