#ROW80 check-ins, personal journeys

3 Life Lessons from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. On the surface, it might seem like an action-packed show solely meant for entertainment. But it’s so much more than that. I believe that this show contains valuable lessons for our lives. Here are a few. Feel free to add your own in the comments section.

1.) Never judge a book by its cover.

Joss Whedon is great at taking stereotypes and upending them. A cheerleader can be a vampire slayer. A vampire can have a soul. Buffy was as far from the flaky cheerleader stereotype as one could get—street-smart, clever, and kick-ass, she was a girl no vampire should want to tangle with.

Or take Cordelia, the head cheerleader slash “mean girl.” She ends up falling for Xander and playing a role in Buffy’s vampire-fighting gang—even if she never quite loses the urge to make snarky comments about everyone else’s wardrobe.

Everyone is complex. People can be strong and vulnerable, smart but naïve, silly but serious—we’re each many, many qualities rolled into one person. And Whedon’s work reminds us of that.

2.) “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.” –Buffy

Have truer words ever been spoken? The world can be a scary place. Sometimes, even on the most peaceful of days, violence can break through and upend our lives. Uncertainty lies under every step we take.

But so does beauty. As I type this, I have a view of the deep-pink blush of buds on the maple tree outside my window. Maybe today I’ll spot a deer in the small stretch of woods behind my apartment. We can take pleasure in these simple things—a cup of tea, a deer pausing in mid-step, the pages of a much-loved book.

Yet we also have to challenge ourselves. Because Buffy was right. To live in this world requires bravery. We have to try things that scare us—even if what scares us is something that never makes the news. Maybe we want to go skydiving or bungee jumping—or maybe we simply want to try our hand at a new career or tackle an overwhelming project.

I remember the day that I told my boss I was leaving my job in university publications in order to write full-time. A voice inside told me it was silly to leave a job I liked to pursue writing. But I knew if I didn’t, Old Denise would regret it. I would regret the stories I’d never told, the characters I hadn’t meant, the road I hadn’t taken. So I took the plunge. It was a hard decision, but I’m glad I made it.

Was there ever something in your life that scared you but you knew you had to do it anyway? Have you ever moved toward something that frightened you?

3.) We all fight our own battles—but it helps to have back-up.

Buffy may have been the Chosen One, but that didn’t mean her ragtag group of friends didn’t have something to contribute. Giles supplied the wisdom and book-learning; Willow supplied the tech skills and later, the magic; Xander supplied the much-needed comic relief. We all have a role to play, and none of those roles is meaningless. We might not be fighting vampires or saving the world on a daily basis, but we can all help our friends, our family, and our community.

Are you a Buffy fan? If so, what lessons do you take away from this show? What is your favorite TV show, and what has it taught you about living in this world?

Lastly, a midweek ROW80 check-in…

ROW80Logocopy1.) Writing: Wrote 2,165 words in a short story. I’ve put revising on hold for the moment to do some work on this  new short story/novelette, so this goal is slightly revised. Instead of revising two WIPs, I’m going to finish this new one, then dig into revisions on the WIP I finished last round.

2.) Reading to hone my craft: Haven’t read any writing books this week, but I plan to start reading a new book later today. One of four writing books read for this round so far.

3.) Social media: Checked in on Twitter on Tuesday, but took Monday off to spend the day with hubby. Commented on 5 blog posts on Tuesday, none on Monday. On track with my blogging for this week.

What about you? What life lessons have you learned from your favorite TV shows? And how are your goals, writing or otherwise, coming along?

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. It’s also a blog hop!

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