I saw The Hero this weekend, a new movie starring Sam Elliott. That’s probably enough said, as Sam Elliott is one of my favorites, and not just for the obvious physical appeal. It goes a lot deeper, as each of his many roles has demonstrated, but none more than this one. Especially for boomers and beyond, this one resonates deep.
Without giving away spoilers that aren’t already in the movie’s trailer, Sam plays a veteran actor of western genre movies who gets some bad news about his health. Understandably, he begins examining his life, attempting to reach out to those he’s loved, trying to rekindle a dwindling career, and frankly just make sense of it all.
Who among us, as we age, hasn’t wondered how we would feel if we got a depressing diagnosis? Maybe some of you already have. Maybe a loved one has. It really simplifies things really fast.
How fast your life goes by.
How suddenly you walk into a room and you are the oldest and often by many years.
How simple things are now harder, not matter how in shape you are or how many crossword puzzles you do.
How the mirror isn’t your friend anymore.
Dang but inside, you’re about 45. Ready to chart a new course. Start a new love affair. Travel the world.
But first, maybe just sit down and take a breath. Or even a nap.
Sam shows every emotion in this film. Fear, tenderness, embarrassment, frustration, anger, resolution. A lifetime. He feels he’s only done one good thing in his career. Yet as the film unfolds, it’s clear he’s touched many lives and had an impact he may never fully realize.
I want to think that’s true for each of us. Because aging can feel scary. Lonely. Like your once ever-expanding world is suddenly getting so much smaller. Your real friends, fewer. Your joyful moments, only now and then. And it’s too easy to think we haven’t amounted to much.
We don’t feel like heroes. But don’t you believe it. We ARE.
We’ve made others smile. Held someone’s hand to cross the street. Taught valuable lessons. Sang over a few hundred birthday cakes. Been there through disasters. Comforted grieving spouses. Helped our children learn patience. Showed what true friendship means. Taken care of our frail parents. Worried over a sickly pet.
We may not feel like our life matters, but maybe that’s the nature of life. To not get to know the ending until afterwards. Like someone who leaves a movie early and misses the gem after the credits.
It’s there. But only for those who are still around.
I suggest you go see The Hero. There’s a scene in the movie that speaks to the idea that everyone is a star, everyone is a hero. That’s something we all can use.
Cause we’re still rockin’ it.
“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh