4 Pieces of Wednesday Wisdom from Forrest Gump

It’s half-way through the week. Which means the end is in sight, but it’s still two days away, and sometimes those two days can feel like a long, long time. So our blog post this week is of an inspirational nature, where we turn to the simple wisdom of the inimitable Forrest Gump.

1. “Aren’t… aren’t I going to be me?” – The best thing you can be is yourself.

This was Forrest’s answer when the love of his life asked him if he ever dreamed about who he was going to be. Haven’t all of us? Even if you didn’t spend your time growing up dreaming about being a plane pilot or a major league ball player or a famous singer on a talent show (does anyone else miss when American Idol was a thing and was sort of good? No?)  by the time you got through college you’d been asked the question so many times you’d either finally forced yourself to come up with more reasonable responses, or might have been tempted to just not be anything and show everyone.

But Forrest’s answer reminds us that whatever we wanted to be, became, or still dream of being, the single most vital thing is to always, always be true to yourself. No-one will benefit if you try to change who you are to fit into someone’s idea of what you should do or be, whether that be a single person’s idea, a family’s idea, society’s idea… the only sure way to be true to everyone in your life is to always be you – and that is something only you know how to do. And if you won’t listen to Forrest, listen to Shakespeare, in Hamlet:

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

2. “What’s normal anyways?” – Momma Gump – Don’t define yourself by the standards anyone else holds.

This one ties in closely to the quote above, but that’s okay. If you ever find yourself tracking your progress in life by what is “normal,” it may be time to search for a different metric. Forrest was not in the “normal” range intellectually, but what was that except a tiny piece – marked on a flimsy human scale – of an extraordinary life? The standard of “normal” has never raised anyone to the history books. And, I’m not suggesting everyone needs to want to be in history books. But normal is not measurable except by created human tests – any definition is arbitrary at best. The best thing you can be is your normal.

3. “That’s all I have to say about that.”
 “My Mama always said you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on.” – There is always a right time to stop talking and live the rest of your life.

This may seem like a simple thing. Maybe even a negligible issue, if you aren’t the loquacious type. And if “all you have to say about that” is already normally limited to a sentence or less, feel free to disregard the literal part of this 🙂 Stick around for the metaphorical stuff though! Because knowing when to let something go – whether it be a friendship, a job, a loss, a frustration… is one of the more valuable skills to have in life. And will make the lives of everyone around you that much easier. Good friends want to be there to listen. And we all need to talk about things, whether that involves venting for an hour, or earnestly seeking advice.

But there is always a time to just realize that, hey, maybe they are sick of hearing about that. In the end, however satisfying it feels initially, hashing and rehashing something will usually fix nothing and can sometimes do the exact opposite. Sometimes the only and best thing to do is decide to drop whatever in your past has been acting like a sea anchor, keeping you from going with the wind, and just let go.

4. “Life’s a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

I think I’ll just leave this one here, folks. It’s so perfect. So simple. It hardly needs explanation. If you’ve ever bitten down, with chagrin and regret, into a raspberry cream chocolate when you wanted a caramel – you know exactly what Forrest’s mom meant. You can’t tell how every situation will turn out from the start. Relationship. Jobs. Camping trips. Visits home. You name it. They are all chocolates, and you can’t tell what’s on the inside until you’ve committed to a certain level. (Cutting them open is an option, yes, but it’s cheating a bit, and generally not recommended for anything involving real people – relationship, for instance.)

And maybe your box of chocolates had one of those weird lid labels, where if you hold it just so you should be able to tell which chocolate is where. And maybe this time you get a mint chocolate instead of the caramel. And that is life sometimes. You throw away the mint or suffer through it, or you remember that you actually like mint chocolates better than caramels. Your reaction is always up to you, and you can always try again.

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