My daughter-in-love and I were trying to decide between watching a movie and going to the gym. We almost went to the gym; instead, we opted for a movie and some brownies. We probably would have been better off at the gym, but I’m not so sure.
We ended up watching a documentary of the life of Caroll Spinney, more famously known as Big Bird, and Oscar the Grouch. Before we even get to the end, I’ll admit up front that I cried, but not because it was terribly sad (though you may have seen the YouTube video of Big Bird singing It’s Not Easy Being Green at Jim Henson’s funeral…that did choke me up a bit). I cried because I found a kindred in Caroll Spinney, and though he is 82 years old today, I loved his young heart. I found so many behaviors in his life that are similar to mine.
He has played Big Bird for nearly 50 years, and what everyone kept talking about in the film was his childlike heart that was incredibly full of empathy. Even with gray hair, you would see Caroll skipping down the sidewalk, and running down hills. While all the other puppeteers and cast of Sesame Street were more out in the open and social, Caroll was always inside of a suit (as the Bird, or in the trash can). It isolated him somewhat, and helped to form the characters that children all over the world have loved for decades. It wasn’t just work for him; he became the characters. He marveled at life; he lived each day fully. I’ll bet he still does.
I’ll let you search for and find the documentary, but one person talked about a piece of advice Caroll had given him. He said something like, “Always find a way to go forward in life, never backwards.” He wasn’t talking about money or prestige; he was talking about moving more towards the life that is most fulfilling to who you are. Caroll created in his downtime: art, stories, fun movies with his kids and wife. He was living out the things he loved, and I thought he served as a great example of how to live.
DAY 332 HOMEWORK: I hope you always find me skipping down the sidewalk, and being silly so that I can laugh with others around me. I hope you will always find me creating in my downtime. I want to live life forward, and serve as an example of that for others around me. Maybe you’ve forgotten how to skip. I dare you to get outside and try it tomorrow. Find your forward.