This past week, I went on a bit of a nostalgia binge. It had been a rough week in job hunt land and I was feeling discouraged, frustrated and pretty depressed.

What do you do in that circumstance? You turn to things that are comforting. Comfort food, mindless diversions, and, for me anyway, taking refuge in old TV shows or movies that I love.

This time around, I took another dive into “Ally McBeal,” the hour-long Fox “comedy” series that debuted back in 1997.

ally-mcbeal-19970118254I watched that show religiously for the first three seasons. After season three, when Billy died, Georgia left, and the characters changed so abruptly, the show went downhill fast. But seasons one through three were must watch TV…and still engaging nearly 20 years later.

Season two is still my favorite. The kinks of season one were worked out. Nell and Ling came to join Ally, Billy, John, Georgia, Richard, Elaine and Renee’ in the cast. The writing and acting were top notch. And it was just damn entertaining TV.

“Ally McBeal” premiered just after I’d moved to DC. I didn’t have a permanent job yet (and wouldn’t until just before season two premiered) and was finding my way in this city that I had dreamed about living in. I was concerned about money and my career and what would ultimately happen to me.

Sound familiar?

I’m going through a similar time in life right now. Unemployed, worrying about money and my future career and what my life from now on will be like.

So it’s no wonder that, in the midst of a rough emotional patch, I’d turn to something that I so enjoyed the last time I was in this situation.

Except there’s a lot different now. I was 20 years younger then. I had boundless energy, enthusiasm and optimism. Living in DC was new and exciting and the fulfillment of one my of life’s dreams.

Now, I have a whole new set of concerns. I have to think about my retirement. I have a father approaching 90 who lives 600 miles away whom I miss. At times I feel “maxed out” in DC, like I’ve met everyone and done everything. Perhaps I should consider big life changes right now.

So it’s similar, yet very different. But I’m trying very hard to hold onto that optimism that all will work out once again. Just like it did nearly 20 years ago when I would watch “Ally McBeal” at 9:00 every Monday night.

Perhaps that’s part of the reason why I started watching again: to remind myself that I made it through a similar period in life once before and it all worked out.

I guess when you’re going through one of life’s more challenging phases, you need reminders that you’ve succeeded before and will again. Who knew that it would take Callista Flockhart in a mini skirt to remind me of that?