The anniversary of the death of Robin Williams brought me back to the blog post I wrote about him and inspiration. I don’t feel much has changed, and that’s a bizarre paradox of being a fan – you feel like you know someone and feel their highs and lows deeply. And yet years pass so quickly when they are no longer with us.
While some of the ways in which his life and passing have inspired me are too close to the heart, others have led me to where I am today.
The most obvious point in that journey is Dead Poets Society. I first saw the movie in high school and I remember it as clearly as the first time I held my children. It was as if Mr. Keating was reaching out and talking to my class. Some of the more outspoken students even stood at the end of the movie (admittedly not on their tables, but it was just as moving). For the rest of the term we read, discussed, and wrote with a renewed passion, and it solidified my desire to become an English teacher and an author.
Other than the poignant, “O Captain! My Captain!” the moment that has stayed with me and resurfaced most often is, “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”
It’s something that is easily lost in the humdrum rat race that we are all faced with these days – the never-ending travellator that’s switched to reverse while life passes you by.
But being reminded of this moment recently has renewed the sense of urgency to complete certain items on my to-do list and the desire to use my time wisely that I used to have when I was a little younger, less busy, and less stressed. Work smarter, not harder they say, and that’s what has been inspiring me this past week. Power through the stuff I “must” do, to get to the stuff I want to do and the stuff that will leave a positive impact on someone’s life.
Something else this event reminded me of is something I’m not very good at – talking about emotions and telling people how I feel about them. It’s too late to tell them after they’re gone, and we just assume that they know while they are still with us. So in addition to getting off my arse and getting things done, I’m taking a little spare time to write letters to people I care about and people who inspired me or changed my life in some way. (Whether I’ll get the courage to send them or not is another matter 😉 )
Most are family members and friends, but some are celebrities and the first two on my list are Sir Patrick Stewart and Stephen Fry. It’s no secret that I’m a massive Trekkie and I remember sitting down in front of the television and watching Encounter at Farpoint the night it premiered in Australia (1987!). The world changed that night. The themes and ideals portrayed filled my young little brain, and shaped a lot of the beliefs and opinions that I still hold today. It’s probably best described as the standard to which all other things are compared. It even makes appearances in every Uni essay I write 🙂
But the reason for being at the top of my list is much more than that. Mr. Stewart (or maybe Sir Patrick? @sirpatstew? 🙂 ) is inspirational in his charity work, his strength in speaking out now against domestic violence, and his public effervescence and love for life, particularly his friendship-in-pictures with “The Other Sir” – Sir Ian McKellen (who is third on my list, by the way 🙂 ).
Mr. Fry is equally inspiring for his charity work, and strong public stance on just about everything. My knowledge of, and connection with, that side of him didn’t come until much more recently however. When I first saw him (on reruns, admittedly), he was getting a “bit” of Hugh Laurie, and was his “gentleman’s personal gentleman”, Jeeves. Becoming older and partaking in more adult television (such as QI and Planet Word), I found myself fascinated, and through killing my curious cat, inspired to use the English language to the best of my ability.
I hope you all have an inspired week, and I’d love to know your top three inspirational people.
Until next week,