If we’ve learned anything from Robin Williams, it’s to take the advice that he delivered as John Keating in 1989’s Dead Poet’s Society — “Seize the day.”
Obviously, Robin Williams didn’t always follow his own fictional character’s advice. At least not today, on Aug. 11, when he decided to take his own life after a long battle with depression.
The news has had a giant impact, as people of all ages have spent the last few hours reflecting on Robin Williams’ work, and realizing just how damn good it was. Between the comedies — Flubber, Mrs. Doubtfire — the serious dramas — Good Will Hunting, Good Morning, Vietnam, Patch Adams — the kids’ movies — Hook, Jumanji — and heck, even the movies where all he lent was his voice — Aladdin — Robin Williams touched our lives in some way.
His career spanned so long, and his films have stood the test of time, that he affected multiple generations of people’s childhood. In every film, comedic or dramatic, he made his characters come alive with emotion and vivacious energy.
But now he’s dead.
“Seizing the day” means a lot of different things to different people. For many, it’s about finding something you’re passionate about it, and finding a way to do that for a living.
Easier said than done.
For me, seizing the day is simply about being happy. That’s even more apparent to me now, when you consider how Robin Williams died. For whatever reason, he clearly wasn’t happy.
Seizing the day is about waking up each morning and being happy to be alive. Even if your plans for that day are just to go to work, go for a jog, and then collapse on the sofa. As long as you did it happily, then that’s a successful day.
Depression is obviously no joke. It’s a poison that consumes you, and corrupts your thoughts and prevents you from thinking positively.
But I won’t remember Robin Williams in that way. Instead, I’ll remember the smiles and laughs he gave me. His breakthrough dramatic role, Good Morning Vietnam, was in 1987. The year I was born. So he’s literally been there right from the beginning of my life. And I won’t forget that.
Thanks Robin. Your legacy will live on in your work, which I’m sure will only continue to inspire.