By Nanette Wiser
From Golden to Gilmore Girls, the heartwarming TV tales of surviving physical, mental, emotional and spiritual upheavals resonate with me. Laughter and friendship, love and compassion seem to solve those pesky personal and professional issues. You know the ones: burnout, stress, health issues, rocky romances, betrayal, family kookiness, body-image, loss of confidence and more.
So I got to thinking, what would these gutsy gals do if they were juggling work and school at home, social isolation, health concerns and all the delicacies served up by the COVID-19 health buffet? Here’s a few sitcom lessons I plan to incorporate into my monthly “positivity” regime.
Healing Over A Shared Meal: The Golden Girls survived dating the same man, surviving a hurricane and heart attack while ending up in the kitchen eating a home-baked cake. And the Gilmore Girls could solve every dilemma over burger, pancakes and bacon at Luke’s Diner. My solution: Call up a friend on Zoom, make dinner together (usually the same recipe) and share wine and catch up on conversation.
With A Fight, Comes Forgiveness: So your spouse is annoying. Your son doesn’t hang his clothes up. Your best friend cancels your beloved morning walk and talk. And the dog isn’t helping your mood with the slobbering on your keyboard at the dining room table. Get over it, but make sure to communicate clearly and calmly first. Rory and Lorelai Gilmore knew the importance of apologizing as well as standing their ground on tough issues, from meddling grandparents to sex with boyfriend. Not a single Golden Girls episode bears a grudge beyond the half-hour. And it’s not just the girls. Frasier, Niles and his father fought like mad dogs, but in the end, family came first always.
Live Your Life, Don’t Covet Others: Facebookand Instagram generate FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), from concerts to Bali vacays. Practice JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) by carving out time for fun during the day, from Zumba with You Tube or a picnic with a good eye-candy read. Golden Girl Blanche is sad because she can’t compete with the younger version of herself, and Rose is always happy despite what cloud rains on the GGirl parade…and armed with a funny story about a goat and life in her small Scandinavian-American town. Be grateful, be mindful and decide what’s important to you, not others. Then go get it.
Connect In Big & Little Ways: The Gilmore Girls said please and thank you to friends and strangers, took on community responsibilities for festivals and fundraisers while The Golden Girls indulged in volunteer work at hospitals, senior centers and even strutting the runway in a bachelorette bid for charity. Making someone feel welcome, even a former enemy like Paris, eventually turned into a hilarious friendship for Rory. For the Golden Girls, a chance encounter with a train full of clowns and circus folks turns mayhem into magic. It’s the little gestures and kind words that can change someone’s day…and yours.
Opposites Do Attract: Going beyond the GG Girls, I look to the women of Cheers and the Mary Tyler Moore Show, where the pretty, good girls (Diane, Mary) and the outrageous outspoken girls (Carla, Rhoda) learn from their acquaintance/frenemy and lean on them as well, becoming forever friends in the end. You don’t have to share the same politics or point of view to discover a new friend and expand yourself.
Take An Awe Walk: According to the University of San Francisco, even a 15 minute walk per week in nature can improve emotional and cognitive function. In a Year in the Life of the Gilmore Girls, Lorelei sets off to hike a trail and find herself, but it’s a stroll past a gas station to a meadow and mountain view that clears her head so she can marry Luke. Pass on the Pacific Trail and make exploring local parks and preserves your mindful mission.