Both season three of "Orange is the New Black" and my 25th birthday are days away.
Needless to say, I’m pretty damn anxious.
So while I wait and watch the clock painfully tick on and on, I’m left with only my thoughts and more than 25 hours of reruns to re-watch.
And, in my binge-watching, I have come to realize Piper Chapman has a lot to teach us about what it means to be an adult who is held totally responsible for everything she does.
While I’m not in prison, and was never a drug-smuggler, getting older is a scary, scary thing.
With many thanks owed to her time spent at Litchfield Penitentiary, Piper has at least 10 lessons to offer about coming of age that I can totally relate to:
It’s okay to be a bitch.
And, there will be times when you have to be.
Standing up for yourself is something you have to do, and sometimes, in order to get the message across, you have to be a little rude.
A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do — like telling Soso to shut the f*ck up to maintain your fellow inmate’s sanity or beating Pennsatucky to a pulp to save your own life.
...But people will remember it.
And not everyone is going to forgive you.
Piper is a prime example of the fact that when you do burn bridges, it can be hard (if not impossible) to rebuild them if and when you ever want to.
I’m not sure Piper will ever be Dandelion in Suzanne’s "crazy eyes" again.
...So pick your battles.
Because if you want to win the war, you can’t get into every fight along the way.
Between putting up with Mendez groping her, and learning to recognize that getting beat up by Crazy Eyes was a blessing in disguise, Piper has certainly proven you can’t always come out on top.
For your own benefit, you should accept that fact as soon as possible.
The people you love the most will hurt you.
Parents are imperfect; best friends make mistakes, and relationships end as people grow apart.
Polly and Larry’s infidelity is a heartbreaking example of this, as is the example of Piper’s parents.
It’s a common known truth that we honestly don’t even need a show to teach us, but "OITNB" makes it quite clear for anyone who wasn’t so sure.
Lend a helping hand.
There may be times when you need to help an old lady out by cutting her pork chop for her.
Sometimes, you might need to sacrifice your time on furlough to make sure your friend’s business is still up and running, even if it’s just to find out it’s not open anymore.
When we are given opportunities others aren’t, it’s our responsibility to help.
You won’t always know where you’re going.
While you probably won't be put on a plane in the middle of the night without being told where you are going like Pipes, you will feel totally helpless at some point in your life.
Leave it to the inmates at Litchfield to make that life lesson perfectly clear.
Love is not enough.
Relationships take time, work and effort.
Piper’s dad starts to lose his bond with his incarcerated daughter when he refuses to visit, and it proves you can’t expect to keep a close bond with someone who's not willing to put in effort.
Time changes everything.
And that doesn’t only apply to hard times.
Just as Piper says “no” when her relatives ask her if she’s ready to get back to being her goody two-shoes self, I’ve found I have no desire to be the person I was years ago.
And, I expect, in a few years, there may be even more parts of myself I want to change.
Life isn’t all about you.
Although Piper and I tend to think it is from time to time, the world does not revolve around us.
In seasons one and two, Piper learns she is not the sun, and she has no right to deem anyone else to be the moon.
While the world continues to keep moving as she sits in jail, Piper learns this the hard way, while we learn it from the comfort of our own couches.
...But, some days, it is.
Remembering to put yourself first can be incredibly important.
For example, when a crazy ex asks you to lie for them in court, say no, because your personal freedom is far more important.
Besides a few setbacks like this one, putting herself first is something Piper is pretty good at, and to some degree, we can all learn something from it.
Here’s to all of the lessons we’ll learn from season three, coming June 12 to Netflix!