As one of the "artsy" kids, the Oscars were always like my Super Bowl. I had big dreams and knew I was going to work in Hollywood someday. The Oscars - Hollywood-bound or not - always represented to me that crazy dreams can and do come true.
As I got older and became more aware of the politics behind the scenes, I noticed that some aspects had changed about the Academy Awards, and it wasn't just my own personal viewpoint. But they still remained that symbol of hope to me; that moment of fantasy turned reality. Even though I am not as involved in "The Business" [Hollywood] as I once was, I still enjoy watching the Oscars. It always brings back a flood of wonderful memories and a reminder of who I once was. It's a way to reconnect with my younger self and both my past and current dreams. I don't think I'm the only one that feels that way.
But last night, I enjoyed watching the Oscars much more than I have in recent years. I was worried it would be full of political outcries, as everything seems to be these days. Although there were some very pointed messages throughout the evening, I was pleasantly surprised. Overall, it was just a night of love. Message after message of love and acceptance and coexistence. And that just added to my warm, happy glow that had surrounded me while watching. I realized that good old Oscar had several important life lessons for us this year. Here are just a few takeaways from the 2017 Academy Awards:
- Love. We are all on this earth together. We are all human. And we are all entitled to basic human rights. Spread love, not hate.
- It's time to come together. There is something to that whole agree to disagree thing. We don't all have to have the same opinions. But we certainly don't need to have a shouting match to try to prove whose side is right. Everyone has his/her own opinion and that's not going to change. I've said it before, I'll say it again - "United we stand. Divided we fall." It's time to come together and unite our country. Listen, truly listen, and try to understand someone else's point of view. You don't have to agree, but have a real conversation, not a shouting match, and learn where the other side is coming from. Or, don't have a conversation at all and just "hold your neighbor's hand," so to speak, and show what really makes this country great.
- The arts are life. The arts are a part of everything. If you can't first think creatively, you won't be able to solve a problem, invent the future, or heal the present. Viola Davis summed it up very nicely in her speech: "I became an artist, and thank God I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life." We can not really understand the meaning of our lives without the experience of the arts. We can not heal our souls, experience a new point of view, escape from our problems, imagine our futures, or realize our dreams without the arts. They allow us to step outside of ourselves and discover something new. They allow us to find our empathy, to experience all emotions. They allow us to live more than just our own life; we are able to experience much more. The arts may seem frivolous on the surface, but they are indeed the breath of life itself.
- It's ok to dream your dreams. Dreams do come true, but you first have to dream them! Sing in the rain, beat that drum. Put in your work and keep going. Never stop trying. Never stop dreaming. Always go for the gold.
- Mistakes happen. Even a meticulously planned out, massive-budget production like Oscar night can still have a huge, shall we say, "snafu" right at the most pivotal moment. Heartbreaking? Yes. The end of the world? No. Mistakes happen. That's part of the human existence. Own up to it. Be gracious and humble. Try to fix it the best you can. There's always next time.
- Don't Give Up. No matter how many knocks you take, keep going. Don't give up. Don't stop working for it. Don't stop trying! Stay focused. Keep going. Remember, not even Meryl Streep actually wins the award every time. It's not about the award itself, as nice as it is. It's about the journey - the process. It's about your growth and experience, your strength and your attitude. Prove that you have what it takes. Go after your heart's desire. Don't give up.
- When in doubt, laugh. Life is hard. And especially these days, life can be really scary too. But if you can find the humor in the situation, you can muddle your way through a little easier. Laughing is a condition that the human soul needs. To laugh - to feel - that is proof of life. Ease your load, laugh, and you just may find yourself waltzing among the stars.
Today is for the dreamers. Thanks, Oscars!