The first thing that got me hooked on Friends was that it literally made me laugh out loud. It still does, as a matter of fact. I can rarely watch shows that aren't funny, but this one easily makes the cut. I've found myself doubled over at times with how much it made me laugh, and in a busy, stressful life, sometimes you need something like that.
But there was something else as well. I found that Friends was oddly relevant to my own life. Maybe not the exact scenarios - my roommates and I haven't sat around in wedding dresses and I haven't (and never will) bet away my apartment. Still, the underlying themes are there (English major nerd moment, woo!). For instance, take the first couple lines of the theme song:
"So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job's a joke, you're broke, your love life's D.O.A."
Uh, could you say it any better? Basically my life. And can I emphasize the fact that no one really did tell me (or anyone else for that matter) that real life was like this? Not saying that it's bad, but that it's really not as glamorous as any of us would have expected it to be. After talking to my friends, it seems that all of us, no matter where we're at right now, are completely clueless about life. What's going to happen next? Why is this so much harder than I thought it would be? Why am I so anxious about what I'm doing or what the future will bring? The list goes on and on...
But you know what, that song helps me to laugh about it. Friends as a whole helps me to laugh about it. We really have no idea what the heck we're doing and it must be hilarious for the fly on the wall watching us try to figure it out. I have to say, though, I may be able to sit and laugh about it now, but this has been a long time coming. I certainly wasn't of that mindset two years ago, and I definitely wasn't in the laughing mood when I first moved into my apartment back in November.
The truth is, I was overwhelmed with the real world. It smacked me in the face. I had a hard time with it when I was living with my dad, but it got even harder when I moved out on my own. I had no idea where my life was going, no way to figure it out...and no way to deal with the anxiety. For the first three or four months in the apartment, I was having regular emotional breakdowns and honestly couldn't stop them, no matter how hard I tried. I won't bore you with what those breakdowns were about because I honestly can't pinpoint one particular thing, but to sum it all up I think it was generally being overwhelmed with real life. Some days it was so bad that I actually thought I was going insane.
Now, to lighten the mood a bit, those of you that have seen me in recent months know that I'm back to my happy-go-lucky Heather self (again - woohoo!). I'm looking on the bright side of things and generally act like I could eat rainbows and poop butterflies (Horton Hears a Who, anyone?). So was it Friends that brought about this drastic turnaround? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
Haha! Gotcha! Ok, maybe I didn't get you. Let's be honest, who can have their entire mindset turned around by a '90s sitcom? I'm a strange one but I'm not that ridiculous...
No, the turnaround came from re-igniting my prayer life, the support of my amazing family and friends (real friends this time, not the show), and making a conscious effort to end my complaints and improve my own mood. Where the show came in was after the important work had been done, the time here in the real world, and the timing was perfect. I had found myself in a much better place and I had something that not only kept me laughing, but that I could now look at and say, "OMG that's so true!" Take for instance, Monica's line to Rachel at the end of the pilot:
"Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You're gonna love it!"
Sure it's a little contradictory, but it really hits the nail on the head! I've already been through that first taste of how the real world can suck - and now I'm enjoying how awesome it is and I LOVE IT!! And I'm not just talking about the perfect times, but the not-so-perfect times as well. This is mostly attributed to the more positive outlook that I've had on everything, but Friends has helped to keep that positive outlook going. It helps me to take those ridiculous little annoyances that everyone has to go through and shrug them off. You know, those odd little moments like:
1. Running through the apartment screaming, "I HAVE TO KILL A BUG!!!!"
2. Smacking and kicking the washing machine to get it to work.
3. Finding a melted plastic spoon in the dishwasher then Googling "how to get melted plastic off metal rod in dishwasher."
Plus, by being able to laugh about the little things, we can handle the bigger tough moments a little bit better, too. The real world is filled with all kinds of painful and joyous moments of independent living that we all need to embrace a little bit more and try not to let them get to us too much. As my grandpa said, "Don't sweat the small stuff." After all, it's those little imperfections that keep life interesting and give us all our greatest stories.
So learn to role with the punches....and of course, laugh at them :)