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When I first saw the link proclaiming Bradley Cooper says he didn’t even WANT the Oscar , I thought, Ha yeah, sure you didn't! Very funny, Mr. Blue Eyes Cooper or should I say Mr. Sour Grapes?!
But then, I read the actual quotes from his interview with British GQ (out this month), and you know what? I totally believe him.
Two years ago, Cooper lost his father to lung cancer, and apparently, it totally changed the actor's life.
Here's what Bradley had to say:
Death became very real. And very tangible. Because my father -- someone who had been in my life for 36 years is just f***ing gone. I watched him dying and I was there by his bed watching him, breathing with him, and then I saw his last breath and he was gone. I experienced the whole thing. And that was a watershed moment that I was privileged to experience. And it changed everything. Nothing has ever been the same since.
Cooper went on to say, “The beauty is that I just don’t sweat s*** anymore,” because that experience essentially put everything into perspective:
My father gave me two gifts -- having me and dying with me. I used to be the kid that got the shakes if I had to talk in public; now, I just don’t get nervous about stuff. I can’t control everything. I watched my father die and I realized that is the way we are all going to die. For me, it was a switch from knowing something intellectually to knowing it by tangibly experiencing it. It rewired my neurological system. It almost did the opposite of motivating me. It was about keeping the main thing the main thing.
And the main thing? Is not a little gold statue. "I don’t want to win an Oscar,” he said. “It would change nothing. Nothing. The things in my life that aren't fulfilled would not be fulfilled. Career-wise, right now, it’s better that I don’t win one. I don’t want to win. I don’t."
It may sound reductive or trite, but I know what he means. I just lost someone I love enormously, and speaking from experience, I have found that this loss, this experience of tragedy and heartbreak, really has put a LOT about life into perspective. Suddenly the little things are so glaringly obvious as just that -- little, meaningless. All the BS that we get sidetracked and obsessed with on a daily basis has become so clearly insignificant, and what’s really important in life -- the “main thing” -- is that much more obvious.
I don’t know if I’ll maintain this outlook forever. I wish so completely that life didn't teach me such a painful lesson, but I hope that I’ll at least be able to hold onto this awareness to some degree for the rest of my life. I hear you, Mr. Cooper. Sometimes those things that seem so important are really just an illusion; they won't make you happier, or bring you more love, or fulfillment, or joy. They're not, after all, the sort of things that matter most, down deep, where it really counts.
Have you ever experienced something that truly changed your outlook on life?
Image via British GQ