Sometimes I Wish I Were Famous

5.28.2014


Today I'm (finally!) linking up with Tamara for one of her weekly Wednesday topics.
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Last week, John Green's latest YA novel, The Fault in Our Stars, finally came available at the library. It was a quick, interesting book that only took me a few days to finish. But for such a small book, it really made me think. (This is a highly undervalued reason to mix YA into your reading list every once in a while, for those of you who think it's not a genre worth spending time on.)
Anyway, I bookmarked a few quotes from the book, but I chose one short scene that I most want to share with you (no spoilers):

 * * *
"You know," he said after a while, "it's kids' stuff, but I always thought my obituary would be in all the newspapers, that I'd have a story worth telling. I always had this secret suspicion that I was special."

"You are," I said.

"You know what I mean, though," he said.

I did know what he meant. I just didn't agree. "You say you're not special because the world doesn't know about you, but that's an insult to me. I know about you."
(pp. 240-41)
* * *

Sometimes I get this feeling that I'm no one special. 

I'm not famous. When a movie star dies, their films live forever.* When an author dies, their books become classics that generations of students read in English class.**

Who will remember me a hundred years after my death?

I know that's kind of super depressing. This isn't a feeling I get a lot, but sometimes when I'm driving my nondescript car down a nondescript back road in the middle of a state that sits in the middle of the country, it's easy to think I'm no one special.

That's why I thought that quote was so great. Sometimes it sounds so fun to be famous. Not the paparazzi part or the tabloids part or the five Hollywood divorces part. Just the famous part.

But as cheesy as it sounds, we're all already famous to the people in our lives. 

Our friends, our family... Just like John Green's character said, wishing for a different life is insulting to the people in your current life. It's also insulting to the God who created us, because more than anything else, we're special to him. He knit us together (Psalm 139), and we're insulting him to say we don't like the life he gave us.

This is something I've been struggling with lately, and so I'm preaching to the choir, but here's the bottom line: we need to be not only satisfied, but content and even grateful for who and where we are. It's a waste of time to wish you were someone else.

Doing that is failing to understand just how silly that sounds to the people who like the you that you already are.
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*Unless it's Sharknado. I think we can all agree that one can just go away.
**Unless it's Twilight. Please no.
 
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Kate said...

SO MUCH YES.

Amy Lee Scott said...

Oh man, it's like you read my mind :) It's not like I want to be famous, but that I want my life's work to matter to someone, you know? I also read that book quickly and really enjoyed it. I love that you highlighted that quote!

KJL said...

All YES. After I read that book (and quite possibly many other times too) I felt the same way. I mean I agree I don't want the grumblings that come with being famous, but it's that being known, and forgotten that just gets me. Great post. so glad I stumbled across you today!

Becky said...

You make me want to read this book again. I didn't really think I'd get too much out of it but boy did it make me think a lot! Do you think you'll go see the movie? I so agree with this post too. The people in your life love you for just who you are, are glad you're here, and you are special to them in ways you probably don't always think about!

Courtney said...

On the bright side, your blog will be in cyberspace forever. And all of your social media accounts ;)

Kristen said...

i freaking loved the book.
i used to really struggle with wanting to be famous, or important. as i get older, i realise that what i want is to be famous and important to the people i love. and i am. and thats enough for me. i still struggle with comparing my life to others, but i never wish i were someone else now.

Leslie Lukens Martin said...

Wow....what to send me into deep thought first thing in the morning! Haha! You make such a valid point though...thanks for opening my eyes!

amber kanady said...

love this post SO MUCH!

Ashley Renee said...

YA fiction definitely have it's positives. Lol. My boyfriend is all about "the classics," so he turns his nose up when I pick a book from the Teen section at Barnes and Noble. I don't care, though. Some of them are quite good.
I can definitely relate to wanting to do something memorable in life. That's why I write, even though I'm not published. I guess I just have this idea that one day someone could come along and stumble upon one of my stories. Maybe it'll touch them. Of course, I also believe that because every life you touch and every impact you make on someone has a ripple effect. You leave a mark on someone and they (with a slightly changed perspective), leaves a mark on someone else. I think that's pretty special. :)

Beka said...

You have a famous blog! =) and it's funny, so I think that makes you famous. If I were to be super honest I'd have to raise my hand and say guilty to all of the above! I keep thinking my life needs to have purpose! To be busy! To count for something awesome! However, I'm realizing that life where I am at is where God has asked me to serve - whether that is in big things or small things.

Allison said...

This is awesome. Thank you for this as I've been feeling that way a little bit lately. It's definitely important to keep that focus that to God and your friends/family, you're a big deal!

Liz McLane said...

I just finished that book too! And, i really disliked it. We should discuss it, 'cause I feel like I need to talk to someone else about it.

