1. EXPECTATION: Have friends over for dinner parties all the time. Coordinate potlucks at your local park and have expansive cheese plates. Sling your arms around each other as a friendly passerby takes a Polaroid picture of your #squad. Wow! It's a perfectly candid photo of eight girl friends holding casseroles and naturally glowing in the light!
  2. REALITY: Drag your ass to Trader Joe's and buy cookie butter and microwaveable quinoa. Hear about the 10-for-10 easy mac sale at CVS and eat plastic cheese for a week. Throw out those banana chips that now smell like baby vomit. Text your friends occasionally to see if they have extra marinara sauce. Never buy juice because it's fucking expensive.
  3. EXPECTATION: Your train arrives the moment you daintily step onto the spotless platform. Violin music plays quietly in the background. Everyone forms a single-file line. You always get a seat. You arrive at your stop in 4 minutes and saunter toward your high-rise office with your beige YSL coat hanging flawlessly over your shoulders.
  4. REALITY: Your bus is 15 minutes late. You miss your train by 3 seconds. The next one arrives in 8 minutes. Everything smells like pee. It takes 55 minutes to get to work. You have a cramp from walking. You forgot to iron your pencil skirt. The sad turkey sandwich you made for lunch is left forgotten in your fridge.
  5. EXPECTATION: Only six unread emails! They want you to accept an award?! They want your quiche recipe?! Twenty-six happy hour invites?! You pencil in your events in your Kate Spade planner and walk into a meeting with the CMO. You present your deck flawlessly to Apple. They pull you aside after the meeting to invite you to another happy hour.
  6. REALITY: 200,000 unread messages. Most of them are from the IT department harassing you to fill out a survey. You forgot to change your password so you get locked out of Outlook. You accidentally talk over your client on a speaker phone three times. You sit at a cubicle and realize you forgot your lunch.
  7. EXPECTATION: You attend happy hour with a brand new outfit--just a little something you left in your corner office over the weekend. You immediately see someone you know. There is no small talk. Drinks are free and there are finger foods that you can guiltlessly snack on because you have incredible metabolism.
  8. REALITY: You walk into a bar to meet up with a Tinder date after work. He doesn't show up so you sit and wait for someone else to buy you a pity drink. You wait for thirty seconds and then hate yourself. You go to Chipotle and risk E. coli because, fuck it, you'll have a steak bowl with extra cheese. You shit bricks at home.
  9. EXPECTATION: You come home from a fruitful and rewarding day at work slightly buzzed. You jump into your memory foam mattress cloud of heaven and roll around in your freshly-washed sheets. Your loving boyfriend is barbecuing on the back porch of your upper east side brownstone. You smell the faint scent of garlic mashed potatoes.
  10. REALITY: You open three bags of cheddar bunnies and call it a night.
  11. EXPECTATION: Your mega-King-sized bed is heated up for you as you change into your silk pajamas. You cuddle with your 6'2 male model phD boyfriend and discuss important social issues. He brings out his copy of Between the World and Me and the two of you close-read Ta-Nehisi Coates in each other's arms.
  12. REALITY: You push over old laundry to one side of the bed. Your feet are cold. You realize you forgot to brush your teeth. You think about getting up. You realize you didn't take out your contacts. You think about getting up again. You begin to doze off when, suddenly, you're hungry. You get up and eat cold pizza in the dark.
  13. EXPECTATION: You are financially stable and have scheduled automatic bill payments for the next 19 years. You know what a 401k is. You aren't worried about social security. Your school was free. You have no loans to pay. You splurge on that $11 Jamba Juice.
  14. REALITY: You have no idea what a mortgage is. Rent is too damn high. You get taxed 35% though you barely exist above the poverty line. You went to a school that had the nerve to charge $260,000 for an education. You replace your nightly prayers with nightly "fuck you"s to Sallie Mae and capitalism.
  15. EXPECTATION: You gaze out onto the New England waters from your tastefully decorated condo. It's a long weekend and your girl friends admire each other's Lily Pulitzer tankinis in the kitchen. You cradle your Crate & Barrel picnic basket, filled with cucumber sandwiches and champagne, and lead the group to the white, sandy shore. You tan evenly.
  16. REALITY: You sleep until 3pm on Saturday and move to your couch to eat leftover Chinese food. You consider reaching out to friends, then resent them for not reaching out first. You place your laptop on your chest and watch Netflix for eight consecutive hours. You promise to check out that cute brunch place tomorrow. You wake up at 3pm.