Just an Ordinary Josephine

By Diane Stark

Just an Ordinary Josephine

I was a huge fan of the show Friends. My favorite friend was always Chandler…and Phoebe…and Joey too. Oh, I loved them all. But I think my real favorite was Rachel, played by Jennifer Aniston.

She was so interesting, both on the show, and especially in real life – interesting and seemingly perfect. She was beyond gorgeous and even had an entire hairstyle named after her. She was married to Brad Pitt; she starred on one of the most-loved TV shows of all time, and she was paid a million dollars an episode to do it. And she was married to Brad Pitt. (I said that already, didn’t I?)

But as we all know, that marriage definitely fell into the seemingly perfect category. The reality was a whole lot different.

When the media revealed the reason behind Brad and Jen’s split, I was indignant, almost as much as I would have been if that had happened to one of my real-life friends. “Rachel – I mean, Jennifer – is such a great person,” I’d think to myself. “How could any man do that to her?”

But not everyone was as sympathetic as I was. Tina Fey, who hit the big-time by making fun of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live, made jokes about their split. One night on the show, she said, “If Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are tired of having sex with each other, what hope is there for the rest of us?”

I laughed – just a little – but the point was well-taken. If those two, with all their money, beauty and fame, couldn’t make it work, how could normal people like me expect to? After all, it’s not like Brad and Jen would ever argue over what to fix for dinner or worry about how to pay the cable bill. Their biggest problem, I thought, would be whether to vacation in Fiji or the island they purchased for those little weekend get-aways between movies.

And surely they didn’t struggle with those little insecurities that plague the rest of us. I can’t see that Jennifer Aniston ever worried about a dress making her look fat or wondering if her husband was checking out the waitress at the local Applebee’s. (Do celebs even eat at Applebee’s?)

I thought money, fame and good looks erased the problems that “normal people” deal with.

But I was wrong. Yes, in many ways, the rich and famous have it easier than the rest of us. They don’t have to worry about making ends meet. They can buy anything and go anywhere because money is no object. But they can’t really go anywhere because the media follows them around like wild animals, hoping to catch that million-dollar photo.

Celebrities are frequently out of work and they constantly have to worry about getting older and being replaced by someone younger and more attractive. (That sounds like insecurity to me.)

And the divorce rate among celebrities seems even more pitiful than for the rest of us. So having money, fame, and incredible sex appeal don’t bind two people together any better than being a middle-income, sorta-cute-on-a-good-hair-day, famous-only-in-my-own-family ordinary Joe – or Josephine, in this case.

I think a big part of making a marriage work – and being happy with your life in general – is just being able to roll with the punches. It’s waking up in the morning and not expecting your day to be perfect. It’s accepting that you’re going to experience frustrations and small problems – maybe even big problems – but it’s part of life. You just deal with whatever happens the best you can.

Maybe celebrities are less equipped to deal with life’s problems because they spend so much time in the fantasy world of TV and movies where things are always tied up with a bow in two hours or less.

The rest of us know how reality works. Sometimes it sucks. Things can be rotten – and for a lot longer than two hours.

But other times, life is so utterly beautiful that it can take your breath away.

Being happy means learning all you can from the hard times and not taking the good times for granted. It means looking for happiness in the little moments life offers us every day. Moments we miss all too often. Things like hearing a child laugh, enjoying a cup of coffee with our spouse or a good friend, or just having five free minutes to rest and think.

Sometimes I think our world has it backwards. Instead of us hanging on celebrities’ every word, I think they should watch us for a while.

They might learn something about real life.

Because even an ordinary Josephine can be someone pretty special.

About this writer

  • Diane Stark Diane Stark is a wife and mom of five. She loves to write about her family and her faith. Her essays have been published in over 20 Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

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2 Responses to “Just an Ordinary Josephine”

  1. I loved your article, partly because I still love Friends and give myself Friends marathons as treats. I also love them all, but I kinda favor Chandler.

    Sorry- the point:) Tina Fey nailed it with the joke.

  2. even though waitresses might not be an issue, there is always the next hottie they are filming it. And when Brad got tired of sleeping with Aniston, he slept with Angelina.

    So you are right. It all comes down to expecations and how you deal with them.
    But since we can’t stop looking at celebrities, thankfully some of them are still together – like Bacon & Sedgwick:)

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