What would you do if you had the chance to go back in time and “revise” all the bad decisions you took in the past based on your more mature knowledge so you could learn useful lessons that would help you take wiser decisions and build a better future for yourself?
In essence, this is the story of Erica Strange in Being Erica. This light and engaging tv-show set in the beautiful Toronto, Canada, is produced by Jana Sinyor. The series is spread across four series during which spectators get to know and follow the protagonist on her path for personal development and positive change. But let me tell you a little bit more about this series and why I liked it so much.
SPOILER ALERT (first episode only uh!) – Young and smart, Erica Strange holds a master’s degree in English Literature but she is constantly taking the wrong decisions in her life or falling for men who do not deserve her and is clearly underachieving at work. Paradoxically, the series begins with Erica hitting rock bottom: she gets fired from a job in a call centre because they think she is “too serious”, is dumped by the guy who she has been dating for some time and ends up in hospital due to an allergic reaction. This appens all in one day!
It is at this point, lying in her hospital bed, that Erica meets Doctor Tom for the first time: he is a peculiar therapist who offers her his services. He guarantees to fix her life in exchange of a personal commitment. Dr. Tom seems to have always the right advice to give and will follow and support Erica in her personal development to change the scary recurring pattern of her life: messing up. All this to the tune of wise quotes! Erica, initially skeptical, will eventually commit Dr. Tom’s therapy programme and start straightening her life and steering it into a direction that is suitable for her.
I really enjoyed watching Being Erica and empathised deeply with some of the protagonist struggles and fights. I have found the episodes actual and relatable: the situations she found herself in could easily recur in the life of any sensitive growing human being. I have enjoyed the dynamism of the series: there is a linear sense of progression and every regrets Erica goes back in time to fix adds up to her book of lessons learned so after four series, it is amazing to see the protagonist bloom, trust herself completely, let go of her fears and fulfil her potential.
The path of Erica is not easy and she will fail and be hurt at times: during the series she will confront major fears and setbacks and learn to change her “bad” behaviour and do all it takes to avoid making the same mistakes all over again even if it means getting hurt or hurt other people feelings when necessary. Thanks to her continuous hard work, Dr. Tom continuous effort and with the support of the other people in her life, she will learn invaluable lessons, especially to trust her gut and to pick herself up and keep going even when things do not go as planned or become hard. The screen shot above is one of the most significant episodes in the entire series, no spoiler uh, but when you will get to this point, you will realise how Erica has grown throughout the series.
Erica’s development ripples across all the characters she is surrounded by in the series: she is somehow the epicentre of a general transformation. Even if she and all other people around her have always identified her with the black sheep in the family or the unreliable one, the paradox is that eventually she will manage to transform into the reliable one and people will even come to depend on her for advice or help. Step by step, Erica will fix all areas of her life she was not happy with and learn to take better decisions for her future: she will find the right man, develop a fulfilling career and learn to take care of herself.
I love this tv-show because it leaves you with a sense of positive feeling and serenity. Some important key lessons can be inferred from Erica’s story and are valid for everyone’s real life as well – here’s some below:
1. Self-awareness in life is fundamental. As human beings, we are in constant development: we are always changing and learning and growing. The process is never ending but we need to grow awareness of ourselves, we need to recognise our strengths and weaknesses and learn to fill the gaps. Our strengths and weaknesses help us face our fears and determine how we react to setbacks. Little by little, if we are willing to commit to what we want and work hard to get it, thanks to our skills and abilities, we will be able to realise the vision we want for our life.
2. No matter how hard things are in our lives, if we don’t like how they have turned out for us, we can always try to change them. It is going to be hard work at times, and we have no guarantee we will be successful in the attempt, but if we know what we want, we trust ourself and our abilities and we keep trying, we can fix almost all the problems life throws at us.
3. We always have a choice on how to react to things that happen to us, good or bad. The
fundamental element is that we need to really understand the situation, what is the root cause behind the happening and fully evaluate options before acting or taking a decision. There may be times when, despite all our efforts, events will not unfold in the way we expected them to. Sometimes, the more we try, the better we will be at directing things where we want. Sometimes not but it will ok anyway. We try our best given the circumstances but we cannot control everything.
4. For every problem there is a solution, actually there are multiple solutions, and there is no absolute right or wrong. There is only what is right for us. Maybe we cannot see the solution we want to a problem straight away or we need to face the fact that we need to opt for a solution we do not like, or maybe a solution that requires us to work hard. One way or another, we can always move forward and fine-tune the plan.
I will close this review with the quote Dr. Tom said to Erica the first time they met and a heartily recommend you to watch this series. To me, it is not just the average tv-show but it leaves you with something meaningful for your everyday life.
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity – Albert Einstein