Rachel Paige
April 05, 2015 6:00 am

Dear Margaret “Peggy” Olson,

It feels like just yesterday we met. In truth, it could have been just yesterday considering I can relive that day again and again thanks to my Mad Men season one DVDs. You were a bright-eyed new secretary at advertising agency Sterling Cooper, and I was a viewer at home, excited to witness your first day. You made some mistakes, and you apologized for them. You tried to figure out your new office environment, and realized you might be in over your head. Regardless, you were ready to handle everything thrown your way, and boy, did those challenges come hard and fast.

Now, after seven seasons together, Peggy, it’s almost time to say goodbye. In truth, I really don’t want to. It pains me to think about a post-Mad Men world, because in the end I just want to make sure you’re OK, OK? I mean, you’ve proven again and again that nothing scares you, so I feel confident that you’re going to handle the 1970s (and 1980s, and so on) like a pro. But before it’s really time to say goodbye, I’ve got to tell you how much you mean to me.

You see, Peggy, even though we’re in two totally different decades, you’ve helped me out so much. Yes, Mad Men‘s always been a period piece chock full of ’60s flair, but everything that you were going through resonated deeply with me today. You weren’t sure if you were making the right decisions at work. You weren’t sure if you should take the next step with your boyfriend. You weren’t sure if you should leave the workplace you had called home for so long and go out on a new adventure. These are all things I’ve had to deal with before, and will probably have to deal with again. They’re major life stepping stones, but you handled all of them with poise, grace, and a terrific head on your shoulders. (Let’s not talk about the time you stabbed your boyfriend with a trident. It was an accident!)

Your victories, both big and little, at Sterling Cooper/Sterling Cooper Draper Price/Cutler, Gleason and Chaough/Sterling Cooper and Partners were all my victories, too. I was always rooting for you, and you never let me down (except that trident thing). On top of that, you never compromised what it means to be you. You’ve done everything your own way, and even though you’ve had your fair share of setbacks and blunders, its only made you stronger, both personally and professionally. You go, girl.

Also, let’s talk about guys for a second. Never once was I like, “Oh gee, Peggy, I hope you get a boyfriend!” No, I was more like, “I HOPE YOU GET THAT PROMOTION YOU TOTALLY DESERVE, PEGGY.” You always refused to let yourself be defined by others, especially partners. You knew your worth, even when others didn’t. Some of the jerk guys in the office would knock you down a few pegs, and you’d get right back up again. Now, you’ve done laps around everyone else in the office with your brilliance. I’d ask you share your secrets to success, but I can just go back and watch seasons one through seven-A and figure it out. Your rise to power plays out beautifully. I basically want to be you when I grow up.

Mad Men has always been about the turmoil of Don Draper, but it’s also been about you, Peggy. It’s been about your ascent from the bottom of the totem pole to the very top—as someone who is respected and valued by others. You’re just as much of a leader as Don, if not more so. Don Draper, I love you, but your life is a total mess right now. Know who’s got it all together? Peggy. You, Peggy, might have started with nothing, but now you’ve arrived.

I could go on and on, but I know you’ve probably got work to do. I just really want to say thanks for everything. Thanks for always being you. May the end of the ’60s and the start of a new decade bring you so much more happiness and success. I’m always cheering for you.

xoxo Rachel

Images via here, here and here.

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