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  • Writer's pictureSteven Macalester

Pixar’s “Soul” made me sad, and here’s why.

A while back my family had some cousins visit the house and we decided to watch Pixar’s “Soul”. It was an overall cute movie that talks about finding a purpose and your “spark” as they call it.

However there was one part of the movie that hit me hard, when Joe finally got to live his dream and play piano music along with the big celebrity names. He got a gig with Dorothea Williams and played the piano alongside her in front of a live audience. It was a success and Joe's friends and families were so happy for him, but for Joe something didn't feel right.

When he asked Dorothea what's next she said they do the same thing again tomorrow, then Joe mentioned that for some reason he thought he would feel different than how he was actually feeling after the performance, that maybe he would feel more excited, more thrilled.

At this moment, Dorothea told Joe this "I heard this story about a fish, he swims up to this older fish and says ' I'm trying to find this thing they called the ocean. ' ' The ocean? ' The older fish says ' that's what you in right now ' ' This? ' Says the younger fish. ' This is water, what I want is the ocean! '"

For most of the other people watching the movie with me at the time the meaning of that parable may have missed them, but for me an artist who can relate to the main character Joe I understood the message loud and clear. It made me feel really sad upon understanding this short story but it also made me realize something about dreams, that sometimes our desires and goals don't always live up to our expectations.

Whenever we think we have a purpose or a dream to fulfill we often have this tendency to beautify the end result of all of our hard work. We imagine that at the end of the tunnel there is this new glamorous future with boundless excitement and satisfaction. However more often than not when we reach that goal it's not completely what we hoped it to be, trust me I know that from personal experience.

So if our goals or final destinations are not what they were cracked up to be then what is left? That answer is actually easy. . . life. The wonderful thing about life is that there is so much more to it than just a purpose or a goal, similar to how there is more to the ocean than just water. The true value of one's life isn't just what they leave behind or accomplished, not by itself anyway. Rather it is also what we do with the time we have that matters, how we spend that time trying new things, hanging out with friends and family, the simple yet cherishable things in life that can make us happy.

The movie "Soul" loves talking about two things, purpose and a spark. People can understandably mix these two up from time to time but it's important to know the big difference between these two. A purpose is something you make for yourself, a goal to work towards. A spark on the other hand is your desire to live life, to enjoy what the world has to offer and find true happiness. It's good to have goals, something to work towards, just don't forget about everything else. You only get one life, how you spend it is entirely up to you.


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