At the end of the day, what is left of us? How do we go on with our lives and the one to come once we leave this world behind? Is there a certain specific image that people will remember us by? When Heaven takes us home and we realise that the green on the other side is not greener as expected, what can we do? Is it possible for us to go back and enjoy our lives all over again? At the end of the day, how can we make sure that the person we see in the mirror is coherent with the one people see when they talk to or think of us?
I have struggled with that last question for the longest amount of time possible. Truth be told, I try not to complicate things inside my head when it comes to such existential questions which I cannot bear to find an answer to in order to improve the person I am. It is a daily challenge to want to understand ourselves, to figure out which type of footprint we leave behind us, on the road we walk upon called life. Most of all, I find it surprisingly complicated to keep track of everything happening in our surroundings when we attempt to make sense of the changes occurring on both an external and internal angle. This is why we tend to find shelter in our roots.
As individuals, we are told that we are nothing without our roots, and so we need to find our roots, which we do in our community, among “our people.” When we return to our roots, we enrich the cultural soil out of which we were born, so to speak. The question becomes: who are our people? Is it just those we have blood relations with? Is it the individuals we meet along the way and share values as well as precious memories with? Or are they just living their lives without knowing we exist, yet we know that they do?
The last category is one we all encounter in this lifetime, for one reason or another. They represent a selected group of people, usually celebrities, whom we identify with to a certain extent. Some call them idols, others refer to them as role models. For them, we might just be “followers” or simple “fans”, but for us, they embody much more than being just mere mortals.
We want to be, dress, eat, talk, act, and even think like them. In most cases, this tends to take a positive and constructive approach for those who take celebrities as examples for their lifestyles, as it represents a source of motivation with the endgame being to become a better person. I mean, we all watched athletes perform at the highest level, with the dream of hopefully playing with them one day. Another situation consists of being grateful for the things these celebrities have done, and how they have impacted our lives. I mostly think of music artists for that example: songs and music have had a massive impact on our minds and the way we look at things. Therefore, it creates a connection, a sense of belonging with the artist, almost as if they are telling us that we are not the only feeling this way.
When it comes to getting to know new people, I tend to ask them which songs they would use to describe themselves with? What are ‘their’ three songs? Most often than not, these songs hold a special story connected to it, may it be the lyrics in themselves creating an unbreakable bridge with the person’s soul, or it just takes the listener to the exact time when they heard the song for the first time and what happened then. It is just this special link between music and memory.
“Being a role model is the strongest form of education.”
– John Wooden
Coming back to the story about idols and role models, such scenarios can sometimes become extreme and lead to toxic possessiveness. In the mind of the fan, the mantra becomes “if I cannot be with them, then I will make sure nobody else can”. One of the cases when this led to atrocious actions was when young singer Christina Grimmie was shot by a so-called “biggest fan” at the end of her concert in 2016. After having done the job, the fan backed against a wall and shot himself in the head, as a way to “be with Grimmie for eternity”.
Like most people, there are certain celebrities that I look up to. They each provide me with lessons on how to improve my life. Cristiano Ronaldo and Kobe Bryant taught me to always push hard and move forward to reach whatever goal I have in mind. Ricardo Kaká showed me the importance of holding the highest possible values and always doing what you love, especially with those you love most. Tim Bergling helped me discover the power of music and how short life is and how crucial it is to enjoy life to the fullest. Finally, Chester Bennington taught me the importance of being there for others, to help them get through their toughest moments, even if it means crushing yourself from the inside, solely because you love them to the point you would suffer just to keep them safe.
I am still learning to this day, from those celebrities as well as from the people I meet in my everyday life.
The learning curve is neverending.
What have your role models taught you?