Dreaming Big and Loving Life

For those of us who live in the colder parts of the country, we’re used to hibernating during winter, right?  I must say, every year when the colder weather hits, SHL and I hunker down at home and really get into our TV shows!  While my friends down in Miami are boating and going in the hot-tub, when it’s below zero here (like today), sometimes it’s comforting to just come home and get lost in a show.

I’ve never been a huge American Idol fan, but after catching a few minutes tonight, here are my top 3 reasons to turn on your TV right now and watch it:

1) It’s inspiring to watch people reach for the stars (why shouldn’t they?).  So many musicians, especially young ones, are auditioning for a dream.  We as the audience know that there are only a certain number of “golden tickets” to Hollywood each season, but seeing people with ambition chasing that spark is awe-inspiring. It makes me think about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and believing that even with just 5 golden tickets stuck in candy bars out there, you can tear open a wrapper and find one. It makes me think about faith, resilience, and passion. And even the ones who can’t sing– You’ve got to hand it to ’em for trying.  Would you go on national TV and sing?  Yeah, me either.

2) It’ll make you cry, and that’s not always a bad thing.  I’ve seen AI before, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever watched one whole season from start to finish.  I always get lost or bored somewhere in between; it just never seems to hold my attention anymore.  But tonight I found myself on the couch looking for some mindless TV, and while channel surfing I figured that I would have it on in the background while I flipped through magazines or texted with my friends.  But then they brought out a 25 year-old who has a little bit of a southern twang (and country music is so not my thing)– and he just blew me away with his soft and gentle vibrato.  It wasn’t country music, it wasn’t rock, it was just him. Doin’ his thing.  Strumming his guitar with total confidence (but yet humble at the same time), and singing a cover of the Creedance Clearwater Revival version of Proud Mary. He also told JLo that he loved Selena and then the two of them started an impromptu duet from the movie in which she starred in the 90’s.  Why the tears, you’re probably wondering?  This young man is blind.  He has never been able to see.  He’s never been able to read music, or read a crowd.  When you think you have an obstacle in your life, think of him.  Whether you’re scared to drive on the highway or give a big presentation at work or put yourself out on a limb in a social situation, just think about this brave 25 year-old guy who probably would tell me that he’s not being brave at all, he’s just living his life. Bravo.

3) Some parents do care.  I guess I can be jaded because I read the news and I’m a social worker, and I see all of the– sorry to say it– crappy parents out there.  So many awful stories of people where you wonder, “Why in the world did they ever have children in the first place?”  But American Idol is actually one of those shows where a great deal of the time, parents are there to support their children.  They scream louder than them when their kids (no matter their age) come out of the audition room with that golden ticket in their hand.  And they cry harder than their kids if they come out empty-handed.  It’s a nice change of pace and a good reminder that there are wonderful, decent, supportive parents out there, who will stand behind their children and their dreams.

Watching American Idol tonight makes me want to reach for the stars.  It makes me want to write a book and go to Thailand and run a marathon.  It’s not really about watching people audition for a singing show, is it?  It’s about what it represents–and how we can gain strength and perspective from watching other people live out their dreams (whether they get to Hollywood or not, I believe that there can be a great deal of satisfaction in acknowledging the courage that it takes just to try something new and scary).  But it’s not just about watching other people shoot for the starts– it’s about you chasing your own dreams as well.  It’s about finding whatever your golden ticket is– whatever “it” is– and going for it.  It’s about dreaming big and loving life.

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