Perhaps it is unfortunate that the finale episode of How I Met Your Mother aired the night before April Fools. I have seen so many complaints that it feels like viewers were "duped." That the show was all one big prank.
If you've been paying attention, however, this wasn't a prank. This was actually some really intelligent writing. Especially for a sitcom. Instead of being a series that simply repeated all the gags every other sitcom has ever aired, this show examined how our culture looks at love. It examined the idea of a fairy tale ending, and the belief that our entire lives should be focused on finding that special someone.
And, more than that, it examined these concepts through the eyes of a male protagonist. This may be the best feature of this show.
Instead of a woman chasing men, searching for commitment and fearing dying an old maid this show demonstrated these ideals through the eyes of a man. The pressure we put on the idea that we all have only one true love, and the fact that even men are affected by these societal ideals. What if I never meet my true love? Or if I do and she dies and I fall in love again?
He met the mom. She died. All this time he spent searching for her, and viewers searched for her with him, and he lost her early. And now his kids are here to tell him it isn't all about meeting one girl. It's about the journey through life and finding love even when it feels impossible. That's been the message all along.
The movie TiMERS (currently available on Netflix Instant) examines similar concepts. In TiMERS a company has found a way to put a timer on everyone's wrists. The TiMER counts down to the day they'll meet their soulmate, and then an alarm goes off when they first make eye contact with that soul mate. But if your soul mate doesn't allow them to implant his own TiMER then your's will forever be blank.
If you knew that one day you would meet that special someone would you date anyone else? Now, imagine what you may have missed out on if you hadn't. You may not have your children. You may not have moved to the town you live in. You may not have the job you have or you may not have ever eaten your favorite food.
True, you can avoid a lot of heartbreak and pitfalls but there are so many important lessons you may have missed out on. And if you're lucky enough to find someone you can make a life with, love them and treat them with respect. Love them as long and as hard as possible. But don't fool yourself into thinking the past wasn't important for getting you to this point. It made you the person you are in your current relationship.
Life isn't a fairytale. We aren't all going to meet our true loves when we are eighteen. Happily ever after is a lovely concept, and it can happen, but all too often it doesn't. And then what? If your wife births you two beautiful children and then she dies, and a timer on your wrist tells you they were your only true love then what? Do you die alone?
Life isn't about the destination. Life is about the journey. Enjoying it and finding love as often as possible. Treating each other with respect, raising children, building careers, and following your heart where it leads you. That's the point of HIMYM and it was beautifully executed.