1. When Ted finally meets Tracy.
And we see how everything that Ted went through — being jilted by Stella, getting that job at Columbia, meeting Cindy, running into her on the train and getting her roommate to perform at the wedding, losing and finding the yellow umbrella — led to this moment.
2. When getting dumped at the altar turns out to be a good thing.
Proving that the worst, most heartbreaking thing to happen to you could actually be leading up to something wonderful.
3. When Barney and Robin break up.
Robin and Barney’s relationship trajectory in general shows that breaking up isn’t always a tragic thing.
4. When Robin and Barney got back together.
Finding love isn’t about being perfect, it’s about finding someone perfect for you.
5. When Tracy laughs at Ted’s “shellfish” joke.
When Ted goes on a blind date with a woman who hates all of his quirks, he realizes that he wants to be with someone who loves his quirks rather than tolerating them. Like Tracy, who laughs with him because she’s dorky too!
6. When Barney and Robin first have cigars and scotch together.
Reminding us that you’re not doomed just because you don’t like traditionally romantic stuff, because there are other people out there like you!
7. When Ted hears Tracy play “La Vie En Rose” for the first time.
Reminding us that you never know when something that seems like an insignificant fleeting moment is actually a moment you will cherish again and again your whole life.
8. When Ted finds Robin’s locket.
Because if you love someone, you’re always there for them. “If you’re looking for the word that means caring for someone beyond all rationality and wanting them to have everything they want no matter how much it destroys you, it’s love! And when you love someone, you just don’t stop. Ever. Even when people roll their eyes, or call you crazy, even then, especially then!”
9. When Lily and Marshall make new, more realistic vows.
Showing us that there are some promises that couples can keep forever.
10. When Robin and Barney lie to each other for their own good.
In this running motif throughout the series, the best example is when Barney constructs a series of elaborate lies leading up to his proposal to Robin. The important thing is that the love is true.
Robin lies to Barney too, when she tells him that they reenacted “Weekend at Barney’s” for their wedding photos when really, they had to cancel because he was drunk and passed out.
11. When Lily leaves Marshall, and then comes back.
Not every love story has a happy ending. But it’s OK, because “sometimes things have to fall apart to make way for better things.”
12. When Marshall and Lily wear matching Halloween costumes and/or sweaters.
Because they support each other in both serious and silly ways. “Some couples always support each other, and some couples always challenge each other. But is one really better than the other? Yes. Support is better. Way better.”
13. When Lily and Marshall pause their arguments.
Showing that no matter how serious a fight is, you have to be able to put your bad feelings aside and remember what’s really important.
14. When Lily and Marshall decide to carry on their tradition of greeting each other at the airport (with a six-pack).
Reminding us how crucial it is to never stop doing little things to show each other you appreciate one another, no matter how much time passes.
15. When Ted asks Robin if she loves him and she says, “No.”
And suddenly, the world is full of yellow umbrellas.
16. When Ted shows up to Robin’s doorstep with a blue French horn, 24 years after the first time.
Showing us that destiny guides us in irrational, unpredictable ways. Also, no matter what happens, it’s never impossible to reunite with an ex!
17. When the place where Ted experiences his lowest moment…
Ted takes a random girl he met at the hotel to a romantic lighthouse and has a terrible time. Robin is marrying Barney. He’s given up all hope of finding love. He throws up. Life is grim.
…becomes the place where he experiences his highest.
And not two years later, he’s there with the love of his life, the mother of his future children, and proposes to her, to which she happily accepts!
18. When the fact that it took Ted so long to find Tracy just makes him appreciate her even more, until the very end.
“It was at times a long, difficult road. But I’m glad it was long and difficult, because if I hadn’t gone through hell to get there, the lesson might not have been as clear. You see, kids, right from the moment I met your mom I knew, I have to love this women as much as I can and as long as I can and I can never stop loving her, not even for a second. I carried that lesson through every stupid fight we ever had, every 5 a.m. Christmas morning, every sleepy Sunday afternoon, every speed bump, every pang of jealousy or boredom or uncertainty that came our way. I carried that lesson with me.”
19. When Ted has the life he always wanted with Tracy.
Proving that you should always wait for, it. Seriously, wait for it. Because you never know when you’re going to meet someone who “hits the reset button on the world, who makes everything new again, who makes it seem ridiculous that you ever considered settling.” And that’s pretty legendary.