Unrealistic Friendspecations

Unrealistic Expectations from Friends TV show blog nerd

As a single, 30-something who was living in New York until a short time ago, I relate to the beloved TV show, Friends, on so many levels. Too many to count. There is no show that means so much to me and has influenced my life the way Friends has (with Seinfeld coming in at a close second.)

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I didn’t watch Friends when it first aired in 1994. I was only 12 and my parents did not find it appropriate viewing material for a 12 year old girl. They were right, of course. But that didn’t keep me from wanting to watch it and it certainly didn’t keep me from tuning in the minute I was old enough and watching it till it ended in 2004, when I was a junior in college.

Looking back, I now know that it played a huge part in my eventual move to the big city. The entire first year I lived in New York felt like a dream, like I was in an episode of Friends. I’d see a street sign or a coffee shop and dream of Central Perk and the 6 most quotable characters in the history of TV. Tell me you don’t say this in Chandler’s voice when you read it “Could I BE wearing any more clothes?” Well, Joey doing Chandler’s voice, but I’ll bet you knew that too.

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As much as Friends will always have that place in my heart and that finale will continue to make me cry even after I’ve seen it dozens of times, I do think that Monica, Ross, Joey, Chandler, Phoebe and Rachel created some unprecedented expectations of what friendship could look like, but usually doesn’t. Where most shows up to that point (again, besides Seinfeld) were about family units or couples getting together, Friends was something altogether different. A set of 6 inseparable Friends who created a family away from family. They did everything together and remained connected for 10+ years (we know they are still together in TV land somewhere.)

Think of all the Christmases and Thanksgivings they spent, not with their nuclear families, but with each other. Think of their trips to Vegas, Barbados and London. The jobs that were forgotten the minute something came up. The family that was forgotten in lieu of the family unit that was created in New York City. Shared life stage and values bonded them in a way that has just never been seen since Friends left the small screen. How I Met Your Mother touches on those element and at times feels similar, but it doesn’t manage to touch the level of nostalgia and love that people (and I) have for Friends.

At the same time, what was created between the 6 of them is as unattainable in real life as a Ross and Rachel friendlationship is. People don’t drop everything to go to Barbados with you, much less for a work conference they have no interest in. You’d be lucky to have one or two good friends show up at your destination wedding, much less the whole pack (minus a pregnant Phoebe.)

I can’t even get some of my friends on Skype most days, much less entice them away from their families, their jobs and their lives to come play with me at Disney. It’s less a complaint and more a realization that real life is just that much harder sometimes, than an episode of Friends (realization may be a little strong.)

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I miss what I found in New York and the brief moment that I grasped onto what it was like to have capital F, Friends. A group of people who were pursuing things the way I was. People who were bonded together in the face of a strange, transient city like New York.

Sure, we didn’t drop everything for each other, every single day. And because New York is so expensive, we all really did have to work most of the time, making it very difficult impossible to sit around in a coffee shop all day, talking about relationships and about our feelings. It just didn’t happen. That’s a beautiful dream that only can live in TV land.

But I think that’s what made Friends so popular and such a strong show with staying power. That kind of Friendship is what we all hope to find. The kind that can last 10+ years and weather being on a break and children and marriages and stuff. When you find that kind of capital F, Friend…hold onto them and never let them go!!

And now…my favorite Friend, Chandler:

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There are only 6 Mondays till Christmas. 6 Mondays! Are you kidding me? I feel like I just left New York yesterday. But no, that was back in July. And I feel like I just turned 32, but no…that was last December. Which means my birthday is fast approaching. And that also means I’ll be turning 33.
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I’m one of those weird people that likes being in her 30’s and is incredibly grateful to be rid of her 20’s. But I have to admit, when I was in college dreaming of being in my 30’s and rid of my 20’s, it looked a whole lot different than my current reality.
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Maybe I thought I’d be married by now. Maybe I’m glad I’m not! Maybe I thought I’d be debt free. Maybe I wish I was. Maybe I thought a million different possible futures, none of which matter because everything I’ve done in life has led me to where I am. Today it’s California. In 2 weeks, I’ll be back in Florida. In 2 years it could be Nashville or Ireland or Denver or back in New York or still in Florida. Who knows? (Well, obviously God knows, but He’s keep His mysteries a secret!)
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Girls Do THIS, not THAT

Lately, H (9 year old girl twin) has been struggling with what it means to be a girl. Traditional gender roles don’t appeal to her. She doesn’t like pink. She rarely wears dresses. She loves to skateboard and she has the trendiest short hair cut that’s ever graced a 9 year old’s head. She could easily be a Jolie-Pitt.

