“I was getting close to 40 and I just felt all this, you know, REGRET, about my 20s,” the woman said. “So many embarrassing situations, things I wish I’d done differently. I wished for that whole decade of mistakes to be just erased. Lo and behold, a genie appeared and granted my wish! It’s so nice to not have any regrets! I don’t know why everyone else isn’t excited for me. I guess they’re just jealous?”
“She woke up one day, and was just completely different,” her husband said. “Like someone had taken away some brain cells or something. We trade off between the two of us, who will help the kids get ready for school each morning. It was her morning to get them ready, but she couldn’t even get herself ready by 7 a.m. I thought she was just tired, but then I called her later in the day and I knew something else was wrong. She engaged me in a totally passive aggressive conversation then became mad and hung up on me. I didn’t even know what was going on, not even after her cryptic Facebook post.”
“Yeah, it was a ROUGH morning. I shared this on Facebook. I think the post was something like, ‘Some people just should NOT get married. If you can’t figure it out, you’re at fault. GROW UP, people.’ I don’t even remember. I apologized….” The woman shrugged.
“Something different with Mom?” Her 13-year-old son laughed. “Uh, YEAH. At first I thought it was kinda cool, you know? I would tell her about a bad day at school and she would just join in complaining, too. It made me feel heard. But then I noticed…. when I was done griping about something, she would still be upset. She’d bring it up again and again, and would never let things go. Then she started griping to me about HER problems, and I started giving her advice! ‘Mom,’ I said, ‘If you don’t enjoy hanging out with those friends of yours, and you’re constantly complaining about them, you shouldn’t get together with them!’ But she never listens. Honestly? I think she likes having something to complain about all the time. I just pop in my headphones more now.”
“Ok, so another thing–it’s like…I’ve worked for this company for 6 months in the same position and NOTHING is progressing for me, career-wise! So I said something about it to my boss, just being honest, and now everyone at work is treating me so oddly. Plus everyone at home…I just can’t take it anymore, it’s like everyone is against me!” As the woman shared this information, her hands were animated and her eyes appeared on the verge of bugging out of her skull.
The husband sighed. “She’d just gotten a new job that she’d been so happy about, and then nearly gotten fired from it, and wouldn’t say why. She couldn’t drink without getting drunk. And then often spent the majority of the next day sleeping. It started taking her 2 hours to get ready each day, and she changed her outfits several times before leaving the house, even if it was only to the grocery. She stopped watching any news except TMZ –she calls that news– and she hated being alone. She blocked the door when I tried to go to my fantasy football draft last fall. I was only going to be gone for an hour and she said that was too much time without me.” As the husband spoke, tears welled in his eyes. “Finally she told me about the genie. I feel so cheated.”
He put his head in his hands. “You know, maybe those painful lessons are for a reason, right? You might have regret from your twenties, but better for that all to be behind you than to act like a twentysomething as you approach 40. You’re supposed to learn from your mistakes, which means you were supposed to make mistakes.”
The husband looked up with narrowed angry eyes and said, “I’ll tell you what. I’m gonna catch that asshole genie, and when I do, he’s gonna be sorry he ever showed up.” He looked over at his wife, who was binge-watching MTV shows.