You know what life isn’t?
Perhaps I should have planned for this article somewhat later, after I had time to digest the passing of a wonderful nine-year series. But in my first reflections, both nostalgic and happy and melancholic and puzzled, I can argue to the best of my ability one thing for certain: season nine, implicitly, prepared us for the series finale.
Because season nine prepared us for the moment. And to live in the moment. And not to follow Ted and his tragic-hero mantra of what-if’s. Because if Ted had spent the season asking, what-if? If the wedding hadn’t happened, and if we as an audience hadn’t been forced to sit and examine the nitty-gritty details of one moment, one weekend, in time, we too would have constantly thought about the future. If How I Met Your Mother tried to show its viewers anything, it was to live in the present, and not to spend it thinking about the future.
In doing so, you can better tackle the future objectively and unabashedly when it comes. When it is time.
Barney showed us successes can still be finite and successful.
Robin taught us not to budge from the truth.
Lily told us to be here—here—for the big moments.
Marshall demonstrated the power of patience.
And Ted, the power of the present.
Really, all those lessons combined into the LAST moment, the last ten minutes for anyone who counted, when Ted finished his story, said goodbye, and picked up the phone. All those lessons culminated into the story’s finale. Ted’s success happened to be finite, but he went for it anyway. He stayed for the big moments, and kept creating bigger ones. He was patient, he was now, and, in the end, he got what he wanted next.
Yes, I could critique parts of the episode, its ending, or the series’ ending. But how poignant is the message of our disquiet? Shouldn’t the unsettling teach us something as well?
Because life isn’t television; life isn’t perfect. How I Met Your Mother knew this from the start and gave us a finale to reflect only the real.