LiesMyParentsToldMe

Wait for your dessert. Say please and thank you. Respect your elders.

These are the fundamental lessons that stick like glue to the back of our minds. However, there were a few lessons our parents tried to imprint on us that seemed to have proven a little less than true. Our parents are from the generation who all wanted their offspring to do better than them and to accomplish things they may not have had.

Sometimes, it can feel like they tried to fix their mistakes through us. They raised us to believe in certain parts of life, such as education and developing a solid work ethic. In the long run, it’s probably for the best. Bless them. They really did try.

However, they didn’t foresee the implosion of the economy, and try as they might, they couldn’t foreshadow that the value of a college degree would mean considerably less today than it did even ten years ago. The Baby Boomer generation really believed the future was ours and we could become the educated, the elite, and the crème de la crème. The ideology of our parents’ generation encouraged them to trust we can have it all, which is why we keep pushing ourselves for more, and why our cultural identity insists we can acquire everything. This is what led them to feed us these little nuggets of joy

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Lie #1: “If you attend college, you will end up with the career you want.”

This isn’t exactly true anymore. The worth of an undergraduate degree is debatable now that so many of us have them. After a lifetime of hard work, we find ourselves unfulfilled and disappointed that we couldn’t be one of the lucky ones. Due to our education, we feel slightly entitled to an “all-access pass” into our chosen career. We stumble across the dispirited notion that it’s going to take us a lot of time, and perhaps we won’t really “make it” in our twenties. Our parents believed education was the key to our futures, but it can often feel as though this key isn’t going to unlock anything.

Lie #2: “Those kids are only jealous.”

While trying to protect us from the inevitable school bullies, we were always told jealousy was to blame. In reality, people are just mean. This can be a harsh lesson to learn in your twenties, especially when your friends or co-workers aren’t quite rays of sunshine. The green-eyed monster is very rarely to blame, but it’s a little easier on the ego if we use this frame of thought.

Lie #3: If the wind changes, your face will stick like that.”

Lie. This is just as false as the old “if you eat your carrots you’ll be able to see in the dark” nonsense. I find the fact that my face remains in a permanent state of bitch-face has nothing to do with the weather.

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Lie #4: “You can be whatever you want to be.”

Well, as alluring a thought that might be, I cannot be a brain surgeon no matter how many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy I watch. I also cannot become the President of the United States, no matter how much I enjoy an inspirational speech. I’d love to be guzzling coffee in Barack Obama’s current digs right now or be playing fetch with the First Dog, Bo, but it isn’t going to happen.

Some of us are gifted in particular areas, while some of us struggle. What they also didn’t tell us is that sometimes — even when we find the perfect fit for our futures — we just can’t get in. It’s kind of like finding the right pair of jeans. Even when you discover your perfect fit and style, occasionally they can be impossible to find in the stores. Locating  the next step on the ladder has never been so difficult.

Lie #5: “You can’t eat two-day old pizza.”

I disagree, old chum. Watch me.

We can’t really blame our parents, even though we would have preferred the heads up. Sometimes a white lie is necessary. Haven’t we all lied to our own parents, if only to protect them from information that might upset them? Like the time you may have vomited on their brand new rug or spilled juice on their white couch. Sometimes white lies are what keep us going, because they ease the disorienting dizziness of disappointment. Will it get any easier? Will I get what I want before I reach the end of my twenties? Will I tell my future daughter the truth about the world?

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Lie to me one more time.