I turned 18 yesterday (May 5th) and I decided I would not partake in the “Lessons I Learned in my First 18 Years of Life” blog epidemic. No offense to anyone that has written that blog post, but it seems a little bit overused. Therefore, I have collected the lessons I learned from my first 18 seasons of How I Met Your Mother. There are only nine seasons in the show but I watch once a year starting last year, totaling in 18 seasons. I will try to avoid spoilers for those who have not seen the show.
ROBIN IS NOT THE MOTHER. ROBIN IS NOT THE MOTHER. ROBIN IS NOT THE MOTHER.
The repetition seemed necessary for this one. In the first episode, Ted says that Robin is not the mother, calling her “Aunt Robin.” However, every time I get someone to watch this show, they text me when the two break up, asking me why they can’t be together. They should have known that it wasn’t going to work out because ROBIN IS NOT THE MOTHER.
This isn’t a lesson that just relates to the show, however, as I constantly see people pursue things that they know isn’t going to work. For example, I often have people tell me how they know that a relationship with a certain individual will not work out and how poorly this individual treats them but I later hear them getting excited about that same person wanting to hang out with them. This isn’t just a relationship problem as people do this with careers and other life decisions. The main lesson is, if you know something isn’t good for you, don’t keep pursuing it. This is especially true if God tells you something isn’t meant to be.
Nothing Good Happens After 2 a.m.
This is an easy lesson to observe in the show (Ted just says it) and an even easier tip to follow in real life. After 2 a.m., nothing good happens. Just go to sleep and make a decision later. There’s not much explaining that needs to be done for this one.
You’re not the Same Person You Used to Be
The characters in the show change in a variety of ways. For example, Lily changes her hair color and the show itself gets a camera upgrade at some point as well. This lesson is really taught as Marshall looks back at who he used to be in what he sees as a museum of Marshalls.
I had an experience similar to Marshall’s yesterday. I looked at various pictures of myself at different ages. Looking back at my past self, I just thought about how I got to where I am today. At seven years old, I didn’t know what it would be like to be 18. I could only imagine what it would be like to drive, what it would be like to be on my way to college, and what it would be like to be an adult. You never know how much you’ll change until it happens but what you do know is that at some point you’ll look back and you won’t be the same person you used to be.
It’s All About the Journey
Before Ted met his wife, he dated around 29 women. If you pay close attention to Ted as he dates various women, he changes. If Ted were to meet his future wife at the beginning of the show and tried to date her, he wouldn’t have married her. They were not ready for each other.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be looking for your future spouse if you’re not already married. I’m saying that you should be aware of the journey. This goes beyond relationships. You should see a loss and as gain because you grow from rejection. You should see the end of a season not as an end but as the opportunity to begin the next season.
Don’t Say Goodbye to the Good Things
Lily gives Ted this lecture towards the end of the show and it’s so important. I’ll try to avoid spoilers with this explanation. Basically, Ted makes a list of things to say goodbye or to have the last experience with before making major life changes. For example, he wants to have a last drink with Barney. Lily explains to him that he shouldn’t say goodbye to the good things.
This lesson has become very real to me as I finish senior year. I’ve often looked to have the last night hanging out with my friends among other things. But as Lily told Ted, don’t say goodbye to the good things, say goodbye to the things you really want to experience for the last time. So with that, I don’t look to have the last night hanging out with my squad, I look to have the first night hanging out with my squad as college students (even if we’re not going to the same college). Don’t say goodbye to the good things because when you come home, the good things will always be there for you.
As I look forward to my next chapter in life, I look to take these lessons with me. I look to keep my eyes and ears open to know if I’m pursuing empty endeavors. I look to make decisions while I’m fully aware of the situation. I look to observe the journey while analyzing the changes that I’ve made in my life. Most importantly, I look to enjoy the good things now and later because there’s no need to say goodbye to something that’ll always be there.