On Feb. 22, 2004—ten years ago, today!—the final episode of Sex and the City aired on HBO.
It was bittersweet to say goodbye to Carrie Bradshaw, Charlotte York, Samantha Jones and Miranda Hobbes (we didn't know then that we'd be seeing them again at the movies—twice!), but New York City's fabulous foursome never really went away.
We revisited the girls on the small screen time and time again (thanks to HBO GO, DVD box sets and those slightly de-sexed reruns that are always on). And although older doesn't always mean wiser, this 10-year-span has given us more time to reflect on the lessons SATC taught us on lovers, labels and ladyfriends.
Here are the top ten.
1. Female Friendships Are Everything: Carrie worried about men and Manolos, but what sustained her through it all was the constant support of her three BFFs. Charlotte said it best, that, "Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates, and guys are just people to have fun with."
2. It's OK to Be Whatever: There's no shame in being single (think: Miranda's chocolate-cake-eating days) or being promiscuous (like Samantha, whose vagina should be in NYC tour books according to Charlotte). Some women have picture perfect weddings in their twenties (you might refer to them as Idiot Stick Figures With No Souls), and some don't. Everyone's in a different place in the life, but the only wrong stage is the one that makes you unhappy.
3. Be Open to the Unexpected: Samantha called herself a "trisexual," meaning, she'd "try anything once." The other girls weren't quite as liberated as Sam, but to varying degrees, they'd experiment and try new things in the boudoir. And when it comes to love—real love, not just sex—the heart knows what the heart wants, and that might look nothing like the image you had in your head! Just look at Miranda and Steve, Charlotte and Harry!
4. Wear What You Want: Carrie likes her "money where I can see it, hanging in my closet." She did tend to overindulge in retail therapy—like when she almost became "the old woman who lives in her shoes"—but she always took fashion risks because she wanted to, not because Vogue told her it was on trend (although, yes, Vogue did feed her more than a meal in her early NYC days). Note: Carrie once said, "No self-respecting New York City woman would be caught dead running around Manhattan in a scrunchie," but Carrie circa 2014 would be full Cressida Bonas! Times change, and so do tastes.
5. It's OK to Get Older: It's easy to be envious of the 21-year-old trust-funder with a $4,000 apartment loft in the West Village or the 27-year-old V.P. at Bergdorf Goodman. But, as Carrie points out, "Ladies, the only thing worse than being single and in your thirties in this city, is being single and in your twenties."
6. Life's Not Fair, But You've Gotta Laugh: Things won't go as planned 99 percent of the time. As Carrie puts it, 'The universe may not always play fair, but at least it's got a hell of a sense of humor."
7. Know When "He's Just Not That Into You": Before this was its own book and movie, it was a concept Miranda learned firsthand. Granted, there were times Big was distant and well, not very into Carrie, and she made some romantic missteps. Fortunately, we can all learn from her mistakes.
8. Perfection Is Overrated: You might think you want to be poised and proper like Natasha, but you really don't. When Carrie receives a thank you card from Big's then-love with a grammar gaffe, she lets herself rejoice in the little victory of it. But, unlike that Idiot Stick Figure With No Soul, she realizes she "will never be the woman with the perfect hair, who can wear white and not spill on it, and chair committees, and write thank you notes," and she "can't feel bad about that." Nor should you!
9. Labels Are Overrated, Too: Boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Armani—it's really how you feel that matters, not what your tag says. What sounds impressive—like a swanky hotel room in Paris with The Russian—might leave you empty, whereas a greasy diner with your friends makes your heart full.
10. Love Yourself First: Carrie sums everything up perfectly in that last episode, saying, "the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous."