The HBO show Gentleman Jack is about the historical figure Anne Lister, played by Suranne Jones. Without a doubt, this is one of the more interesting shows that’s on television right now, not to mention being complicated. If you watch the show, you need to start from the beginning or you will probably be so confused that you will have no other recourse but to find something else to watch or turn off the television entirely. In either case, this would be unfortunate because this is a show that has substance. Not only is it based on an actual historical figure, as previously mentioned, but it also deals with many of the problems that the world is still trying to sort out today. While a certain amount of creative license is always taken when it comes to historical individuals, this is a show that seems to get all of the major points largely correct. That being said, you can take the show’s main character and drop her in modern-day times. If you did, you would likely see that her struggle is not really all that different from one time period to the next.
That is a rather eye-opening assumption but it’s also the truth. As a society, we like to think that we have progressed regarding the way we treat others, especially over a period of several years. This is a show that will make you stop and consider whether we have really progressed at all or if we’re all still standing in much the same place as we’ve always been. The show asks a number of difficult questions but there is no doubt that this is one of them. Furthermore, the whole idea of being rather stagnant in the water (from a societal approach) remains as a central concept throughout the entire series. The idea is so present that it just might make you feel uncomfortable to even watch it. If you think this is the only thing the show will make you think about, think again. There are actually a number of life lessons that can potentially be learned, all by really paying attention to what’s happening in this show.
1. Things are not always what they seem
On one hand, you have a story that is about a woman who is basically trying to save everything her family has worked for over the years and she’s doing it alone. She doesn’t really have anyone else to turn to so you see her going through all the ups and downs that would naturally come with something like that and you realize how hard it is for anyone- man or woman- to try and pick up the pieces when there is already only one person left standing. On the surface, this character appears to be strong beyond measure, more than capable of handling herself regardless of the circumstances at hand. If you dive a little deeper, you will also start to notice that she isn’t quite as strong as she wants everyone else to think. You’ll also begin to pick up some clues about things that are going on just beneath the surface. These are things that will complicate the situation and in some cases, you will find that things are in reality much different than you initially thought they were.
2. Sometimes things are done out of necessity and you end up finding yourself
One of the things this show makes clear is that she doesn’t have much choice but to become “one of the boys,” at least not at first. She is just doing what needs to be done in order to be heard. The story takes place in English high-society during the days of the horse and carriage. Women were not respected in business deals. She had to convince the men that she could play hardball. In the end, she wound up finding out a lot about herself. This happens to people in all walks of life, all the time. You put on a mask in order to get through something you have to do and all of a sudden, you find that the mask wasn’t really so much of a mask after all.
3. It takes a great deal of courage to be different
Obviously, this is a woman who has a great deal of courage. Otherwise, she would have never even attempted so many of the things she does. That being said, there is perhaps nothing that requires more courage than being different. She certainly couldn’t deny that she was different from those around her, very different indeed. She was a gay woman living during times when the very thought of it was considered unthinkable. The thing about her is that she didn’t change who she was in order to suit the desires of someone else. Instead, she continued to push forward and simply be who she really was. It certainly wasn’t always easy but it was worth it. Regardless of the situation you might find yourself in, this is good advice to this day. Never change who you are in order to conform to someone else’s wishes.
4. People who are different will be considered either courageous or crazy
When you do your own thing, you naturally stand out from the crowd. This can be a good thing but it can also make life very difficult sometimes, not to mention lonely. Most people who are courageous enough to be different look very brave to those who are on the outside looking in. From the perspective of the individual in question, things can be so hard that there are times when it doesn’t even seem worth it. People might think of you as crazy. The thing you have to learn is that no matter what, you have to decide what you want your path in life to be and then stick to it. You can’t please everyone else, so don’t try.
5. When you choose not to conform, you have to grow a thick skin
In the end, it means that anyone who has enough courage to stand up for themselves (or anyone else for that matter) had better become accustomed to being singled out. Unfortunately, that’s just the way people tend to be. If nothing else, being different will cause you to grow a thick skin, largely because it’s the only way you can survive.