Why Goldie Hawn Is My Idol

January 23, 2016

Coding note: I am pleased to say, this post reveals some html tips I have picked up in my magnificent new career, including smarter use of div tags and css styling of classes (i.e. floated images (yes!)).

I'm sitting at a cafe on the water where I've been finishing up Goldie Hawn's autobiography this morning, a deep diving operation in search of the secret to her great hair. Turns out them lovelylocks is just natural (can't save us all our troubles, Goldie), but the value of her musings stretches far beyond vanity and a great baby name. I have long revered Goldie, albeit from a superficial distance, as someone who had a genuine twinkle that looked like it came a little more naturally and fully-realized than my own. She exemplifies joviality, not taking herself too seriously and, as my luck would have it, her book imparts some precious disclosures - secrets of a seasoned optimist whose struggles and thoughts pepper 450 pages of influentially principled judgement for me to soak up. I'm not just reading her book. I've taken notes.

Life's too short. It's too short to realize I've lived thirty years without taking ownership over my version of reality. It's too short to guilt-trip through 10 hours of Making A Murderer or sulk over my inability to jet-set to Costa Rica without a credit card statement just yet. Yet I do it. And I worry. I worry I will never stick with something long enough to have a level of expertise that could fund a life not lived paycheck to paycheck. I worry I will never be able to satiate my appetite for adventure. I worry I work for the weekends. I worry if I dress too girly, that no one will take me seriously, yet I worry I squander my youth when I don't dress it up well and then worry that vanity will rob me of joy as I age.

I have always found plenty to concern myself with in deeply plowed neural dead ends, reinforced each time my mind is snowed in by cold thoughts. I can get so preoccupied with doing it right that I easily miss the point - that nothing's "right" if you don't enjoy it.

I recently found myself losing enthusiasm for my life outside of work. When I got home, I was beginning to feel tired and empty, like I had lost my charm. Maybe a change of scene would help, but my car died and I could not afford it. Travel was not in the cards. When winter break came around, I spent the 12 days just looping through a vortex of frustration for wasted time. Because, obviously, when you're circling your existential doom like an emaciated vulture, wrapping that soul-sucking melancholy around you like a blanket is just the ticket, Smeagol.

Luckily, fate placed a vicariously brightened perspective in my hands. So, what about Goldie compelled me to write a whole post about her?
  • She handles hard times by seeking wisdom and new experiences. When she went through her second divorce, she spent the summer in a house in Ibiza with her two children and without electricity or hot water. She would heat the kids' bathwater in the sun while they were at the beach all day and cook dinner by candle light. She did something so romantic in her time of heartbreak that showed you can turn unpleasant circumstances into something even enviable.
  • "For just a little longer, I don't want to be anything other than the nameless mom of two small kids living in our beautiful little rock house by the blue-green sea."
  • She has always or often kept a journal. Her book is very anecdotal with meaningful snapshots of her life where most would have only a vague mental paragraph somewhere in the bulk. It's like she's pulling from footnotes and the personalized details in the margins. The best kind of keepsake.
  • She has always made happiness a prioritized goal, telling people what she was going to 'be' one day was happy. It's obvious in her recollections that she's learned to use gratitude and an open mind as mediation tools, taking happiness into her own hands.
  • She focuses on the well-grounded life lessons of less-than-ideal situations. Some of the snakes in her life are brought up, but she never speaks ill of anyone that simply didn't click with her. The focus is on what she learned - A more satisfying path to travel than the gossip route, no?
  • She is hilarious. Have you seen her in Private Benjamin? House Sitter? (She was 47 when she made that btw! Seek you the fountain of youth.) Overboard?! That's all I have to say about that.
  • She speaks of responsibility to serve the world by bringing more goof (misspelling kismet) good into it as payment for the privilege of existence. If she boasts, it is about her work in charity and humility is at the forefront.
  • She loves travel and adventure. And though she is rich, she giggles at excessive opulence. Travel! Experience! Learn! Love!
  • She never stops playing. Along with not having the stick of success up your backside, Goldie places emphasis on how important and waking it is to play, listing wandering bike rides her partner of over 30 years (Hello, Hollywood status quo!), spontaneous dancing, and giggling until she literally pees her pants. I can honestly say I admire how often she pees her pants and I aspire to the same.
  • She places deep value in her family. Some of the most touching parts are when she talks about her relationship with her parents or her daughter. Her empathy encourages stepping outside the bubble of your own experience and really examine the value family brings to your life.
    "A mother may be left behind, thinking, But I'm not done yet. I still have something to say, but you're not listening. I still have something to give, but you're not receptive to it. And so I have no one to nourish anymore."

For me, the takeaway is affirmation that no one is perfectly happy all the time, not even gorgeous, giggling Goldie Hawn. Before reading this, I felt I had begun to turn irreversibly feral (and relentlessly hyperbolic). The lesson I've valued most is that it is always up to me to cultivate the inspiration to keep my head up and seek new interests because I will never be a finished product. There will always be more to do - Learn French, get better at meditating, speak only of others in a positive light, continue to sing, become the Gumby of yoga - and new opportunities will present themselves. I can serve the world through my existence if I remember life is full of wonder and we are here to feel it.

When I got up to refill my coffee, I left my book as a place holder. I came back to find it shat upon by a bird whose diet must currently be some sort of disastrous liquid fast. It just goes to show that you will get a splash of nastiness from time to time, but how quickly it dries with just a little care and sunshine.

Some extras:
  • Here is a list from Reddit about not giving up. I leave this here because depression, to me, IS the urge to give up. That nothing matters and I kind of lose my appreciation of simple time. More and more, when I go into feeling that listless sadness, I go into autopilot with mental checkmarks like these and it sustains me for when I come out of the fog. Then, I don't feel so much like I have to start from scratch.
  • There is an episode of The Tim Ferriss show, in which Edward Norton mentions an essay by Tennessee Williams, called The Catastrophes of Success. It is an inspiring reminder that, while financial well-being would still probably be great for seeing the world with more flexibility, there is immense value in the struggle that gets you there. The more comfortable you get in your own ingenuity, the better you'll fare in a homogenized world that corrals anyone in its path into the same stream.
  • "Security is a kind of death, I think, and it can come to you in a storm of royalty checks beside a kidney-shaped pool in Beverly Hills or anywhere at all that is removed from the conditions that made you an artist, if that's what you are or were intended to be."

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