13 Things I Learned About Life From Lorelai Gilmore

Every Thursday night from middle school through high school, I watched Gilmore Girls. Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel are who I grew up with, and I feel like I was part of that mother-daughter powerhouse. Although sometimes completely unrealistic (what TV show isn’t?), I am grateful to Lorelai Gilmore for giving me wisdom beyond her years. She was feisty, tireless, original, and hilarious. There’s something about that opening music and the quirky snippets of Stars Hollow that makes me welcome a sick day when I can rewatch a season or three. I don’t think I’d be quite the same gal if I hadn’t had Rory and Lorelai’s stories in my formative years. Here’s what Lorelai taught me (and maybe taught you, too).

1. What we do isn’t as important as who we do it with.

How many times did Lorelai and Rory shop downtown in Stars Hollow? Hundreds. Did they ever get bored and complain about their limited selection? Of course not. Because they were together!

2. Coffee is essential.

Most episodes illustrate Lorelai’s inability to function without coffee. I was too young when I started to watching to understand just how right she was. Caffeine also probably had a lot to do with Rory’s success and both of their lightning metabolisms.

3. T-shirts can be dressed up.

How many times does Lorelai wear a Bangles t-shirt or something like it under a blazer with a pencil skirt and heels? Lauren Graham is gorgeous so I am sure that helps, but she was way ahead of the curve. It was a pinch of her personality mixed in with business dress. She ran the Dragonfly AND looked kickass.

4. Junk food is delicious.

Pop tarts. Pizza. Cereal. Ramen. Was there anything the Gilmore Girls DIDN’T eat? Granted, their slim physiques would call bullshit on them actually subsisting on such food, but to a certain extent, it was a great middle finger to the media world proclaiming ‘girls need to eat celery’ and it stuck with me as a young girl. They were busy, smart, driven, and if they wanted pancakes at Luke’s, by god, they got pancakes. Power!

5. Mother-daughter relationships are all different, always changing, but never beyond saving.

Lorelai and Rory are the best possible relationship, but go through their share of spats. Lorelai and Emily are arguably the worst possible, but also have their redemptive moments with each other. Women will always have complex relationships with their mothers, for good and bad, but it is never too late to say “I’m sorry” or “I love you.” Emily can be a total monster, but Lorelai can, too.

6. Love who you love, and disregard socio-economic status.

Luke owns/runs a diner. Dean ended up a construction worker. Logan came from a rich family. Jess was a wanderer. Christopher’s career went up and down. Richard Gilmore could be quite an ass. None of this mattered in the story, because the Gilmore Girls followed their hearts, which I love.

7. Do what you need to do for YOU.

Lorelai and Rory both did this time and time again. Lorelai ran away from home with her daughter and worked in an inn. It became her career and her life. Rory chased her dreams of being a journalist. Their goals for themselves mattered. THAT is a positive message for young girls.

8. There is no “right” path for women.

Sookie got married and had babies. So did Lane. Lorelai had a baby, got married, got divorced, and got married again. And engaged somewhere in there. Rory joined Obama’s campaign and went to Yale. There are so many paths, and none of them are what we “should” do. (Yes, I am aware that 7 and 8 are similar- but I think by #8 I really mean that Gilmore Girls showed that women have choices; traditional or no. Some career women’s best friends take a traditional route, and that is great, too.)

9. Be part of your community.

Stars Hollow would never have been the same without the participation of the Gilmore Girls in almost every event and celebration. Even when it was cheesy, they made the best of it and had a blast. Talk about sucking it up, taking off your cool cap (did the Gilmore Girls even have those at all?) and smiling pretty.

10. Life is better with humor and sarcasm.

I once had a friend complain that Gilmore Girls was too witty to be real life. I disagree. Witty banter reminds us that yes, life can be trying, but we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously. Make light of the situations that you can, and go for laughter whenever possible.

11. Our mother’s last name is important.

Lorelai named her daughter Rory GILMORE. Rory is her daughter, and her last name reflects her mother’s lineage. Our mothers’ family names are ours as well, and they deserve to be owned and kept. After all, the show is called GILMORE Girls, not Hayden and Gilmore girls. Rory’s dad is a flake, but even if he wasn’t, Lorelai is usually both mother and father to Rory. Without overstating it, I love that Rory has her mother’s last name.

12. Our first love isn’t necessarily who we are meant to be with.

As SEXY as Jared Padalecki is, Dean wasn’t Rory’s ‘true love,’ and neither was Jess. Even with seemingly-perfect Logan, Rory didn’t choose any relationship over her own goals for herself. Lorelai loved Christopher, but she knew herself well enough to know that he wasn’t it for her. Though both Gilmore Girls struggle with letting go of their first loves, they ultimately choose themselves and their healthy relationships over any false ideas of whom or what their futures hold. They don’t settle.

13. Moms are awesome.

If Lorelai taught me anything, it’s that moms are so cool and often times, they turn out to be our best friends. My mom is pretty kickass, and hopefully if I ever decide to take on that role, I will remember Lorelai’s cut-off-short-wearing, pop-tart-eating, fearless ways and that I do not shed all traces of my fantastic self just because I became a mom. My mom is a beast, and she inspires me constantly.

So if you’re out on the road, feeling lonely and so cold, all you have to do is call their names and they’ll be there, on the Netflix. Where you lead, I will follow- anywhere that you tell me to. Thanks Lorelai. You’ve still got it. TC mark

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