The world just lost a great legend of a human being. As I scroll through my Facebook feed, my Tweetdeck and Instagram I have never seen so many tributes being paid to a celebrity as I’ve seen with Robin Williams untimely passing. This is testament to the impact that his acting had on generations of people. Now straight off the bat I always see people react to a celebrity’s death or misfortune with cries of the injustice of the world, with the wars in the Middle-east, with famine and poverty in Africa. I’m sorry people, that is not the point, it is a battle for another time though.
Robin Williams crafted so many great characters throughout his amazing career with unforgettable performances in Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, Dead Poet’s Society and many many more. Today though I would like to focus on one, my all-time favourite, Peter Pan.
Coincidentally I share the same first name with Peter Pan and as such have somewhat of a soft spot for the character, after all I did get spoiled with a Peter Pan cake for my 21st birthday! My entire life I have always been enchanted by this character of Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up. As many of my regular readers know, I have spent the better part of the last five years trying to understand human behaviour and belief systems and understand how some people are successful and how others aren’t. To simplify, I love understanding how – all else being equal – if there is a common thread between successful people or not…and it turns out there is.
Yesterday me and best friend spent a late night in the studio writing and we were crafting a song about standing different from the crowd, not being afraid and chasing your dreams. Cliche I know but still very relevant in our modern society. What is it about growing up that when we hit the proverbial fork-in-the-road we have to choose between reality or chasing our dreams? It is like as soon as we turn 25 we all freak out and “think that we have to get our shit together”.
“Why can’t you fly now, mother?”
“Because I am grown up, dearest. When people grow up they forget the way.”
“Why do they forget the way?”
“Because they are no longer gay and innocent and heartless. It is only the gay and innocent and heartless who can fly.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Sadly, as soon we shut off the “dreamer” within us, we are relegated to a life of suppressed goals that kills our spirit and you can see this in the eyes of people going to work who hate their job, always thinking back and thinking “what-if”? Now I know there are many who face unfortunate hardships that aren’t afforded this luxury, so be gentle on me I’m generalizing here!
Depression is a horrible thing and some people say it is a chemical imbalance, a disease if you will, while others say it is a state of mind. Out of respect for Robin Williams, I would like to focus on that one thing – chasing your dreams. The older we get the more we try and play it safe, to never stick out, to live within imaginary boundaries and stay comfortable. Mid-life crisis I believe is a condition caused by suppressing that vision that you had for yourself when you were younger.
So what is the remedy? Well for those that say depression is a disease, I argue that it has been a negative state of mind that has been reinforced and compounded over many years. As such, changing that state of mind and introducing one positive thought a day might help – you have to start somewhere.
For those of use who are still in limbo, I say to take some time and really ask yourself a few questions.
What makes you happy?
Are you where you want to be in your life?
Have you reached some of your goals?
What do you want in your life, out of your life?
What do you fear the most in your life?
What makes you feel the most alive?
If money wasn’t a concern what would you be doing with your life?
This is just scratching the surface here but you get the idea.
So what does Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, have to do with all of this? I think the true essence of Peter Pan was that it was a story about never giving up, never losing that inner child who dreamed to take on the world. So many things in society are made to make us as normal as possible because the more normal and structured we are the easier it is for society to function. We were raised to believe to go to school, get good grades, get a safe job, marry your sweetheart, buy a house, live frugally and play it safe. For some, sure that in itself is a dream, but that’s not who I’m talking about.
Our parents grew up in different times, with different fears and as such they had different values. We grow up now in a world that is still uncertain, still living in fear. This is why it is so important to stay true to the above and never lose that inner child and never stop chasing your dreams. A very wise man once told me to have faith and jump. Step off the ledge.
Change your life, chasing your dreams.
I leave you with the wisdom of Robin Williams. Rest in Peace ‘ole boy.
The Shining Man
No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.
What do you want to be in the world? I mean the whole world. What do you want to be? Close your eyes and think about that
You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.
I left school and couldn’t find acting work, so I started going to clubs where you could do stand-up. I’ve always improvised, and stand-up was this great release. All of a sudden, it was just me and the audience.
But only in their dreams can men be truly free. It was always thus and always thus will be.
We were romantics. We didn’t just read poetry. We let it drip from our tongues like honey. SPirits soared. Women swooned, and gods were created, gentlemen. Not a bad way to spend an evening, eh?
You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I’ll guarantee you’ll win.
What’s wrong with death sir? What are we so mortally afraid of? Why can’t we treat death with a certain amount of humanity and dignity, and decency, and God forbid, maybe even humor. Death is not the enemy gentlemen. If we’re going to fight a disease, let’s fight one of the most terrible diseases of all, indifference.
Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself
There’s a time for daring and there’s a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for
You’ll have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion.And medicine, law, business, engineering – these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love – these are what we stay alive for.”