A few years ago, I binge-watched all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls in less than a month… While I had watched the series before, I felt like I needed to relive all the fun (a refresher which came in handy once the show’s revival kicked in back in 2016). It’s worth noting I was still in high school when the series first aired, blissfully unaware of anything related to work and still very romantic about life, relationships and everything in between.

But in 2014, Gilmore Girls somehow seemed different. Sure, Lorelai still made me laugh, the town of Stars Hollow was as bonkers as I recalled it to be and Luke was just as hot. There was only one problem. Suddenly, I felt jealous of Rory. Not because she always attracted good-looking guys – although I’ll admit 14-year-old me was drooling over Logan; not because she had read all those books by the time she was 16 and was still going strong – which, let’s be honest, is not very realistic; but mostly because she had done so unbelievably well when it came to her studies and career.

I mean, think about it. How could she balance a very strong relationship with her mother (including their endless breakfasts, lunches and coffees at Luke’s), an unbreakable bond with her best friend, a – usually – healthy relationship with her boyfriend and loads of personal free time to watch TV, read books or study for finals? Obviously, there were times when she struggled and had her meltdowns and her grades were not phenomenal. Still, she always managed to get it right.

Being a journalist myself, I couldn’t help but admire – and envy – Rory’s career path. During my binge-watching, I found myself fantasizing about newspapers and magazines and all the things I wanted to write about after my Master’s. But while Rory got into Yale, wrote for the university’s newspaper and went on to work on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, my future looked much less promising. Hundreds of rejection letters, several short internships and a great number of unpaid stories later, I was convinced that being an educated, confident writer who never gives up will hardly help me get to where I need to be.

Then again, fictional characters are supposed to be icons, even when they momentarily appear to screw up. Like that time Rory was living in her grandparents’ house, having given up on her dreams. Her ‘temporary sanctuary’ was a mansion, one she would return to every time she felt lost. My ‘mansion’ was my parents’ house in Greece, to which I begrudgingly
returned when all hell broke loose in London.

In real life, your grandma isn’t always there to pick up the pieces, and sometimes you find yourself trying extremely hard and still failing no matter what. The truth is no one will offer you a reporting job for a presidential campaign the minute you get out of college and chances are you won’t land your first paid writing gig until months or, in some cases, years after college. However, if you believe in yourself enough to keep falling and getting back up, you might find that hard work does pay off.

Four years later and I’m still nowhere near Rory’s accomplishments. But I have done pretty well for myself and I wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, even Rory was an absolute mess on the Gilmore Girls revival – by then, I’m sure she was exhausted of being perfect all the time. 

If there is a recipe for success, I haven’t found it yet. What I do know is we can all mix our own ingredients the best way we can and see where life takes us next.