11:30 am EDT, July 14, 2017

‘Grace and Frankie’: What two women in their 70s taught me about living in my 20s

What can Grace and Frankie — two women in their 70s — teach me about living in my 20s? Turns out a lot more than I thought they could.

Grace and Frankie is about two women rediscovering themselves in their 70s after their husbands divorce them. Their path of discovery looks a lot like mine, as I navigate through adulthood for the first time. They come at life with a little more wisdom and experience, sure, but we’re struggling through the same things.

Trying to navigate business, romance, or friendships? Here’s what Grace and Frankie can teach you, too.


grace and frankie vybrant

Some of the things I relate to most in Grace and Frankie are these women’s forays into business. Navigating the work world is hard, especially as a woman. As I’m starting to look for my first jobs outside of university, I’m getting a real sense of it for the first time. In a way, Grace and Frankie are too.

When Frankie first pitches her personal lubricant line, she asks for 9 million dollars. That turns out to be a little overly optimistic, but I love the standard it sets for these women in business. They are going to ask for what they’re worth.

As someone just starting out, that can be intimidating. I don’t have the business clout that someone like Grace has. As much as I try, I don’t have Frankie’s raw confidence either. Grace and Frankie have taught me to set those feelings aside. I should ask for what I’m worth — then work for it too.

Grace and Frankie set that example of working hard when they go into business together, starting the company Vybrant. They build up their company from scratch, turning their dining room table into an office space. They even work all day one Sunday to get their pre-orders shipped out on time.

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This work doesn’t come without hardship. They get rejected for loans and face discrimination because of their age. This business doesn’t come easy for them. But they don’t give up. That’s an important lesson for those of us in our 20s as well. Keeping working hard, even when the work isn’t easy.


grace and frankie relationship jacob

Grace and Frankie’s premise starts by showing these two women in failed romantic relationships. In the first episode, their husbands of 40 years announce their intention to divorce them. I’m not old enough to have a marriage of 40 years fall apart on me, but I sure have my share of failed romances. The way Grace and Frankie handle romance throughout the series teaches me a lot.

The way they handle their marriages and relationships with their ex-husbands is one lesson. Not once is there a mention of wasting their time with those marriages. These women don’t define themselves by what is not. They take what they learned in their marriages and use it to better their new relationships.

They also don’t let that history stop them from creating something new. Soon after the divorce, Grace gets into online dating. (What isn’t relatable about that?) She reconnects with old friends and old flames. Frankie finds her share of love, too. She has a fulfilling relationship with her once yam-provider throughout much of the series.

Sometimes I feel like I’m never going to find love. I think that’s a common feeling for someone in their 20s. These women find new romances in their 70s, which gives me hope. Grace and Frankie taught me that it’s never too late to find some romance.

The most important lesson Grace and Frankie has taught me about romance isn’t really about romance at all. It’s about independence. Even with all their relationships, Grace and Frankie never get lost in a man. They have their own, unique identities and interests.

Letting a romantic relationship overtake your life can be easy in your 20s. I’ve been guilty of it. Grace and Frankie show that doesn’t have to be the case — you can have love and keep yourself, too.


grace and frankie robert sol family

Grace and Frankie centers around family, too. These two families become one throughout the show. With these two women splitting from their husbands, there could have easily been fissures in their relationships. Instead, they all become one unit. They make their own family.

Frankie adopted her children. In one memorable scene, the boys say to each other, “I’m glad mom bought you.” Bud addresses Grace and Frankie both as his “moms,” indicating that Grace is just as much a mother-figure to him as his actual mother is. Brianna says that “Frankie is like the mother she never had,” while Grace is her actual mother.

When Bud and Coyote show up at the movies, Brianna tells her date they are her brothers. Sol treats Grace like family when he advises her about online dating. Frankie treats Robert like family when she confides in him about the possibility about moving away with her boyfriend. Grace and Frankie really taught me that family is what you make it.

This group creates a family with their words. They also prove they are a family by showing up for one another. It is that support that makes them family, not blood relation.

Everyone shows up at the hospital when Robert has a heart attack. They all show up to support Coyote on his second anniversary of being sober. Again, they all show up to Frankie’s art show and Robert’s musical debut.

As I’ve moved away from — and now temporarily back in with — my family, I’ve seen the importance of showing up to support your family. However family manifests in your life, Grace and Frankie teaches us to cherish that bond.


grace and frankie

Ultimately, this show is about friendship between women. Grace and Frankie show us that, yes, friendship is about shared experiences. They come together because their husbands are law partners. They are drawn closer when their husbands divorce them. They establish other shared experiences, too, by working together and spending time together.

More than that, I think Grace and Frankie show us that friendship is about choice. Even with all they fight about, these two women keep choosing each other. They choose to love each other. They choose to support each other.

Grace defends Frankie to her bowling league when they start saying mean things. Frankie supports Grace when Grace tries to reconnect with an old flame.

Grace and Frankie have taught me to choose my friends and show them that I care. In the tumultuous years of my 20s with my friends all experiencing new milestones and life changes, this feels especially important.

Another element to Grace and Frankie’s friendship is that they live together. I’ve had at least ten roommates in the past 5 years as I’ve moved around for school and work. Living with other women is not easy. Grace and Frankie fight about the same things I do with my roommates.

“Leave the TV remote where it is supposed to go. No, not in the phone cradle. Do your dishes. Stop letting your ex come over. No, really, do your dishes!”

At the end of the day, Grace and Frankie handle living together like they do anything else: with communication and forgiveness. No matter our age, those are things we could all do with a little more of.

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