Lady-friend-for-life W and I were marathoning How I Met Your Mother after a particularly taxing couple of weeks. There’s solid comfort in the laughs the gang doles out episode after episode, but we realized there’s something else that truly makes us feel comforted in the arms of HIMYM.
All of us want a MacLaren’s. We want a place where “everybody knows our names,” but we know we can’t really claim Sam and Diane. Instead, we have Ted and Robin and Barney. We have their dynamic to strive for, their bar to covet. We want the friends who come with MacLaren’s, the ones who become family. Most of all, what we really want and what MacLaren’s really represents is stability, that something to count on.
MacLaren’s gives us those stable things we want. We want a place to call home. We want people who can give us consistent love and constant laughs, who will be there for us through the bigger things in life that are more frequent now than they were 5 years ago: marriage, death, break-ups, promotions, lay-offs, babies, infertility, and the changes changes changes so fast that we’ve learned to take them as we go, even when we’re not ready for them.
In fact, the fact we want stability is one of those changes we have to take in stride. We have to realize we’re not losing anything by being stable, and we’re not losing ourselves by hoping for it. Even the freest birds like having a place to land.
The best part about the idea of a MacLaren’s is that it gives us a place to remember to let loose, even though we’re settling down. The two might seem impossible roommates, but if we can come to terms with the fact that fun when we’re 25 is different than when we were 21, the two can live together harmoniously. And you know what? It’s okay that fun is different… better even! It has to be; otherwise, we’d be horny, inconsiderate, blacked-out assholes for the rest of our lives. And that’s okay for a while, but when we reach a certain age, trying to hold on to the ideals of the past, grasping to this lifestyle of younger (wo)men, we miss all the new kinds of fun of mid-20-something-ness.
Most of all, if we don’t let go of then, we miss out on the stability of now. We miss out on the people around us who are starting to crave routine. We miss out getting to meet our people every night after work for beer and life chatter. We miss out on Ted, and Marshall, and Legen… wait for it… dary! Barney Stintson. We miss out on MacLaren’s. And look at them: