For the past few years, I have been watching Gilmore Girls on loop. I start at the beginning—an innocent Rory, and her plucky mother, Lorelai—and watch all the way through. Once the infamous last four words of the Netflix special have been spoken, I start all over again. Sure the Gilmore Girls are full of quotable one-liners that ooze wit and guidance: “Only prostitutes have two glasses of wine at lunch.” But if you look closely (or repeatedly like I have) deeper, truer life lessons become apparent.
When Someone Tells You Who They Are, Believe Them
There are many ways people let you know who they are. But actions are my favorite. A young Rory falls for the rebellious Jess and is then dismayed when he treats her poorly, unlike the ever dependable Dean. While we occasionally see Jess being somewhat sweet, he is also unreliable and volatile. It only makes sense that since this is the type of person he is, it’s also the type of boyfriend he would be.
Believe people when they show you who they are through their actions (for better or worse) and accept them the way they are. Trying to change someone is futile and will only leave you both frustrated, like what happened when Jess tried to get physical with Rory in Kyle’s bedroom before she was ready. Knowing what behavior you can accept is important too.
Know When to Compromise
After Lorelai’s hasty nuptials to her baby daddy, Chris, Emily points out: “Marriage is not about always being happy, and often it’s about not being happy at all. It’s about compromise.” That statement is true of life in general. Yes, you could plant your feet and refuse to give in (like Lorelai does in many of her relationships). But sometimes it’s more important to find a resolution and move on than to be right.
Compromise is the best way forward in a conflict. That being said, knowing what your deal breakers are is just as crucial. In romance, as well as in your career, pick your battles carefully and know what behavior is non-negotiable. This means you also need to be able to walk away if and when those deal breakers come up.
Timing Is Everything
Over the years, Lorelai struggles to keep her love life afloat. Her relationship with Chris suffers from chronic bad timing, as does the much-anticipated relationship with Luke. We watch as Luke pines for years. When he finally has his heart’s desire, his long-lost daughter appears throwing an otherwise intensely committed Luke for a loop. Timing is essential.
When you find that special someone it’s hard to resist going “all in” but keep the bigger picture in mind. Are you in an emotionally stable or healthy place? Are they? Weighing the answers before proceeding will save you from heartache. You might be better off waiting for the right time.
In Life, as in TV Scripts, Money Makes Everything Easier
Wealth and its advantages are a definite theme in Gilmore Girls. However, the few times when Lorelai and Rory are up against real money constraints like paying for Chilton and Yale or saving the house from termites, grandparents Richard and Emily are there to save the day. Even though Lorelai is loath to ask for their help, they are a secure safety net.
In real life, most of us do not have extremely wealthy parents or grandparents to rely on. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take that concept and apply it. By putting money aside from each paycheck, you can be your own safety net. Savings can give you the freedom to explore a new career, move to a different city, and take risks. Savings can mean independence. I am a kayak, hear me roar!
Kindness Goes a Long Way
This is the big one. On multiple occasions, Lorelai and Rory navigate difficult workplace moments. The linen delivery is late, Paris needs to be ousted as editor of the Yale Daily News, Tom the contractor hasn’t been paid, the newspaper is not ready to go to press, etc. These are crises that could easily result in a freak-out, but the Gilmore Girls keep their cool and firmly but gently handle each situation with aplomb.
Instead of laying blame or yelling, they are calm, kind and nice. This is the type of attitude that builds goodwill from co-workers, employees, and fellow students. When your default reaction is kindness, you create an atmosphere where people want to help and support you. So the next time something goes horribly wrong, channel your inner Gilmore Girl and respond with kindness.
While classics like “Oy with the poodles already” and “Copper boom” have endlessly entertained, the deeper themes and lessons of Gilmore Girls are what keep me coming back. So next time you find yourself dealing with life’s challenges look no further than Stars Hollow and its favorite daughters to truly be In Omnia Paratus.