Doctor Who, the show about the time-travelling alien with two hearts and a big, blue box captured my heart back in 1995. Since then, I’ve followed each adventure, remembered every face, and came to embrace each regeneration. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot about people and life. Here are just five of the many lessons I learned from the Doctor.
Doctor Who is all about people. Companions, friends, even enemies, they are all people with their own goals, feelings and emotions. The relationships between characters are at the centre of everything, just like in the real world.
Not everyone is the same. People can be good, bad, friends or enemies but, despite this, these relationships are important. They shape you, and they matter. Take, for instance, the relationship between the Doctor and the Master. It is one of the most complex relationships on the show. The two childhood friends are now enemies, but there is always a sense of respect between them. Friendships may end, but the memories of your past adventures together never disappear.
Never Give Up
There is one idea that remains constant in Doctor Who, no matter the subject, theme or location. That idea is hope, the light at the end of the tunnel. Even when faced with insurmountable odds, there’s always a glimmer of hope and happiness.
The Time War, an impossible situation without any correct answer, is the best examples of this. With no clear path to take and danger looming on all sides, the Doctor never loses hope that things will work out. This has translated into my own life a thousand times over. When faced with a problem, I don’t give up or give in and hope for the best. I carry on. I might not succeed in the end, but at least I tried, right? Never give up, and you will succeed or — at the very least — be proud that you tried.
Life goes on, and things happen. People enter our lives and then leave, a major theme of Doctor Who that resembles real life pretty darn well. Just look at the Doctor’s companions. They join the Doctor for many adventures but, eventually, their time on the TARDIS comes to an end.
In the real world, we make friends and then that friendship ends. You have a great job, and then it becomes redundant. One minute a family member is there in front of you, the next, they’re not. Be prepared for things to happen in life that you might not always enjoy or agree with. Yes, it can be hard — possibly one of the hardest things you will ever face in your life. But you won’t enjoy the time you have now unless you come to terms with it. In the end, yes, we miss people but time does heal wounds.
Will You Help Me?
“Will you help me?” is the phrase at the heart of each episode of Doctor Who. Sure, the show is also about epic adventures and fearsome battles, but they all begin with those four words. Every single episode has a character in need of help; sometimes it’s even the Doctor him (her?) self.
Remember “Night Terrors“? That episode brought the Doctor to Earth by the sheer power of a little boy’s cry for help. Now, I wouldn’t say I never helped people before I watched the show, but it opened my eyes to just how much I could help people. Even small acts, like giving directions or donating to charities, can have a huge impact on others’ lives.
“Change my dear, and not a moment too soon.” – 6th Doctor
Change is the gear that’s kept the show going for over 50 years. When it comes to Doctor Who, change is everywhere — in themes, faces, companions, and behind-the-scenes. Regeneration is the most obvious example of this. The show manages to keep the title character the same while completely changing them. It isn’t just about switching actors; each Doctor is different from the last.
Doctor Who embraces change, a natural part of our daily lives. Our jobs, homes, friends, memories and emotions can all change in a moment. Sudden or unexpected changes can be difficult to embrace. In my experience, meeting change head on and playing the hand I was dealt has been much easier after watching Doctor Who. Change can actually be a good thing.
The univer-, sorry, the Whoniverse is full of lessons you can take away and explore. From coping with the real world to understanding the next chapters of your life, it’s a fantastic show with messages that fans of all ages can understand.
Those were my five life lessons, what are yours?