By Skylar Westerdahl

I secretly think there is a small masochistic part of everyone. A tiny desire to make our physical lives match the twisting turmoil that lies within. Or maybe we're all just born wide eyed and innocent, until the soul-crushing realities of life crash down upon us like the Red Sea.

Anyway, I went to IKEA.

Here are some tips from my experience.

Step 1: Reserve 45 minutes of your day to "bang this one out." It's incredibly important that you believe this is enough time. Ignore anyone who says otherwise. You've seen enough episodes of Fixer-Upper with Chip and Joanna to know what you're doing.

Look at that naive idiot.

Step 2: The key is to start with a clean working space.

Nailed it.

Step 3: Unload all three boxes. This will take approximately all of the 45 minutes you had allotted for the entire project.

Step 4: Take a rest. You don't want to over-exert yourself.

Yes, this does count as exercise. 

Step 5: At this point you will realize you are probably in over your head.

You are definitely in over your head.

Step 6: Start taking notes on your experience. You can use this later for your med school essay on "overcoming adversity."

The suffering.

Step 7: Open your IKEA instruction manual and follow the first 4 steps. Make sure you do so incorrectly. Swear loudly.

This is definitely backwards.

Step 8: Disassemble the first 4 steps.

Why does adulthood have so much carpal tunnel in it?

Step 9: Re-try following the first 4 steps.

Step 10: You did it! Revel in your sense of accomplishment.

Likely you will feel emotionally unhinged at this point.

Step 11: Except no. Realize you still did not do it correctly. Swear even more loudly.

How can you do something backwards TWICE?!? How many backsides does this thing even have?!

Step 12: Re-re-try following the first 4 steps. You'll complete it successfully this time, but life will never be as sweet. As beautiful. As innocent.
Step 13: Complete step five.

Step 14: You did it wrong.
Step 15: Cry. You're a failure. You have nothing to offer anyone.
Step 16: BTW, you actually didn't do the first four steps right.
Step 17: Give up and go out of town.
Step 18: Have your mother hire a handy-man while you are away. By the way, for all of these steps you live with your mother, ensuring that your IKEA failures are definitely not the most depressing thing happening in your life right now and may not even be in the top 5.
Step 19: Live vicariously through someone else's job well done.


It's the American way.
~It Just Gets Stranger