Route 66 Installment #49: I Learned These 7 Lessons from The Walking DeadReading Time: 4 minutes
Yup. I admit it.
I’m a fan of “The Walking Dead.”
Not the kind of fan who flew to Atlanta to audition for Zombie School.
Or calls in to “The Talking Dead” on Sunday nights.
Or shows up at ComicCon dressed as a Whisperer.
I don’t watch all the spin-off shows.
But I confess that I’ve been watching since 2010 and know all the characters.
I crushed on Andrew Lincoln, who first won my heart in “Love, Actually” and then went on to play the ultimate Southern sheriff (despite his British accent, which he masterfully covered up).
[WARNING: Spoiler ahead]
I was so stunned and devastated in 2016 after Negan took a spiked bat to Abraham’s and Glenn’s heads in 2016 that I still haven’t quite recovered.
The show is coming to an end.
Unlike many of its characters, The Walking Dead has survived 11 years, 12 years, and 147 episodes.
It’s never really been a show just about zombies (which are, by the way, never actually called zombies in the show).
It’s about resilience, survival, journeys, compassion, communities, and power. And amazing special effects.
I’ve taken away at least 7 life/business lessons that will stay with me long after the last walker has left the building.
- Choose your community wisely. Before Rick allowed anyone to join his band of survivors, he asked them three screening questions. Like interviewing job candidates or picking friends, know who you’re about to let into your walled city or “family.”
- Beware despot leaders. We’ve seen lots of them on the show. Like real-life bullies and dictators, they prey on people who are looking for clarity and leadership. So far, good has generally triumphed over evil. I hope the same thing happens in our next election.
- Make sure the dead stay dead. The only way to extinguish a walker is to destroy its brain. When we have narcissists or other toxic people in our lives, we don’t need to lop off their heads with machetes but we DO need to detoxify our lives and avoid monsters.
- You can be both maternal and bad-ass. Carol has been one of my favorite characters. One day she’s baking cookies and tutoring the survivors’ kids. The next day she’s killing walkers, making ambush plots, and wandering off solo into the wilderness. This leads to #5….
- Sometimes you need to run away in order to grow and evolve. At least two characters (Carol and Darryl) went on their own personal walkabouts and then returned to the community stronger and wiser. I’ve done that at various times in my life. Thankfully, I didn’t have to live in the woods without a shower. And the show has also taught us that people are capable of fundamental change. A little love and prison time can work wonders.
- You should always be willing to fight for a true friend. Would I throw myself in front of a walker to save a bestie? Maybe not. I don’t like pain. But I try to defend those I love when they are being bullied, mistreated, or otherwise screwed over.
- We are more resilient than we think we are. Some people have survived all 11 seasons over the past dozen years. The series isn’t quite over yet, but we know that at least a few people live on in spin-offs. Even those who have been killed (the actors, not the characters) have gone on to appear in other great shows. My cousin was killed after only one episode and he’s doing just fine. Camaraderie, compassion, community, clever combat tactics, and faith all contribute to longevity during an apocalypse. Perhaps they’ll do the same in real life and work too!
So, what will I do with my Sunday nights now?
I’ll probably start to read a lot again or watch something less disturbing.
But, like all good entertainment, it will be inspiring and educational.
And I’ll rejoin the living!
Next week, I’ll be publishing the final installment in my Fear series and will move on to Gratitude.
Progressing from Boo! and Beasts to Blessings…
Some Walking Dead fun (and frightening) facts:
|The show’s logo “decays” every season.|
|Love conquers all (until someone gets eaten by walkers). Here are the top couples.|
|Really disgusting moments (but great special effects)|
|Most memorable Walking Dead quotes (some of which I’ll incorporate into my post-show vocab)|