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Her short hair causes people (mainly elementary and middle school boys) to mistake her for a boy sometimes.

I asked her if it bothered her when they called her a boy. She said, “not really, it just makes me uncomfortable. Cause I really am a girl, Lizzie.” My heart almost broke. This precious girl is starting to find out what it means to be pressured by the world. And that it’s a tough hill to climb. How dare the world start in so early. She’s only 9 years old, for Pete’s sake!!

I told her that these kinds of things happen to everyone. Even me. I told her that plenty of people think girls don’t like Star Wars and superheroes and ninja turtles. I told her some people think that I should be married with kids by now. That maybe I should have a “steady” job and a 401K. But I walk to my own beat and so does H.

I don’t know if that helped her at all. I sort of hope she comes into her own in the not-giving-a-damn-about-what-people-think department. It’s so much better than way!

The other day when we were skateboarding home from school, she took a tumble and as she got back on her skateboard she looked up at me and said, “I fell off cause girls aren’t as good at skateboarding.” I looked at her and said, “Excuse me? Girls aren’t what now??” She laughed and said, “I take it back! I take it back!!”

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She knew it wasn’t true, but it was still her first instinct. To write it off. Classic “girls can’t” syndrome. I thought this wouldn’t come till much later, but I guess the self doubt is starting earlier and earlier in kids these days. (Kids these days? I’m officially 500 years old!!)

I don’t want this for her and she’s not even my own child. I want whatever she does to be what it means to be a girl. I want the same for boys. I want her to be able to have the freedom that America offers. Doesn’t that extend to our youth?

Who made these archaic rules anyways? Who decided that long, Disney-channel length hair and a love for all things pink made you a girl? I thought all you needed to be a girl was the mechanics. Time to change it up, America…WORLD! I think we’re on our way, but we still have quite a ways to go.

Tell me again what girls “can’t”do??!!

Settling Down or Just Plain Settling

If I asked you to describe the perfect man, what would you say, ladies?  Or men, what about the perfect woman?

My checklist looks a little like this… Click Here.

And the funny thing is we tell ourselves we have “high standards” and that settling is bad. Our loved ones tell us never to “settle for less than we deserve” meanwhile they are begging us to go ahead and settle down already.
And is it just me or does settle down sound an awful lot like “settling.” Perhaps that’s because it’s the same freaking word!
Who was the wise guy that started calling it “settling down?”

Anyone out there married? Did it feel like you were settling down in life? Does having children make you feel settled? Or is it one adventure to the next.

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I think you know already that I’m not married or with child. But I know enough to know that that’s the worst description of marriage and married life I’ve ever heard. And if that’s what it’s like… I’ll tell you right now, marriage ain’t for me. Hello!! I’m a hurricane. It is physically impossible for me to “settle down” or to “settle” in any way. My winds may get smoother, but they’ll always be there, blowing away. I have a sneaking suspicion it’s nothing like that! (Marrieds…back me up here.)

If the goal in finding love is to settle down and yet somehow not end up settling for “less than you deserve” then I think it’s a losing battle. And making a checklist for Mr. “Perfect” seems like a futile attempt to control the uncontrollable. Isn’t it better when Mr. or Mrs. Surprising comes along? Maybe he isn’t taller than you. Maybe she isn’t a D cup. Maybe he didn’t go to Harvard Law School. Maybe SHE didn’t go to Harvard Law School. See what I’m getting at here.

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So, yeah. I went ahead and threw my checklist away. Cause if I’m honest with myself, I’m looking for a Mr. Darcy and all I’m finding is Mr. Ed. (That’s right… the talking horse!)

