The Secret to Happiness I Learned from Rewatching Gilmore Girls

Last fall, I finally jumped on the Gilmore Girls train and was quickly, well… Gilmored. I, like many, became completely wrapped up in the warmth of the Stars Hollow community and the intricate relationships it held. I finished all seven seasons just days before the revival, and after getting to those final four words (don’t even get me started), I didn’t know what to do with myself. I decided to rewatch it. All of it. (I’m still working on it.)

There are not many shows that can be rewatched in the way that Gilmore Girls can, and to be honest, I have never been much of a television-watcher to begin with, so this says a lot. While Gilmore Girls has a such a comforting innocence and simplicity to it, the characters have such depth - both written and unwritten - that can be continuously rediscovered, time and time again. The show never gets old, which is why it continues to resonate with generation after generation, even after more than 15 years since its Warner Brothers premiere, and can resonate with the same person multiple times. On the surface, it seems like just a cute show, but the more you think about it, the more there is to think about.

Everyone always talks about the Gilmores’ fast-paced quirkiness. It is common knowledge that the mother and daughter best friends are chatty, fun-loving and complex. However, what I noticed while rewatching the show is exactly why Lorelai and Rory always seem to have such brightness in their lives, even when faced with hardship.

They turn little things into BIG things.

Whether they are stocking up on fast food for a movie night at home, attending a town meeting, joking around with loved ones, drinking coffee, you name it...the Gilmore girls know how to truly live. They are present in each moment and they find some way to make it memorable. While on the outside, they may appear excessive and eccentric (in the most charming way possible), there is something to be said for their lifestyle.

Neither Lorelai nor Rory has had an easy past, with early life shaped by a teen pregnancy that resulted in family estrangement and having to enter adulthood early; however, neither one of them uses their circumstances as a crutch. So many situations could be used as a means of falling into a victim mentality - the difficulties of single parenting, Rory growing up without a father presence, being emotionally damaged by Emily and Richard’s words, etc. - but rather than doing so, the Gilmore girls rise above and enjoy what they do have, while constantly striving for more. Lorelai works her way up to manager of the Independence Inn, where she started out as a 16-year-old maid, and eventually owns an inn of her own, all while being an incredible full-time mom. Rory develops an unparalleled work ethic and love of learning that leads her to a prestegious private school (and eventually Ivy League) education, which she achieved despite all odds, and with very little academic assistance. They hold very high standards for themselves. 

The Gilmores obviously have the determination and stamina to achieve whatever they set their minds to, but that isn’t all. While they keep their eyes on the prize, regardless of where they are in life, they do so as well-rounded humans with an excellent sense of humor who are able to balance the desire for things to be better with the appreciation for how things are. The Gilmore mindset revolves around love: love of each other, love of their community, love of tradition and love of life. I think if everyone turned day-to-day life into an exciting adventure the way the Gilmore girls do, we would all be so much happier.

As I watch Gilmore Girls for the second time, I continue to reflect on what it is that is so special about this town and these two women. It is more clear to me that this simple truth lies in the heart of it: They make the most out of life. It is as simple as that. Though the Gilmore girls face drama, they are not their drama. Rather, they are the result of the effort they put into their happiness.

Sometimes, finding the simple joys in life isn't all that simple, and it is clear that the Gilmore gIrls are intentional and forward in their desires to make the most out of each moment. This is why Lorelai and Rory sometimes appear to be bouncing off the walls, while somehow balancing their energy and wit with authenticity and groundedness; all of these qualities are centered around a desire to live honestly and happily, a lifestyle they both work to manifest daily. 

Next time you walk out the door, be in control of the day, rather than let the day control you. If you are bored, order in some Chinese food and treat yourself, just because. If you are sad, by all means, wallow, but wallow in style. And if it is snowing, by all means, go outside and embrace it, because it's magical, according to Lorelai. In short, channel your inner Gilmore, and handle every situation that you face with a smile on your face and coffee in hand. As Lorelai once said:  “Everybody screws up. That’s what happens. It’s what you do with the screw ups; it’s how you handle the experience…That’s what you should judge yourself by.”