The underappreciated wisdom of Hannah Horvath
For the most part I think we can all agree that Girls‘ Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham’s alter-ego) doesn’t always think her decisions all the way through. Despite her best intentions many of her life choices have her second guessing or torturing herself for episodes on end, but that’s not to say that the decisions she makes are not wise or without merit. I hold the opinion that Hannah Horvath is actually kind of brilliant. Sure, she is often sloppy, thinks without speaking, and generally does not consider the feelings of anyone but herself and yet I find all of this quite endearing.
When it comes to life lessons it would be terribly easy to break down all of the things Hannah does wrong and how we can learn from them, but would you believe me if I said she has actually done a number of things right and those are the lessons that deserve to be shouted from a rooftop? It’s true! Just see for yourself.
Wear what you want, when you want
How many times have we seen Hannah rock a frock that is either too small, too tight or past its prime? If you answered always you are pretty much correct, but who cares?! Hannah Horvath wears what she wants, when she wants and she isn’t afraid of what anyone else might think or say. Like that time she wore the lizard belly top like a champ and tried to bust it out again in season four. In all these instances and more, Hannah owns her body and carries the confidence to wear the things she likes and on top of that she is more than willing to take the criticism of others knowing it bothers them far more than it will ever bother her. You are always going to receive unsolicited advice so you might as well enjoy what you’re wearing when it happens.
Even if you push your parents as far you can — they will STILL be there for you
It kind of goes without saying, but look at it from Hannah’s angle. She pushed her parents for money, whined and complained about every small detail of her life, ignored them when they wanted discuss something important and ridiculed their decisions and way of living. Although her mom was wise to her games, her father remained a softy even during that time he wanted to tell her about a small operation he was preparing to have and all she could do was talk about her book deal. Despite her parents opposing sides, both of them never let her fall and if she does, they’re still always there to catch her. The remind us all that even though you sometimes forget how much you need them, your parents will always have your back.
You really can just say “no” to the stuff you hate
Remember that episode in season three when Adam tries to convince Hannah that a scenic walk in the woods will bestow upon her some grand adventure she has been craving and Hannah responds with an immediate “I hate this!” — been there. She continues to explain how it’s very liberating to just say “no” to the stuff you hate and personally, I think this is the best advice Ms. Horvath has ever mustered. Think about it, you spend your entire childhood being told what to do and when, so why can’t you enjoy one of the few highlights of adulthood by choosing to just say “no” to the things you really do not want to do. It’s totally freeing and really is that simple.
Surviving on very little financially is possible, so long as you can laugh.
Season one was brutal for Hannah as far as surviving life in the big city. After prematurely leaving her internship, Hannah calculated that she would only able to last in New York for three and a half days or maybe seven if she didn’t eat lunch. It sounded sad at first, but the humor in that statement is what kept her going and ultimately led her from one bad job to another before finally being able to stand on her own two feet by the end of season three. She may not be the poster child for sustainable living, but regardless of her financial roadblocks, she will always finds a way to make light of the situation and persevere — at any cost.
You need your girlfriends way more than you realize
It’s no secret that Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, and Shoshanna have the most complicated and dysfunctional friendship in television history—and yet somehow they manage to get through each season without killing each other. They all have their faults, but Hannah certainly wins the award for the toughest friend to handle on more than one occasion. Regardless of who did what and when, Hannah will hold a grudge for about five minutes before realizing she really needs to talk out her problems with Marnie, search for the meaning of her choices with Jessa, or look for a voice of reason in Shosh. She always thinks she has a tight grip on things until one of the girls tells her otherwise and even though she attacks them for having an opinion, she ultimately comes back down to earth when she realizes that true friends know when to be honest and when to stay mum.
Never — and I mean never — make a decision based on a guy
In saving the best for last I thought it made perfect sense to say the thing that most viewers are afraid to claim out loud. Hannah did the right thing in leaving Adam behind in New York for Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Of course she hated Iowa, lost her spirit to write, and came home to an apartment that was taken over by Adam and his new girlfriend — but I still stand behind her decision. It was a tough call to make, considering Hannah and Adam were living together in a long-term relationship when she decided to just up and leave to another state for a prolonged period of time. She allowed her excitement to lead her decision and even though she considered his feelings for a minute, Hannah recognized the fact that opportunities don’t often come around twice and while you are young you need to grab the chances you are given and try them out—even if it leads to disappointment. I’m not saying she announced her plans to Adam in the best way or at the best time, but she did what she wanted to do on her own terms and didn’t allow someone else, specifically a partner, to make the decision exclusively for her. That’s a brave move, and you have to give the girl credit for following her heart—regardless of the meandering places it seems to take her.