Parents lie. It’s just a fact of life that you live with. Anyone who thinks otherwise has just never been a parent or has a much better set of rose-colored glasses than I do. They lie to get you to do things, they lie to get you to behave in a certain way, or to not behave in a certain way, and they lie to you … for your own good.
Some lies are harmless. I give you the holy trinity of parental lies: Santa Clause, The Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. All three nice concepts and, if you ask me, totally awesome. I mean they are like The Three Wise Men for kids; one brings toys, the next brings candy and the other brings money. Who can argue with that? At some point the kid world just fades away and you realize that it was mom and dad all along. No harm, no foul. I actually have a friend who says he will not tell his children that there is a Santa Clause. He says it is wrong to lie to children and HIS KIDS will know the truth straight off. I looked at him in total disbelief and asked him what real harm it did him believing in Santa for six or seven years. He told me that it made him not trust his parents. Wow. I made him promise if he is gonna be a dick to at least not make sure HIS kids are not the ones who tell all of the other kids that there is no such thing as Santa – or at least be prepared for angry phone calls from little Johnny and Jenny’s parents.
If you are going to get mad at dear mom and dad for the lies they tell you, why not choose a good one. The older I get the more I resent, and really can’t understand why we were told the following sentence. “You can be anything you want to be…”
It’s a nice sentiment and I get that it is meant to open our little imaginations and push us to succeed, but come on. Kids? You CANNOT be anything you want to be. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. And you know what? Mommy and Daddy don’t believe that either. Think about the smelly kid. The kid who picks his nose and eats it while gently and carefully painting his D&D set, that kid. You know his mom and dad tell him that he can be anything he wants – but the truth is they just hope he grows up and grows out of his embarrassing habits long enough to get laid. When I was little I wanted to be the following: I wanted to be a singer, an actress, an Olympic Diver, a nutritionist, a writer and Marilyn Monroe.
So let’s break it down.
Singer – yes, I still sing and I get paid for it occasionally. I am not the international superstar that I dreamt I’d be, but there is still time. (Ahem) Actress – I lived most of my life in L.A. and realized the type of person it takes to be an actor and decided that I didn’t want to be that type of person. Not to mention all of the MONEY involved. Getting an agent, SAG card etc… Sure I miss it, and every time I see a play I get a little sad that its not me up there, but such is life. Olympic Diver – Ha! Have you seen what it takes to become an Olympic competitor? Money! Lot’s of mom and dads money! It was NEVER going to happen. Never. Dream shot down before I even made a splash. Nutritionist – Well, I tried. I looked into things read a lot of books. But the fact is that I couldn’t afford college until I was thirty and in the good old USA you should already have a career by then. Sure, I could still go for it, but people in Europe know how to eat. They don’t need someone to tell them the way they do in the states. Common sense. A writer – well…we’ll just have to hold our breath now won’t we. And lastly, Marilyn Monroe. Ok. That one wasn’t gonna happen. I get that now.
But you see my point. My parents and teachers told me one thing my whole life, but in reality just wanted me to study, get a job and work. Not follow my dream as much as do what’s expected. And that bugs me. It happened to me. I spent YEARS being sidetracked into dealing with other people’s ideas and dreams that I begun to think of them as my own. And believe me – I never ever dreamt of being a corporate worker bee drone. Never. Ever. But, I did it anyway. What other options do Americans have?
I have a lot of friends out here in Prague that are between the ages of 24 and 27. They are all having a blast out here traveling, teaching, partying and discovering new cultures and a life that does not have a 9-5 clock involved. They also all have parents that want them to “come home and start living a REAL life”. Uh huh. This is my point. You can be whatever you want to be as long as it fits into the mold. A lot of my friends have gone back to America with no real reason other than they feel they should – everyone else did. It’s sad really. I see what’s going to happen to most of them and it kind of depresses me.
Most of them will go back to America and get a job in sales or something of the like no matter what their very expensive and prestigious degree was “in”. They will get married and have kids and there you go. Some of them will even continue the rouse of higher education and get a Master’s degree, which, let’s face it, you only need if …wait…I can’t think of a reason why you really need one. (But whatever. It’s a Parental Approved waste of time and money – unlike living and working abroad.) And they will do this because they are expected to. Parents need to change their little lie. “You can be whatever you want to be in America and – until you are thirteen. Then you need to start thinking about Colleges and what kind of job you can get. And make sure you choose a profession in which you can support a family – because you will be asked to have one.”
Now, before you bite my head off, there is nothing wrong with that life style – if that’s what you want. Speaking as someone who was forced to live it for years, I kind of wish someone had shown me the way out a lot sooner. It is not for everyone, and nor should it be. Why don’t we stop cheating our youth out of living? I was never once told in High School that I could go to another country and live there. Never. That blows. That was never an option for me. Well, glad I woke up. I am SO much happier here.
I still have dreams, but they are a little different now. I want to write and I think I will be successful with it at some point. I want to open a little Cabaret style theater company here in Prague with in the next few years – and I just might do that too. I want to have a family, maybe, like all of my friends in the states – yes I mean you. And I want to continue to see the world – that is important. There are so many American’s that have never traveled outside of the country. How can we expect them to have an understanding of the world? I have lived in a non-English speaking country for over 2 years now and that has shifted my thinking dramatically. Anyway, I digress.
I guess when I have kids, I’ll want them to have big dreams and go far. But I also won’t feed them a huge line of bullshit. Maybe something like this
You can do whatever you want to in this life. You can be a Doctor or Lawyer if you want. But that means years and years of school and lot’s of money. And you will have your work cut out for you. You can be a musician or an artist, but be prepared for living hand to mouth for a while and having a second job. You can spend the rest of your life traveling if you really want too. Just be happy and live your life on your own terms.
Ahh. That sounds nice. I’ll make a bad ass mommy.