How Mel Gibson Shaped My Philosophy

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot, lately. For the last year, at least, I’ve been trying to focus in on a particular idea; one that has been a driving force in my life for a very long time. A philosophy, if you will.

And while I always had a sense of where it came from, it didn’t fully come into focus until fairly recently. It came from a goddamned Mel Gibson movie called “Forever Young”.

There’s nothing special or groundbreaking about this philosophy and I assume it’s probably advice everyone’s heard in some form or another. But for whatever reason, it was this movie that presented it in an everlasting way. So powerful, in fact, that I had to dust off the old blog to put here for safekeeping.

THE (STEEP-IN-TROPE) SCENE:

A young Elijah Wood plays a boy who is in love with a girl. Gets nervous around her and walks away embarrassed. A wise adult figure, played by Mel Gibson, who is dealing with the loss of his spouse, pleads with the boy to tell the girl how he feels before it’s too late.

Nat, wake up! l was wrong.
Before, about Alice. l told you to forget about it.
You know how you want to know what you should do?
You must tell her.
The next time you see her, the very next time… when your heart pounds and you’re nervous–
You know what l mean?
Just let go.
Tell her how you feel.
It’s hard, but you gotta do it!
Open your heart. Sing to her!
Tell her everything.
Sing to her. The sooner the better.
Because… you might not get another chance.

And that’s pretty much exactly how I’ve lived my life as an adult. Not right away after seeing this scene. It stuck with me, sure, but it wasn’t until I became much more aware of my mortality that these words came back to me and would continue to bounce around in my head, in some form or another, on practically a weekly basis.

Yes, really that often. Along with becoming a person who doesn’t and cannot lie, I’ve also become someone who will go out of his way to tell people things they don’t necessarily want to hear. But I have to get it out. I have to tell them how I feel; whether that is a long-overdue apology, or a testament of love/admiration, these are things I very often can’t hold on to.

And I feel better knowing I won’t have to attend someone’s funeral wishing I had apologized. Or more likely, knowing I won’t end up on my deathbed wishing I had told someone I loved them.

It’s hard, but I do it. A lot. And it gets easier every time.

FUN FACT: I just learned JJ Abrams wrote this movie! Also, aside from the scene above and the general corniness of it all, it’s a pretty darn good movie, I’d say.

Leave a Reply