11 Times 'Doctor Who' Taught Us Genuinely Valuable Life Lessons

I love Doctor Who. To understate things significantly, I'm not alone in loving Doctor Who. It is the longest running show on television, so not only does it have new fans every day, but it's got more long-term fans than most shows can ever boast having. I won't dare admit to being an OG fan. But I will say that when the show returned starring Christopher Ecclestone and Billie Piper in 2005, I was immediately smitten. Drama, comedy, time traveler, and a whole lot of ethical conundrums? Sold.

The show has a staggering amount going for it: An ever-changing actor playing the eponymous role of The Doctor, a borderline-immortal Time Lord who travels through time (and space – that's important) in his T.A.R.D.I.S., bringing along with him an equally changing actor and/or actress to act as his (mostly platonic) companion?! Come on – there is, in my humble estimation, quite literally nothing not to love about the show.

While the show is often funny, it also has zero issue dropping into darker territory; there is frequent, bold exploration into what it means to be good or evil, and what it means to be truly human. Embarrassing geek confession: Beyond enjoying the show purely for entertainment value, I've sincerely learned a lot of invaluable life lessons from this Dalek-slaying Doctor over the years. Here are 11 times the Doctor taught me some pretty excellent lessons:

1. When The Going Gets Tough: Improvise

In life, a great many of us spend a great deal of time make – and breaking – all kinds of plans. This is foolhardy, seeing as things seldom go how we think they will. When life smacks you in the face, the last thing you should do is panic. Instead, go with the flow and see what aliens and adventures await you.

2. Life Is About Taking Risks

Safe might be...uh...safe, but it's also super boring. Some of the most exciting moments you'll experience can only happen once you to decide to do something that scares you. I mean, don't kill anyone or anything, but maybe say yes when that person you don't know that well invites you out for an affable round of laser tag.

3. Normal Is Also Boring

Who wants to be normal?! To be normal is to settle for being deeply boring. Don't go for it. Be your own eccentric, exceptional, weird self, the haters be damned.

4. Appearances Can Be Deceiving

That person you're talking to might look like a portly nerd with crooked glasses, but they could be a badass writer with not one but TWO awesome cats...I mean, hypothetically or something. Moving on...

5. When In Doubt: Cats

The Doctor may be one of the universe's most mysterious men, but there's an entire species that's got him beat on that score. That would be cats. Not only are they are fluffy, cute, and wise as sphinxes, but they are also hilarious. In times of sorrow, never underestimate the restorative powers of cats.

6. When Life's Got You Down: DEAL WITH IT

When life throws you a curveball, the temptation might be to wallow in your sad feelings. Take all the time you need, by all means. But if the Doctor has taught me nothing else, it's that in times of hardship, it's best to don your shades and straight up deal with it, head on!

7. Personal Style Is Totally Subjective

My entire first year of college I thought it looked totally cool for me to wear suspenders. I let the words of others stop me dead in this sartorial adventure, when honestly, I should have kept on rocking the look. If you like what you're wearing: IT IS COOL! Because you are cool, and because it makes you happy, and your thinking about your clothes should probably begin and end there.

8. Listening Is Important

There is a time for talking, a time for meditative silence, and a time to quietly listen in case there is some sort of time-sucking monster that is sitting right behind you hanging on your every word. So that's...something to be aware of I guess.

9. Know Your Strengths – and Weaknesses

If there's something that needs unlocking, Doctor Who knows he's got his sonic screwdriver to get the job done. But when it comes to picking the right ensemble for a night on the town, he might need some help. Know your strengths and share them, but know where you need help and ask for it!

10. You Don't Need to Always Be "Alright"

Sometimes you are going to be hurt, inevitably. It will happen. That's life. It's unavoidable. But our friends and family are there for us to share this pain with. The next time someone asks you if you're alright and you aren't, tell them that you aren't. Bottling up how you're feeling can lead to constipation and bad poetry.

11. Your Hair Can Speak Volumes

Check your hair before you leave the house. You never know when folks writing the closed-captions for the show on which you star might be overpowered by a message your mane is sending that you weren't even aware of.

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