Mom and Dad lied. They lied about everything. They said you could be whatever you wanted to be. Are you a space cowboy who moonlights as a ballerina? Nope. They said you could be President. But did they fill you in on the constant shady sh**storm that is the world of politics? Nuh-uh. They told you a college degree would open all the doors in the world. And right now, your diploma is sitting in a box of mementos while you are eating ramen for breakfast in your studio apartment, that is funded by your office assistant job that isn't even related to your major or your career goals.
To be fair, your parents bamboozled you with the best of intentions. They love you and want you to succeed. They want you to follow your heart. And since the key to getting anything in life is confidence, telling you that you have the ability to achieve even the loftiest of goals gives you the confidence you need to try. So in honor of Mother's Day, and to celebrate the woman who put her needs on hold to meet all of yours, here are all the stages of realizing she and your dad (or other mom) lied to you about, well, pretty much everything.
1. Beautiful, amazing bliss
So you're going about your life, thinking that even though things kind of suck, it can't stay this way forever because your parents have always told you everything is going to be fine.
2. Extreme denial mixed with hope
There comes a point when you realize that what they told you life would be like is complete BS. It's a thought that has entered your brain every time you've struggled with something, but you immediately pushed it out because... why would your parents deceive you? They wouldn't, right? I mean, (enter struggle here) sucks, but you'll figure it out soon, right? RIGHT?
3. Frustration teetering on rage
When things don't get better, like the internship that was supposed to turn into a paying job after three months and it's been seven months with no paycheck in sight, or the casual relationship that means something more to you than it does to the other person, you start to understand that fairytales aren't real. They're not even remotely close to being possible in the real world. Why would a company pay you when you're so desperate that you'll work there for free? And since most marriages end in divorce, why would you think your f*** buddy would want anything more than a late-night meetup? THEY WON'T, and you'll probably just live in this squalor forever.
4. Hysterical stress giggles
Now that you've officially entered the manic freak-out stage, get ready to laugh for no apparent reason. The only way to cope is to nervously giggle, because everything good in life that your parents promised you would get as long as you went to bed on time and got good grades... is just an illusion.
5. Fear and panic, panic and fear
But but but... how can that be? What was it all for? Why did you even go to college? Why even go out on dates if settling down isn't in your future? Was it all just a waste of time? Life is so long, and now you have decades left to live in a tiny studio all alone? I mean, you have great friends, but what if they all settle down and start families and you don't? Is it time to get a cat? Or five?
6. Hours of to-do list making
No, you will not be defeated just because adulthood is a little (OK a lot) bumpier than your parents told you it would be. You can do this. You can do this. All you need is a plan. And to get started, all you need is a piece of paper, a pen, and lots of boxes that need to be checked.
7. False sense of control
Now that your future is mapped out on paper, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Everything is going to be just fine, because eternal happiness is on the list, and it's the final box to be checked. If you just check off all the boxes above it, you will achieve it. Right?
8. Confronting the parental units
You hit your first forever-plan hiccup, and you feel completely emotionally derailed. Time to face the liars and demand answers. You call your mom sobbing, and tell her about the emotional roller coaster you've been on and why. She offers some soothing words and gets Dad on the phone too.
They tell you that these struggles are part of life, and while they promised you'd be successful and happy and in love, they never said the path to those goals would be smooth. They tell you about their own similar struggles — their crappy first apartments, the time they could only afford to eat toast for every meal, and all the bad dates they went on before they found each other. They tell you that because of the beautiful, intelligent, and undeniably bad-ass grownup you turned out to be, you'll be just fine in the end. Also that you will ABSOLUTELY get to check that final box.
9. Letting it all go
You realize that the drama is part of life's appeal. Because what would Grey's Anatomy be without heartbreaking moments and tragedies that feel like a kick right to the throat? The scary stuff, the sad stuff, the happy stuff, and the triumphant stuff is a package deal. And if you don't ever see the negatives, how will you be able to appreciate the positives? If you never suffer through too much ramen, how will you appreciate being able to afford the gourmet burgers, the pressed juices, and side dishes with truffle oil?
So your parents lied, but now that you know the truth — you know they were kinda right all along.
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