I always loved his acting and his choice of roles. I also envied his clarity of purpose:
“While I was growing up,” he recalls, “I never once asked myself, ‘Who am I?’ or ‘What am I doing?’ Right from the beginning, the theater was like home to me. It seemed to be what I did best. I never doubted that I belonged in it.”
Being someone who has doubted my purpose just about every day of my life, changing college majors and even master’s programs numerous times, I’ve always been impressed with those who know exactly where they belong in the scheme of things, and hold close to that vision.
Christopher gained a whole new perspective from his experience with crippling disabilities, as he observes later in his book,
“Most able-bodied people are too complacent, too easily satisfied with mediocrity.”
I completely agree, especially after living with a man with chronic fatigue syndrome—an unpredictable and punishing disability. Most of us take our own health for granted, don’t even exercise regularly, and complain about everything that doesn’t come easily.
Somehow we all got the impression that life should be a breeze—so how come mine isn’t? One of the gifts of my midlife crisis was the discovery that I would have to fight for a better life for myself.
I did pretty well at mediocrity through my forties, but I wasn’t happy. I learned that to excel, I would have to really want something and work harder for it.
The struggle began with simply figuring out what I really and truly wanted. What would finally make me happy? That was enough of a challenge, because I have a hard time allowing myself to dream.
A powerful quote from Christopher Reeve spurred me on:
“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”
As optimistic as this may sound, I have found this to be very true in my own life. First we must embrace our dreams and make them ours, turning off all those bothersome doubts that would have us never try anything new and different.
Don’t you think I was scared to death to get divorced, lose my job, change careers or even to start dating again? You bet I was! Did I really think I could become a writer at age 50? But then I heard those spunky, crazy, wise words from that funny kid in one of my favorite films, Risky Business:
“Sometimes you just have to say what the f*** and make your move!”