They say you should never meet your heroes. That you’ll only be disappointed.
But what if you do meet one of your heroes and you end up being anything but disappointed?
What if in your mind you had already levelled your expectations and expected them to not come across as humble, as welcoming, as open and as friendly as you maybe would’ve thought years before?
What if a couple of unsavoury experiences with other “stars” had left you a little bit cynical about whether people really can excel in their given field and still be a well-rounded and self-aware individual?
What if that thought pattern was completely smashed to pieces when you finally met one of your heroes and they lived up to all of your earlier expectations and more?
Would your earth be shattered?
Would it give you better hope for the future?
Would it help you to continue to believe in the goodness of people?
If you hadn’t guessed by now, this is exactly what happened to me this past week.
I met someone whom I idolised as a teenager. Who I expected to be a certain way back then and now. And who ended up being so much more than that.
When you get to adulthood, having heroes is interesting. The older you get and the more experiences you go through, the more you realise that people are just people. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has their own vulnerabilities. But the sign of someone that is continuing to grow and become a better person is how aware they are of all of these qualities, how open they are about talking about them and how able they are to own them and utilise them for their benefit and the benefit of others.
In adulthood it’s true that we often lose an element of amazement for the world and our hope for what we might be. We end up starting to become more ok with being who we are and not wanting to trade what we’ve got for anyone else’s life. We begin to lose that childlike aspect of ourselves that looks up to certain idols. And we begin to look up to just about everybody for very different reasons. Everybody has their own shit. Everybody has worked through something in their life. And everybody is working towards being something greater than they are now. You realise that nobody’s perfect and nobody’s the finished article, which makes it more difficult to hold people to the god-like standards that you believed were true in your youth.
But when you meet someone as an adult, that you once held in that regard and they blow you away with both the positive aspects of their character and their awareness of their weaknesses, then maybe you can still look up to them.
However, maybe now you don’t look up to them from below. You stand on a level with them and look up together. Toward a brighter future for you both and hope that maybe people, although they are still people, might still care about being good to one another.