It was tragic to hear about the passing of Robin Williams. I was at a crucial moment in my life when our school headmaster encouraged us to go and watch Dead Poets Society, with its motto of carpe diem or ‘seize the day’ and ‘go and suck the marrow out of life.’ So I guess Robin Williams has always had a major influence on my life, because since that day I have always tried to seize every day, and suck the marrow out of life.
Of course, my favourite role of his was The Birdcage, which I still watch about once a month for a good laugh.
This is just an opinion, but the fact that this great actor and humanitarian killed himself leads me to conclude that one of the primary reasons is that he turned the focus in on himself, and that he forgot all the many blessings of his life. Apparently he was suffering from the beginning stages of Parkinson’s disease, was battling with a lack of money (even though he earned millions for his roles), had a substance abuse problem (kept in check by a 12-step programme), and was depressed. But he was an Academy Award-winning actor, was loved by millions the world over, had 3 wonderful children, and a loving wife. Does that not sound like a blessed life?
What does this have to do with a music blog? Well, music is part of the entertainment industry, which includes film, and Robin Williams has actually also won 5 Grammys, for best spoken word album. And of course he also sang in Aladdin.
Many people would kill to be a world-class, world-famous actor, who was loved and adored and admired by millions, who was privileged enough to study at Juilliard, who starred in some of the biggest box office movies of the last two decades, and who over and above the Grammys also won an Emmy or two. Why would someone with so many blessings decide to end his life? In my estimation, he momentarily forgot to say thank you for the great entertainer that he had become through sustained effort over time.
There’s a lesson in there for us all. On days when you have stopped being grateful for the many, many, many blessings in your life (especially if you are an artist), then take a moment to remember how lucky you are, and how much you actually have. This simple and powerful act of gratitude will help you live a fulfilled life of service to the world. It will also keep depression at bay, because the focus turns outward to blessing others with your gift.
I remain grateful to Robin Williams for filling my life with fun. Thank you for your great contribution to the world.