Life Lessons from Downton Abbey

We all adore the Granthams of Downton Abbey, not only for their elegance, but mostly for how they treat each other, their peers, and their servants. More than taking us back to a time when London was on the verge of war, the show makes us experience the dignity of the ton and how differently they deal with the triumphs and tragedies of life. Whether it’s for luncheon, afternoon tea, or an organised concert to lift the spirits of the military, we can always count on our favorite characters to act with a united front, even without a visible adversary. What’s entertaining about this show is we need not be confused on who the lead character is — it’s everyone.

So we took the time to pick up bits of wisdom from the show Downton Abbey since the series is on holiday and we won’t be seeing it on the telly for now. Here are our favorite lessons:

1. Never air your dirty laundry in public. Remember when Lady Mary, Lady Grantham and Anna carried Mr. Pamuk’s body across the halls? All girls kept quiet about it for a long time, the lady of the house silent even to Lord Grantham. We must all try to avoid bringing humiliation to our family names. It won’t look good on our resumes.

2. Party like there’s no tomorrow. The Granthams are good hosts, with a well-oiled staff that keeps things running smoothly (though we all know the cook is wreaking havoc in the kitchen). Their guests may vary from noblemen or the militia, but they do not discriminate in terms of providing everyone a great time. Try having friends over a la Downton, and serve little cakes and tea on fancy cups while engaging in a round of blackjack, roulette or slots, so you may also get a chance to win real cash prizes right there in your posh living room. Commission a part-time butler for the occasion, just to get the vibe. This is what we all deserve after long hours of hard work.

3. Be good to the less fortunate, especially with your staff. When Lord Grantham learned that Mrs. Patmore the cook has a cataract, he sent her to the eye specialist immediately. When Thomas, the former footman, died due to injuries from the war, Lord Grantham grieved. His concern for his loyal valet Mr. Bates is almost the same as that of his heir and cousin Matthew. We do not have to be reminded that, in real life, certain acts of kindness go a long way. Even E-cards from Hallmark are deeply appreciated if you send them.

4. It’s never too late to change. Lady Sybil is remarkably ahead of her time, and very assertive of women’s rights. She may be brought up the conventional way, but she finds ways to speak her mind and defy convention to show her individuality.

5. Live your passion. Matthew Crawley is the best example. He may have been plucked from the mediocre life of a solicitor in order to be groomed as the future Earl of Grantham, but he was honest to everyone including himself, when he chose to be a solicitor still even with such wealth and status at his fingertips. Whatever circumstances we might be in, good or bad, we owe it to ourselves to do what we really want.

We may not be born with a silver spoon, but riches are not requirements for a good life. Besides, we can always count on Downton Abbey for our dose of grand living. Let’s try taking their values to heart and live with them. Who knows? Our lives may turn out to be just as exciting.

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