That being said, maybe I didn't like it because I have no intention of being famous? And, I've never had the feeling that I wanted to be. Anyway, it's true, tho. We're all famous to our friends. And your blog--don't forget about your viral running-is-like-having-a-baby post. You're totally famous!

Anonymous said...

I've been meaning to read this! It's set in Indianapolis, right? Also, the movie looks like it will be cute. Maybe I could convince George that it's not too girly. :)

Love your post, pretty deep and thoughtful, but not depressing. In the grand scheme of things, it's easy to feel like a tiny little meaningless speck, but within your relationships, you're so much bigger.

Miriam said...

I think we all get these thoughts from time to time, if and what we will leave behind when we are gone.
The great thing about being a blogger/writer is, that we WILL leave something behind! And like many here have already mentioned, you ARE famous in blogland! That's pretty damn awesome. Great post!

Rebecca Jo said...

Amen sister. I love this. Life is so short to worry & give much care about other's opinions. I used to feel like I had to leave a mark that would last forever... that looks different now. I love working with youth in church in ministry because I think just spending time with them, giving words of advice - that's what will live on & I'm OK with that :)

Niken said...

YES! i agree. now i need to read this book.

The Girl who Loved to Write said...

This is so good. Loved that part of the book. And your disclaimers at the bottom are cracking me up.

Tamara said...

I just bought that book (but haven't opened it up yet)! i'm looking forward to reading it.

I can certainly relate to wishing for another life is insulting to the one you share with others. My husband is really ambitious (which is wonderful because he certainly pushes us to be better) but at times he forgets how awesome we have it and it frustrates me to no end that he can't recall the days when we made minimum wage & lived off of PB & J.

Yay for linking up!!

Miss Nutralicious said...

If my middle school self met my adult self, she would be completely disappointed that my rock star career has been an epic failure. It's so crazy to think that, at one point, being a rock star was seriously my ultimate goal in life (don't make fun of me).

I love my non-famous life, but re-framing the concept of fame, and knowing that my family and friends consider my life to be as special as I do, makes me feel glamorous. Thanks for posting this!

Rock on!

Amber Wright said...

Amen, sister! Such a good point to put out there. And even besides the fact that you're so famous with your loved ones already, I think The Lady Okie will live one! :)

I've got that book on my list for this year.

Joy Lynn said...

amen

Amy said...

i agree with the first comment "so much yes!"
yes.
yes.
and yes.
my gosh yes.

Jessica said...

beautiful post. I love young adult fiction. I think a lot of the reasons we become who we are is because of our experiences during those raw years. We easily forget how those early experiences felt and I love reliving them in books. Plus the lessons still ring true to late 20 somethings :)

The Lady Okie said...

I made a list once of my favorite books ever. Like, ever ever. And 75% were YA. (Putting the entire Anne of GG series on there might have had something to do with it.) I love longer novels and things now, but adding in a YA every now and again is a good reminder. Because for such short books, they can be quite deep.

The Lady Okie said...

Love what you said about a ripple effect! And it can be for good or bad too. Very important to remember. We do impact the lives of those around us. So true!

The Lady Okie said...

I would like to see the movie, although we're lazy about going to the theater, so I'll probably just wait for Netflix. ha! I actually forgot it was even coming out as a movie! I have good reading choice timing, I guess ;)

Kerry @ Till Then Smile Often said...

So very true and reminds me of one of my favorite quotes! To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world. The people closes to us are the one who matter and will remember us and tell our stories after we are gone!

17 Perth said...

First thing, I read young adult! Lol. I find it simple and refreshing often. Secondly--whew. LOVE this. Needed it so much so lately. Needed to be reminded to be content so thank you!!!

Charlotte F said...

Exactly! I know the feeling, and I agree with you completely.
Oh, and I translate YA books AND read YA books for a living (about 100 books a year) so I can definitely say that yes, there are terrible books amongst them, but most are insightful and inspiring and touching and funny and worth reading, even if you're not as "young" as "young adults" are. :)

Kristin Saling said...

Love this! Sounds like a book I need to add to my reading list, and a sentiment I definitely need to add to my daily life. It's important for us to realize the impact we have, and to remember that's not always tied to fame or popularity.

Bailie @ The Hemborg Wife said...

So many times over the last 6 months I have been doing something simple like reading on the couch and will look over at Fredrik and say I love our simple life. When I was younger I was always dreaming of doing big things everyone would know about but now at almost 29 I realize that for me a simple quiet life is perfect.

Betsy Transatlantically said...

all of the yes. all of it.

also, I don't know if this is an official thing, but generally, in Judaism, you only name a child after a relative who has died. you don't often name children after relatives still living. (that's why there aren't many Joshua Greenbaum Jrs or Isaac Rosenstein IIIs running around.) I really like that, because it's a concrete way of saying to the world I REMEMBER MY WHOEVER, WHO DIED, AND HE WILL LIVE ON IN MY SON EVEN THOUGH HE IS DEAD. I like that.

・ DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS