One Life Lesson I Learned from Friends

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It’s practically a universal truth that in America we watch too much tv. With the invention of Netflix, we now watch too much of our computer screens. But worst of all, there are dvd sets where you can buy entire series of shows! Even though odds are that the shows you love can be found on cable and Netflix anyway. Entertainment is endlessly at our fingertips.

And for that reason, I watch the show Friends all too often. We own every season and it is my background noise show of choice. When I’m cooking dinner or cleaning the RV, you can often hear Friends playing casually in the background making my monotonous tasks a little more interesting.

one life lesson i learned from Friends

Just like a catchy song, scenes and lines from the show will get stuck in my head. I’ll hear Joey ringing in my ears spouting wisdom like: “It’s like a cow’s opinion. It’s moo.” Or hear Monica shrieking “I KNOW!”

Today, one particular scene is stuck in my head. It’s the episode of Monica and Chandler’s wedding and like anyone about to enter holy matrimony, Chandler is freaking out. In fact, he’s using his work computer to research proof that he and Monica are blood related so that he can escape the monstrous commitment of marriage.

But since sitcoms are happily ever after, Ross and Phoebe show up to help Chandler overcome his panic. Ross gives the advice to not think about getting married, but just take the day’s steps one at a time. First, he just needs to shower. That’s not scary. Then he gets dressed. That’s easy enough. And slowly, he’s preparing for the ceremony.

I don’t know how this scene popped into my head today, because I haven’t seen that particular episode in months. (Yet somehow I can picture every conversation in this episode…okay I watch Friends too much.)

Now that it’s April, we’ve lived a quarter of 2015. I took some time yesterday to review my big goals for the year and my progress toward them. For some goals, I’m doing great! I’ve almost finished four books, and my goal is to read 10. (I only read five in all of 2014.) Plus, Heath and I have paid 21% of our student loan debt, and we’re roughly 25% of the way through the year. We’re almost right on schedule!

But the goal I’m most proud of is finishing the free ebook you can download from my website. You see, my goal for 2016 is to publish a book or sign a book deal. 2015 is the year of preparing and growing so I can have enough influence to warrant publishing my story.

Writing a book is huge, terrifying goal. You’re sharing the stories of your life with strangers, who then critique you on Amazon where you hear that your book (and therefore your life) totally sucked.

So as I reviewed my goals for this year, I crossed off “write ebook for website,” which was one of my steps toward writing a real book. In fact, a real book is practically right around the corner! I began to have a Chandler-sized freak out. I can’t write a book. That’s a lot of words! I don’t even know that many words. While at my house for Easter, I found a vocabulary list from my junior year of high school stuffed in my desk drawer and I didn’t know half of the words on there. Quixotic? Banal? I saw that on the list and next to it in my high school handwriting I had scribbled the word “banana.” Must be the verb form of banana I guess.

So I’m in the middle of this I-will-never-write-a-book-in-my-life freak out when this ridiculous scene of Chandler sitting in his office the morning of his wedding comes to my mind and I can hear Ross’ words buzzing in my head: “Let’s take this one step at a time. Forget that you’re getting married for a sec. Just forget about it. Can you just come home and take a shower? That’s not scary right?”

At which point, Chandler of course says “Well it depends on what you mean by we” and everyone in the audience laughs because he’s so witty. But he agrees to take it one step at a time.

He makes it through the day until he realizes that the next step is the actual wedding. Then he freaks out all over again.

I always thought it was unrealistic that he kept freaking out, because it was so clear that he loves Monica. But I get it now. Because as much as I love writing, when I get a step closer to the big moment of writing an actual book, I freak out all over again.

Most big goals in life feel insurmountable in the beginning. That’s half the reason why I listed publish a book as my goal for 2016, not 2015. It’s too huge! It takes time and effort and the equivalent of bleeding on your computer keys.

Writing my ebook was one step along the way. It was terrifying and arduous and I still half expect someone to email me and tell me my book (and life) totally suck. But now I’m one step closer and still freaking out. It’s easy to feel like freaking out and worrying over something is a reason to not pursue it. The stress and frustration isn’t worth it!

But at the end of the episode, Chandler and Monica happily get married. All of his freaking out and panic made the wedding so much sweeter, because he had to fight his doubts and insecurities to get there.

That’s just one life lesson I learned from Friends. Worrying and questioning your decisions makes accomplishing your goal that much sweeter.

I suppose my point is, you can watch as much Friends as you want as long as you learn something once in a while.