As most of you already know, a lot of my time is productively spent binge-watching shows on Netflix. And the one I'm currently tackling has really put things into perspective. Per usual, the things going on in my life end up relating to each other in some way, so while it seemed like an innocent choice to watch Parenthood, it's funny that the different lessons on the show are very much directly correlated to where I'm at personally.
Let me explain...
It all started when I was writing a news story that had to do with the cast of the show. I had never watched a single episode, so I consulted with my coworker who is a fan to try and get some insight. Basically, I had to fake it in my article (spoiler alert: happens often), but I hate when I have to do that, so I thought--all the seasons are on Netflix...might as well make this my next binge.
The cast, creator and surprise Friday Night Lights cameos were enough to hook me (um, hi Michael B. Jordan, so happy to see you). But it was the different story lines and glimpse into not only parenthood, but marriage, that really got me.
I recently wrote about my friend's engagement and how I'm ready to find that person and build a meaningful, and hopefully long-term, relationship with someone, so I found it extremely funny that I just so happened to be watching a show now that gave me a slap in the face when it comes to the hardships you may not realize (or acknowledge) that come with even the healthiest relationships.
And that reminds you of the qualities that matter when finding the right partner to build a life with.
For those who don't know the show, here's a brief rundown--the series is centered around one family (the Bravermans) who are a tight-knit bunch. The four children are all adults with their own families. So you have the parents/grandparents who are the foundation, and their two sons and two daughters. Each family goes through their hurdles, whether that be disease, an absentee father, a surprise child, marital issues, parenting issues, infidelity...YOU NAME IT.
And watching each scenario just gets you thinking (and crying...there has been lots of crying).
These days we fuss and fight about stupid shit that doesn't seem as stupid when you're in it. He didn't like my picture on Instagram. He hasn't texted me back in an hour. I called and it went straight to voice mail. Who's this new girl he started following?
Who. Gives. a. Fuck?
Well, you, clearly. And me, too! I'm no exception. I've literally cried over the dumbest shit, and now I feel like such an idiot. Granted, I felt what I felt, and that's OK, but c'mon.
First of all, screw those people. If they can't respect you on the most basic level (i.e. keeping constant communication with you and making you feel secure within your relationship), then they're definitely not cut out for the hard stuff that will inevitably come along the way.
Marriage and parenting is hard--from what I've seen. Obviously, I haven't gone through it, but I have many friends who are already there, and I have my trusty TV show. And yes, it's a show, but these situations are based on reality. There are people who go through things like this constantly.
So, I really started to wonder: Am I placing the right amount of value on the characteristics and traits that matter?
What if my future child has a disability? What if my husband loses his job? What if I lose my job? What if our child runs away from home? What if there's a colleague who is acting inappropriately? What if we have trouble getting pregnant?
There are so many what-ifs that may seem irrelevant now but could very much be a reality at some point--and I want someone who is going to ride it out with me, whatever may come.
I always knew that finding someone is just the beginning. Building and continuing to grow and evolve as a partnership is where the real work comes in, but man did this show just emphasize all of that even more.
I'm not completely done with the series yet (so no spoilers, please!), but I'm already so grateful that I've caught on to this show when I did, because now I am reminded about what is crucial.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our loneliness that we jump into whatever fills that void or makes us feel wanted and important. Those relationships are empty and ultimately do more harm than good. That's why I've been single for as long as I have, because if I'm going to go all in and invest myself into someone, I'm expecting the same in return.
And while sometimes it feels like I'm on a hamster wheel just going in circles with no real destination in sight, I at least know that I'm refining and polishing the parts of me that need a little more attention so that I may become the type of woman I aspire to be. And by becoming that woman, I will attract a man who is right there with me.
It may not happen tomorrow, or even a year from now, but I'd rather use this time alone to do what is best for me, so that I may spend the rest of my forever with someone who makes every challenge that we may face something I know we can conquer together.
Because there will be challenges. There will be tears. There will be moments when life throws you the biggest curve balls. But the beauty of it all is knowing that you won't have to face them alone.