Why am I looking at pictures of Meghan Markle’s (oops, she’s now officially the Duchess of Sussex) hats? Who cares what she wore to the Royal Ascot? I scold myself as I take a break from work.
But I can’t help myself. She’s beautiful and charming, and so clearly in love with her new husband – Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex for those of you who may have been orbiting the earth on the Space Station for the past six months.
What is it like to attend an event where you must wear a black tie and a frock coat? How does it feel to sit next to the Queen of England? Does Meghan Markle, an actress who grew up in modest circumstances, think about the trajectory her life has taken and wonder if she is still working on a movie set?
Then I give up pondering this radically alternative lifestyle and return to my day job.
Celebrities – whether they are curtsying to the Queen, creating a rap album with their equally famous spouses (thanks Beyoncé!) or even acting out and getting into trouble, they continue to attract our attention like moths drawn to a flame. Intellectually, we know that they struggle with some of the same issues that we do. They get burned out. They get bored. They fight with their kids. But at the same time, it’s hard to shake the feeling that their lives must be more interesting, their choices more exciting, their relationships larger than life.
The suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have demonstrated to us that, if nothing else, depression doesn’t discriminate between the very rich and the middle class (those who are mired in poverty have an additional set of challenges). After they died, the internet was awash in talk about copycat deaths, suicide prevention advice and a hotline number to call if you felt suicidal.
A week or so later, that attention has been supplanted by other urgent news.
What can we learn, if anything, from our fascination with celebrities and their behavior?
Oddly enough, we may learn that our lives, our thoughts, our hopes and relationships are as valuable, if not more so, than those of the celebrities we read about or see on television, because they are ours. That’s not to say that it’s bad to daydream about marrying a prince or a princess or winning an Oscar now and again.
Imagination can give us a window into the lives of others. That’s a divine gift.
But reading about celebrities (or even meeting a few – I have been fortunate to meet some bestselling writers) reminds us that there is a mystery and a depth to our own lives that is valuable. The men I met seemed like rather ordinary people who had the discipline, and the imagination, to tap deeply into our feelings and our dreams. We can’t all be famous writers or artists or politicians, but we can pursue our inner calls to be the best that is in us.
Don’t let celebrity envy cheat you out of living your own life as fully as possible. Follow your own dreams, not theirs.
Yes, the Givenchy dress and the Bentley might be nice accessories to the drama/comedy that is your daily existence. But even without these, you’re still darned fascinating.
So, put down that magazine, get up from the computer, and explore your peculiar, wonderful and intriguing life. IF you ever meet Meghan and Harry, you’ll have something to talk about.
This post reflects the views and experiences of the author, and is intended to start a conversation. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!