Gilmore Girls debuted in the fall of 2000 and I was hooked. Along with the storylines, quick dialogue, and snappy cultural references, I was fascinated with their New England town. Stars Hollow is one of the principal characters of the show; a small town with an open mind, populated by unusual people, and filled with unique cultural opportunities. Stars Hollow is also a haven, source of strength, and a place for self-discovery.
I desperately wanted to live there but I didn’t know how.
When my kids were young, we moved a lot.My eighteen year old has lived in ten houses in five towns in two states. Somewhere around the fifth move, I stopped to analyze my deep love of Stars Hollow and it’s elusiveness in my life. What was I missing? It was years (and several moves) later when I discovered that I do live in Stars Hollow. More than a place on a map, my arrival in Stars Hollow was also about my heart. I find myself here not only because I live in a small town with many of the physical attributes of Stars Hollow (and a parade, festival, art show, recital, or concert every month of the year), but because I welcome my community to play a role in my life and I look for opportunities to return the favor. My town has become the place where I have hit my stride personally and professionally. It’s where I feel safe. It is home.
Here are four signs that I live in Stars Hollow. Maybe you do too.
I know their stories and they know mine.
Everyone has a story about how you got here, why you stayed here, what draws you in, inspires you, and motivates you. I love taking the time to listen to the stories of my customers, city officials, swim team parents, favorite boutique owners and have those shared stories transform us into friends. Knowing their connections to each other and to me gives me a sense of security for my family.
My community has a starring role.
Middle schooler not having a good day? Chances are, someone who loves her already knows and has offered her a shoulder/ear/quiet room. They may or may not let me know and I have to be okay with that. My kids need advocates beyond their parents. Having faith that my community has our backs means we aren’t alone. It also allows me the chance to be that shoulder/ear/quiet room for someone else. Community participation is deeper than showing up for parades and free hot dogs (but those are fun). It means diving in deep, getting messy, and loving beyond my circle.
I get so I give.
I have safety nets provided by my community and I participate in kind. There is also a financial cost for this lifestyle, such as donating to school drives, the Chamber, or the Y. If I can shop local, I do because not only is that business a major part of my lifestyle, but the business owners are too.
I have a gazebo and a Luke’s.
Yes, we have actual gazebos in our parks and I can name several restaurants in town where we are greeted by name, and the coffee shop knows my favorite drink. While real life has no fade-to-black-through-the-restaurant-window-while-the-snow-falls moments, we do have places within our town where the four of us can connect to each other. We have places where we celebrate good grade cards, nurse bad days, and where life slows down.
Whether it was this place that gave me contentment, my age, or life experiences, I don’t know. But I find peace and joy on every level within my community. I am so thankful to have arrived in Stars Hollow at last.