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Checklists… we all make them. But at the end of the day we should all be equally prepared to rip them up and throw them away. Standards are OK. Compatibility is a thing. But don’t let either get in the way of what can come along when you aren’t holding that person under a microscope of unrealistic expectations!

Great Expectations

When a woman hits a certain age range, there are expectations that come along with it. Not only from culture but from friends and family.
It used to make me mad, jaded, resentful and feel like I wasn’t enough. Yes, I’m over 30 and no, I’m not married. And sometimes that baffles people. They think I must be unhappy. They think I must be lonely.
And of course I sometimes experience sadness and longing for a relationship with someone.
But I can wait. And in the meantime I’ve learned so much about myself and have done things I never dreamed I could.

And through all this soul searching and seasons of “alone time” I’ve come to understand where all the pressure to marry stems from. Why family members and married friends are not content to see my be merely single. And it’s given me perspective!

They have found happiness in their unions. And many of them have spent the majority of their lives married. And can’t imagine life without their partner. At the end of the day they only want that same joy for me. And instead of it being a wish for me to marry, what it really is is a wish for me to experience the kind of joy they have in their lives.

That is a beautiful thing. Something I can appreciate and not shake my single fist at.
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Episode 6: Granny’s Big Idea

Starring Liz Tailor

Clothes: Liz – Breathe Organic Shirt by SunseApparel, Multi Strand Necklace by The Leakey Collection

Click for more information on the companies we partner with and what they stand for and the fashion and where to get them.

New Episode Next Tuesday, October 7th

The Indefinable, Wonderfully Made Me!

It’s fair to say that back in high school and even in college, I did not know myself very well. When I was little I was the outgoing one. Always in the middle of whatever was happening. The center of the spotlight.

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In middle school I learned that not everyone valued the ability to recite the entirety of Star Wars: A New Hope or the complete soundtrack to The Phantom of the Opera. But I had my little troop of friends and they got me. And it was enough.

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High school was just ridiculous. I was wearing bindis one minute and thought I was Hispanic the next. I was throwing keys and crushing on every boy I knew and was, in general, a big ole train wreck. I never felt at home in my own skin. I was constantly looking for other things to define me. Things besides the indefinable, wonderfully made me. The me that God himself thought to put together.

Looking back it’s clear to see why I was never kissed. I didn’t know me. So how could I possibly have let other people know me. And high school boys aren’t exactly patient and willing to wait around for you to find yourself. So I left for college, feeling inadequate and behind the times and just all around undesirable.

Again, I had friends who knew me as well as they possibly could. And I rarely thought about it in the day to day excitement of college life. But I turned 24 and something happened. It wasn’t enough. Everyone had these stories and experiences and I just had the fantasies I’d built up in my mind about how it would happen and what it would be like and who it’d be with.

If you haven’t seen this week’s episode, featuring the reenactment of said first kiss, then take a look. It was rushed and awkward and with someone who didn’t even want to date me. And who I didn’t even want to date. Just a friend. It was safe that way. There was no chance of getting hurt, because the not being kissed was the painful part. Finally being kissed was going to be a relief.

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And as I’m sure you guessed, it wasn’t a relief. Yep, I checked “First Kiss” off my bucket list. But was left with the icky feeling that I hadn’t done it all quite right. Insecurity is something that will haunt you if you let it. It’s not like it voluntarily packs it’s bags and leaves you alone. It’s always whispering in your ear. “No one cares. No one wants you. You are not good enough.”

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I’m proud to report that I do know myself these days. I know exactly who I am and how valuable my life is. And I still sometimes do stupid things (as you will bare witness to in my web series) but I don’t let the mistakes I make define me. They are apart of me, but I refuse to spend time regretting my past. Instead I let it inform my future and the decisions I make now. Always looking forward, but never forgetting where I’ve been.

 

I still have yet to be kissed in a meaningful and romantic way. By someone who wants me and who I want. And most importantly, without the influence of alcohol. But that’s a story for another day.

I’d love to hear from you, so please share your stories below. I can’t be the only one to mess things up sometimes.