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10 Lessons from 10 Years of Gravity Falls

Op-ed

If you're like me, then Gravity Falls was an essential part of your childhood. The show allowed you to escape from real life a half-hour at a time to a little town in Oregon that was anything but normal. This past June, this childhood classic turned 10 years old. To celebrate, let's look back at 10 lessons from the show!

You're Never Alone As You May Seem

In the first episode, when Dipper Pines found Journal 3, the author warned him to trust no one. This caused him to get a little paranoid until he realized he needed help to save his sister. He let Soos and Wendy in saying he needed to save Mabel from a Zombie, and they offered their support. At the end of the episode, Dipper claims: "This journal told me there was no one in Gravity Falls I could trust. But when you battle a hundred gnomes side-by-side with someone, you realize that they've probably always got your back."

If you're like me, you have a hard time trusting people. But by taking that leap of faith, you may find yourself on a whole new adventure with your found family.

Keep Your Eyes Open

In Gravity Falls, the closer you look, the more you see; the more you see, the more you know. This show is full of clues. If you look away for even a second, you'll miss out on something that matters somewhere down the road.

Real life is much the same. Keep your eyes open, and you never know what you may find. When you look a little closer, you never know what you may find- you may learn something, you may see a simple joy you would have otherwise missed. Either way, you'll never know what you may miss if you don't open your eyes.

Don't Get in Your Own Head- Just Be Yourself

Dipper is obsessed with Wendy. All he wants is for everything involving her to be perfect. This is shown in multiple episodes, though it's most prominent in Time Traveler's Pig and Double Dipper. In Double Dipper, Dipper makes this huge, complex list that he was going to follow step by step so he could manufacture the perfect moment with Wendy. However, the plan keeps going astray and, in the end, the best conversation he had with her was the one where he forgot the list and just spoke.

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You can never plan everything out exactly. Life happens. And you don't need to force conversations and outcomes just to get people to like you. Truthfully, if someone's spending time with you, it's probably because they want to be. So, get out of your head and just go be yourself. Your friends are your friends because there's something about you that they love.

Somethings Are Destined

The prophecy was shown all throughout the series, but it wasn't until Weirdmageddon that we see it come to pass. Somehow, some ancient being or beings knew that this group would be the ones to take down Bill. This moment was meant to happen. Everything they went through this summer led them to this moment because they were supposed to be there. Even though, in the beginning, our favorite Mystery Twins weren't too happy that they had to stay in Gravity Falls.

We may not all have an ancient picture carved into a caved wall, but we all do have those things that we just know are right. While a lot of life is decision-based, and you are responsible for the consequences of your actions, there is something out there for all of us. Don't ignore your destiny, don't push it away. What may seem like the end of the world, may just open up a whole new realm of possibilities for you.

Conflict Resolution is Best Between Those Having Problems

It's so easy to bring others into your conflicts. However, the more people that get involved, the more complicated the situation can be. Obviously, if it's a high-stakes situation that you need professional help with, then a mediator isn't a bad idea. However, with most day-to-day issues, it's best to just go to the person directly and talk it out. Have a respectful conversation, and don't resort to physical altercations.

We can see this best in Gravity Falls, Fight Fighters, when Robbie and Dipper get into an argument over Wendy. Robbie challenges Dipper to a fight. Dipper freaks out and brings video game character Rumble McSkirmish to life in hopes that Rumble would scare Robbie off. Rumble escalates the situation and both Robbie and Dipper end up hurt. In the end, the two boys come to an understanding using their words.

You Decide Who You Are

Pacifica is a spoiled brat for the majority of the series. That being said, she's really just the product of her environment. However, in the episode Northwest Mansion Mystery (also known as Northwest Mansion Noir), she decides to learn from her family's mistakes and do better.

We see people who are products of their environment daily. Some of them, like Pacifica, have decided to be better than that. This isn't an easy process, it requires a lot of self-reflection and letting go of [potentially] generational conditioning. But ultimately, we decide who we are. We all have the power to choose what's right over what we may know, and not be just another link in the world's worst chain.

Sometimes Being Friends is More Important than Being Right

In Land Before Swine, Dipper learns a valuable lesson in friendship. Dipper adores Soos, but he's so wrapped up in himself that he gets frustrated with Soos for his imperfections. This really comes to fruition after all the little things added up and Soos mispronounces "pterodactyl". But in the end, Dipper learns the important lesson-> Bros before Dinos.

Truth be told, I just learned this one myself. While we may not have to battle prehistoric animals to battle, we do sometimes get wrapped up in ourselves. If you're like me, you oftentimes find yourself too afraid of being embarrassed to let yourself relax and have fun, especially when it comes to my friends doing weird things. But with this reminder from Gravity Falls, I'm going to try to remember to put myself and my friends ahead of what others may think.

Forgetting Our Problems Doesn't Make Them Disappear

The Society of the Blind Eye took people's memories so they could live in blissful ignorance. This ruins Fiddleford McGucket's life. Mabel almost uses the memory gun to forget her failed summer romances. But after seeing McGucket rejoice over getting his less than wonderful memories back, she decided to keep them and move on.

While we may not have access to a memory eraser, we're very capable of ignoring things and pretending they never happened. But that doesn't do us any favors. Mabel said it best when she said "no one likes having bad memories, but maybe it's better to remember the bad things and learn from them, than going all denial-crazy and trying to forget."

Other People Do Not Define You

This one is kind of in the same vein as "You decide who you are". However, this lesson is taken from the twins. All throughout Gravity Falls, we see Mabel bouncing from guy to guy as if she needs one to be a whole person. And Dipper is so insecure about his masculinity that he goes through extreme trials just to prove himself to others.

What matters is what you think of yourself, and what the people you love think of you. Don't let outsiders get you down. That's a lesson I had to learn the hard way. Also, you do not need a relationship to define who you are. You are a wonderful whole person all on your own. Don't be afraid of being single. Being single does not equal being alone. And you do not have to change yourself for others.

Don't Wish Away Your Time

Dipper and Mabel learn this message separately, and they learn it hard. In The Inconviencing, Dipper lies about his age to seem cooler to a group of teenagers. In the end, him not being a teen saved him and his friend's lives. In Dipper and Mabel Verses the Future, when they're finally about to be 13, Mabel is so upset that the summer is ending, that she locks herself in this imaginary world where she doesn't have to face reality. Both the twins learn a valuable lesson. Time is precious, use it to the full extent, and enjoy it while it lasts, because you never know when things are going to change.

We may not have to battle ghosts in lamb costumes or have the luxury of dreamworld prisons. But each and every one of us has the ability to take time for granted. We wish we were older so we could do x,y, or z. Then we look back and wish we would've enjoyed being that age while it lasted. Time is our most valuable commodity, yet we trade it away so freely. Hug your loved ones a little tighter, laugh at things a little louder. Enjoy everything you can as much as you can, because when it's gone... it's gone.

Final Remarks

As sad as it makes me that Gravity Falls is over, I know it's always there for me to go back and revisit. I have the lessons it taught me, many of which didn't make it into this article. The most important lesson of all being that reality is an illusion, the Earth is a hologram, and we should definitely be buying gold to save up for the apocalypse! I was lucky to have this show as a kid. It came out the year I turned 9 and didn't end until the year I turned 13. It felt like Dipper and Mabel waited for me to grow up. So my last words are to the Pines Twins: See You Next Summer... or whenever I need you again.

Alicia Renee
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Alicia Renee is a senior in high school who wants to create in any way she can. She's highly active in the political and social justice community. Alicia likes to spend her time learning, writing, sewing, crafting, editing (photos, videos, essays, anything) and being around the people she loves.