So No One Told You Life Was Gonna Be This Way, But Here We Are

My college roommate owned the box set of Friends. This meant, more often than not, we’d spend our weeknights “doing homework” and watching our six favorite pals make fools of themselves, fall in and out of love, and brighten our existence with their quirky portrayal of life. Clapping four times, never missing a cue, Hailes, Kenz, and I sang the song and quoted our favorites. 

So no one told you life was gonna be this way. 

Fast forward 18 months post-grad and I’m no longer in Phoenix, Arizona with my gal pals. Instead I’m stumbling through life in the same city our six sitcom friends called home. And yes, that beautiful apartment in The Village? Ain’t no way a chef and part-time waitress paid that rent. 

I was never that little girl who had my heart set on New York. But here I am.

So no one told you life was gonna be this way. 

According to urban myth, your twenties are carefree and you just kind of float through life with a margarita in one hand and a list of trips to take in the other.  

Sure, here I am mapping out international travels for the next five years. On the flip side, things I never imagined occurring are running rampant in my day-to-day. Health issues mean doctor’s bills and medication tests and, to be entirely honest, hellish insomnia.

I’m not playing the pity card - I know I’m not the only twenty-something with walls collapsing.

Throw together a cluster of twenty-somethings and you’ve got a financial crisis, at least one autoimmune disease, comically weird roommate debacles, and a few “you’ll never believe what my boss said todays.” Things aren’t rom-com perfect. In fact, they rarely are. As a generalized age group, things are happening. Things are happening all at once and we’re rushing forward at the speed of a slightly intoxicated golden retriever — wobbly but still aiming to please. 

So no one told you life was gonna be this way.  

The other day, one of my coworkers said, “the most amazing miracles come out of chaos.”

*Insert me, furrowed brow, imagining what miracle 2018 could be fostering. Must be good.  

At first I thought this was super cheesy and a bit too Pinteresty, but ya know what, he’s right.

You appreciate a calm sea even more after the storm has almost thrown you overboard.  

You never grow if things are comfy — there’s no need! I mean, why would I be pushing for growth if I was sitting pretty in Monica’s grandma’s Greenwich Village apartment? I wouldn’t! But my Brooklyn “let’s kill a roach and pretend we didn’t” truly does build character — it’s not just what I tell my mom when she begins to worry. 

So no one told you life was gonna be this way. 

Aside from choosing to laugh instead of cry (nine times out of 10, at least) when a sure-fire thing turns into a question mark, there’s an amazing quality in the “this way” no one told us about. 

No one told us our favorite moments would be tucked in pizza-on-the-sidewalk dinners, victory laps after catching rodents, moving in Ubers, and days in the park because it’s free entertainment.

So no one told you life was gonna be this way.  

The great thing about our six pals that grace televisions across America, aside from Phoebe Buffay’s killer thrift shop style, is that they make the most of every situation and they still keep their feelings. They don’t glance over an issue and pretend it’s not there.

Rachel doesn’t pretend she’s not sad when Ross falls for that bald chick, but she still tries to have fun on the beach trip with the gang. Joey doesn’t pretend he’s not terrified of growing older, but he still celebrates birthdays. Chandler doesn’t pretend to love Thanksgiving - I mean, it wouldn’t kill him to eat some apple pie - but he still shows up to dinner each year.

Problems are acknowledged, but they still carry on.

They still grab coffee.

They still laugh.

They still find moments of joy, amidst divorce, mourning, and transitions.

They don’t pretend every day is good. But they continue to the next, a little wiser.

So no one told you life was gonna be this way, but isn’t life a little more exciting because of it?