In recent weeks I’ve been doing super late Spring-cleaning – not with tossing out “stuff” that’s been collecting dust, but rather by rummaging around old files that are scattered about my MacBook desk top. I’m constantly downloading and collecting links to articles and posts that I convince myself I’ll use someday in a workshop or in the classroom – or for this blog.
I came across the following five items about famous people who would seem to have nothing in common other than that they are/were famous. However, what both moves and amazes me is that each of these people had to grapple with the question that each of us has to grapple with – WHO AM I?
Take a look at these “snapshots” and perhaps taken together they will challenge you to ask the hard question that needs to be asked. . .
Charles Herbert, Mid-Century Child Star on TV and in Movies, Dies at 66
By SAM ROBERTS NOV. 4, 2015
Charles Herbert, who was 4 years old when he was discovered by a Hollywood talent scout and went on to become a top-earning child actor of the 1950s and ’60s, died on Oct. 31 in Las Vegas.
. . . He shared the limelight with Cary Grant, Sophia Loren and James Cagney. Mr. Herbert was making more than $1,600 a week at one point (almost $13,000 in today’s dollars), but wound up broke and, later, addicted.
In a 2006 interview, Mr. Herbert said, “The worst thing a person can lose is your identity,” adding: “It’s O.K. as a child because people look at the screen and say, ‘O.K., he’s Fred’ or ‘O.K., he’s Tom Sawyer.’ But when you’re an adult, people don’t know who the hell you are — you don’t walk around with your credits. They want to know who Charlie is. And I didn’t know.”
Ruth Reichl: Life After Gourmet Magazine
When Gourmet magazine closed in 2009, then-editor Ruth Reichl was shocked by the news. Knowledge@Wharton recently spoke with Reichl about her new book, My Kitchen Life: 136 Recipes That Changed My Life, which chronicles how cooking helped her to heal from the loss of the job she loved.
Reichl: I’d been working since I was 16, and I had always identified myself by my job. I was a cook. I was a writer. I was a restaurant critic. I was a magazine editor. Suddenly, I was a nothing. . .
It’s really pernicious to think that you are your job. . .Although I had been in food all my life, I had not been cooking for a very long time. I’d been too busy to do serious cooking. By really throwing myself into the cooking and paying attention to how much pleasure it gave me, I rediscovered that the secret to life is learning to take joy in everyday things. . .
. . .I realized that I wasn’t my job. That I was me. I re-found the person who was kind of always in there. . .those Conde Nast editor jobs are princess jobs. You live a very big life. You meet famous people, and you travel first class, and everybody is bowing down to you all the time.
All that stuff is just gloss. Who you are is more important than thinking that because you’re hobnobbing with famous people, you’re really somebody. You’re not.
Jennifer Lawrence Felt Lost After Breakup With Nicholas Hoult
The Huffington Post
In a new interview with Diane Sawyer, Lawrence spoke about her relationship with ex-boyfriend, actor Nicholas Hoult.
Lawrence opened up about the couple's split, which occurred around the same time she wrapped filming on the "Hunger Games" movies.
"These movies had been my life for so long and they had to come first in everything. I was also in a relationship with somebody for five years and that was my life," the 25-year-old actress told Sawyer.
Lawrence continued, "So my life was this person and these movies and we broke up around the same time that I wrapped those movies. Being 24 was this whole year of, 'Who am I without these movies? Who am I without this man?'"
Mary Lou Retton opens up about her struggle of discovering 'who you are'
Their Olympic moments happened 24 years apart, but the journeys of Mary Lou Retton (1984 Los Angeles) and Shawn Johnson (2008 Beijing) are similar in so many ways.
Both grew up away from the spotlight — Retton in West Virginia, Johnson in Iowa — before bursting onto the Olympic stage at the age of 16. Both won a collection of medals at their Games, vaulting each to sudden fame and a bevy of post-Olympic commercial opportunities.
The adjustment to that new life, however, was not easy for either woman. And while both continue to be household names, they admit it’s still hard to balance fame and regular life.
“Finding my own voice was difficult,” Retton said during a recent conversation between the two women. “I’m a 48-year-old woman and I still struggle with it. But I’m getting better. When that physicality is gone and the title is gone, you have to find who you are. I’m really still trying to find that out.”
“That’s good to know,” Johnson replied. “Because I’m still trying to find it.”
“It’s a journey,” Retton said. “It’s a lifetime process.”
Landon Donovan Urges Athletes To Speak Out About Mental Health
Huffington Post - 08/12/2016
Retired soccer star Landon Donovan doesn’t shy away from talking about his experience with depression — and he hopes other professional athletes will be just as forthcoming.
Donovan took a three-month break from his professional career in 2013 to prioritize his mental health. While athletes can sometimes seem unstoppable, it doesn’t mean they’re not susceptible to mental health issues just like everyone else. In fact, Donovan suggested that retired athletes can be especially at risk for depression. . .
“I think our problem is we wrap our identity around what we do and it becomes who we are,” he told The Huffington Post. “So you see a lot of former athletes struggle with this, a lot of athletes that are no longer being recognized for what they did on the soccer field. They’re like ‘Well, what am I now? I don’t have this sport anymore.’”
The former LA Galaxy forward said therapy helped him become more open about his mental health, and he encourages others who feel affected to do the same.