I was very touched by Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar speech last night. I didn’t watch it until this morning, but it definitely got my attention because two things he says are sort of coming up over and over again in my life right now.
He says, about the 40 second mark, that there are three keys to daily life- something to look up to, something to look forward to, and something to chase.
I know there is a lot of commentary on this part of his speech, but it makes COMPLETE sense to me.
First, “something to look up to”. I think everyone needs something to be in awe of, something that grounds them, something that connects them with space and time and the universe. God, nature, The Universe, science, any combination of those things- or something else entirely. Just something *bigger* than us, that we are a part of.
Second, “something to forward to”. This, I think is a KEY part of life that we often neglect because it feels selfish or “egotistical” to keep supplying ourselves with a steady source of happy anticipation. But I have learned that it’s really a key part of happiness, at least mine. And I don’t focus on it enough.
I love having something to anticipate. I think it’s why I often order art supplies via online shops and catalogues- I love the whole process of deciding what I need, then placing the order, waiting for the shipping notification, tracking the package, receiving it, and opening it up. Even though it’s something I do a few times a month, and usually something that’s not-a-big-deal, I still feel like a little kid on Christmas when I get a little parcel with my name on it dropped off on the porch of our house. I get a charge seeing it on my desk, unopened, waiting for me to unwrap it and see what’s inside (even though I know).
There’s also this happy mystery when you order online, you don’t actually see and handle the products until you get them. So it’s sort of brand new, in a way.
Instead of making lists and saving up all my needs for one complete order every few weeks, I tend to purchase things in dribs and drabs. If there’s more than a handful of things I want, I tend to remove at least half those things from my online cart (or my physical cart in the store). Part of this is being frugal, but the other part of it is just so I give myself something *else* to return for, something more to anticipate in the future.
I guess when I heard Matthew Matthew McConaughey talk about having something to look forward to, it sort of clicked. I want to do more of that, in other ways.
The third thing was “something to chase”.
This is the part of the speech that confused some critics. But I got it perfectly.
One of the classes I’m taking now is Soul Caller Lab, with Amy Oscar. One of the exercises we did in class a few weeks ago was a meditation where we “imagined” what it would be like to meet up with ourselves many years in the future.
We were asked to think about what our “future self” might look like, sound like, and what she might say. It sounds like a simple exercise, but for those of us who are in the class, our minds were collectively blown.
My “future self” was a peaceful, wise, good-humored, sweet, and spry older woman with bright eyes and a quick laugh.
The biggest surprise was that she was *tiny*. Sometimes, with my disability, I really do feel like a giant oaf clomping around. But I realized that it’s not all as apparent as I imagine it to be.
Anyway, I didn’t stay in the meditation long (and I was too busy “staring” at her to make conversation), but my future self’s main advice for me was this: “It’s no big deal.”
First, I took it as a direct address of the Spina Bifida. I know it is a big deal, but only as much as it effects my life. It’s not as big of a deal as I think it is to other people.
After some reflection, I also took “it’s no big deal” that to mean that life wasn’t quite as serious as I sometimes make it out to be. Sometimes I really wonder if I’m doing all I’m *supposed* to be doing.
I mean, I get the science of human life: out of all the things that occur in the universe, it’s EXTREMELY rare to be born a human, on planet Earth, at THIS exact time in history, and in these circumstances (Florida is not exactly a third world country).
When I think about that, it both astounds me and overwhelms me. I feel like I better make this existence, this rare blend of science and chemistry and biology, *count*. And then – crash – brain overwhelm. Because there’s no way I can possibly meet those expectations.
(I hope this makes sense.)
So when Matthew McConaughey started talking about the person he looked up to, and how it was himself ten years in the future, I got that. Because when I had that little meditation with my “future self”, I felt that way. I wanted to be wiser, smarter, kinder, less anxious, relaxed, full of good humor, and at peace with my life. I admired that older woman. I started thinking about what it would take to be like that when I was older, what choices I had to make in life, etc.
Thinking ten years ahead is a GREAT start. That’s a great idea. That’s manageable, but it’s also enough time that it gives enough space for things to evolve and develop so that the stress of going in a direct, straight line doesn’t become overwhelming.
I don’t know if *I’m* making sense now. I mean, if Matthew McConaughey “confounded” critics with his (what I thought to be) beautiful, authentic, and thoughtful 3 minute speech, then I’m sort of done for. But I wanted to give it some thought, and articulate my reaction so I would actually remember it and maybe start to incorporate it into my daily life.
Something to look up to.
Something to look forward to.
Something to chase.
Every. Single. Day.
Sounds like great advice to me. [Alright, alright, alright... <--- couldn't resist ]leave a comment...