Are you a Gilmore Girls fan? I love that a whole new generation has gotten to know the weird and wonderful residents of Stars Hollow. I always related to Rory because she was such an academic. She was both firmly rooted by where she came from but at the same time not confined by her small town upbringing. She always knew she could be bigger than Stars Hollow. I also admired the relationship she had with her mother. Their witty bants always made me laugh and also gave me a secret desire to be a part of that too. Maybe I could be Lorelei’s adopted daughter? I never thought much about the fact that one day I would have a daughter and that we would share a similar relationship, but I am thankful for the fact that I do. I wouldn’t say that I learned how to be a mother from Lorelei, but I guess in some ways I did. I can tell you, however, that I did learn nine very important life lessons from watching Gilmore Girls.
- Don’t give up on your dreams. For years, Lorelei had a dream of owning an inn. She worked her way up from the bottom to the manager of an inn. She continued learning by taking business classes, and finally, she took the big step of buying her own inn. In true Lorelei fashion, it was a huge success. Lorelei passed down that same work ethic and belief in making dreams come true to Rory. From the first day we met Rory, we knew that she wanted to go to Harvard. Rory left her comfortable hometown public school to enter the world of Chilton and spent years dedicated to earning a Harvard acceptance.
- Allow for the fact that sometimes your dreams change. Sometimes as we are fervently working to make a dream come true, we realize the dream has changed. Over the years, what we learn and who we are changes. The process of working towards accomplishing your goals changes you. So, it’s ok to realize that along the way your goals and dreams have changed a little. Don’t be so stuck on a path that you are not willing to get off even when you know it is taking you the wrong way. Rory didn’t end up at Harvard. Her dream changed, she ended up at Yale, and her story would not have been the same if she had not kept an open mind.
- Always carry a book with you. One of the reasons that Rory was so well-read was that she always carried a book with her. Reading expands your knowledge about the world and helps you to understand a wide variety of cultural and literary references. There are so many times in the day when you find yourself with a spare few minutes that you probably waste playing Candy Crush (been there, done that). If you made a habit of carrying a book with you (a physical book or even an e-book or audio book on your phone or tablet), think about how you could be spending those extra minutes in a more productive way. You may not want to carry a book to a school dance like Rory did on a date with Dean, but the idea is potentially life-changing.
- Coffee is love, coffee is life. Coffee was the lifeblood of Lorelei’s energy. How can you be expected to be a fast-talking, witty superwoman without adequate caffeine?
- Smart girls rule the world. One thing that was so great about Gilmore Girls is the way it portrayed the female characters as being powerful because they were smart. Sure, Emily was a housewife, but she was also a smart woman who was never shown as being inferior to Richard. Lorelei may have had a certain amount of charisma that came with her looks, but all of her success boiled down to her intelligence. There were girls at Chilton who were pretty and not as smart, but Rory and Paris ruled over them because they were the smartest students in the class. Today we may talk about shows like Big Bang Theory making it cool to be smart, but Gilmore Girls was ahead of the curve when it came to realizing that smart is sexy.
- Be confident about your quirks. Lorelei is a very quirky woman, but she is always unabashedly herself. Flashbacks to high school show that even as a teenager, Lorelei realized conformity was not her style. She knows who she is and does not let the outside pressure of her family or any relationship turn her into someone she is not. We could all use more of that self-confidence and self-assurance in our lives.
- Live in the moment. Appreciate today for what it is and don’t get lost in planning for tomorrow. Some people call that carpe diem, other will call it yolo. Gilmore Girls taught us about in omnia paratus, or ready in all things. In omnia paratus is the motto of the life and death brigade. While I am not sure I would jump off a cliff holding an umbrella, I try to live my life following the principle that I am always prepared for the unexpected opportunity. Live your life prepared to say yes to new experiences as they come your way.
- Life is short, talk fast. One of the things that make Lorelei and Rory’s relationship so entertaining is their fast-paced bants. I’m not saying that you literally need to talk as fast as Lorelei (though I wish some southerners would at least try), but say the things that you need to say. You never know whether you will get another chance tomorrow or how circumstances can change. So, make sure you say all the words that need to be said every day. Don’t be afraid to say them either.
- Don’t let a man define your life plan. When she found out she was pregnant, Lorelei could have easily married Christopher and lived an entirely different life. Rory could have easily stayed in Stars Hollow with Dean. Those decisions, however, would have resulted in a very different and less adventurous Gilmore Girls. Society still has this notion that women should be defined by men. As a woman, society expects us to focus on finding a man, taking his name, and having children with him. I’m not saying those are not important things or that there is something wrong with wanting a family. Women, however, should not feel like that goal needs to be a priority at 18 or 20 or even 24. Your life should be defined by your personal strengths, dreams, and desires. Find a man and build a family that fits into that plan. Don’t try to make your beliefs and dreams fit into a mold that someone else made for you.