As I’m sure you know by now, today is Star Wars Day. You are gonna hear a lot of “May the fourth be with you” today, and if you are a total Star Wars nerd like me, you’ll laugh every time. Star Wars means a lot to me, and though Episodes I-III left a lot to be desired, I grew up on A New Hope, The Emperor Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, so I don’t feel cheated. And as we get closer and closer to the release of what will be the sequel trilogy (Episodes VII-IX), my anticipation is mounting. That along with my anxiety, because let’s be real, if Disney (which recently purchased Lucasfilm) messes this up, there will be hell to pay.
Star Wars was to my childhood what peanut butter is to a peanut butter jelly sandwich. It was an integral part of my growing up, so much so that I felt like I lived those movies. Which brings us to the seven life lessons I learned from Star Wars.
1. Princess Leia showed little girls that they could be anything and everything they wanted to be.
I mean, talk about a strong, beautiful, smart, independent woman. This girl can make a long white cloak dress look sexy, and she also knows how to handle a DDC Defender. Even when she is tortured by Darth Vader (thanks, “Dad”…) for information regarding the location of the Rebel base, she stays strong. As a young girl, I looked up to Leia instead of more Barbie-like female characters. Because who wants a Dream House with Ken when you can be the adventurous Princess of Alderaan and have an epic love story with Han?
“Aren’t you a little short for a stormtropper?” – Leia
2. Jedi mind tricks come in handy.
This is something I use on a day-to-day basis. Jedi’s taught us that strength is beyond that of physical power, but also found in the power of our minds. These are not the droids you’re looking for. The power of suggestion. Not every battle needs to be fought with a light saber. Huge life lesson. Boom.
3. Appreciation of having a good father IRL.
This doesn’t require much explanation for anyone who knows much about Darth Vader. Definitely not the greatest father figure, to say the least. Luke had to find other sources of guidance a la Obi Wan, and even Uncle Owen. This made me appreciate my amazing dad all the more, because not only did he never saber off my arm, he was loving and supportive and so present during my childhood. He’s also the person who introduced me to Star Wars. Needless to say, I was raised well.
4. Good vs. evil isn’t just in the movies.
The ever present theme throughout Star Wars is the presence of a good force and an evil force. The light side and the dark side. Right vs. wrong. Hey, sounds a lot like life, right? Figuring out what to do in tricky situations where you have a clear choice between doing the right thing and doing the wrong thing. Star Wars, thank you for teaching me that even though it isn’t always the easiest choice, honesty, truth, and virtue are worth the sacrifice.
“Don’t call me a mindless philosopher, you overweight glob of grease!” – C-3PO
5. Wisdom may come in riddles.
That’s right, I’m talking about you, Yoda. The ever wise Jedi Master. And though it can be frustrating to hear the little guy talk in puzzles, it just goes to show that truth is not always straightforward. We aren’t always handed the perfect, direct answers in life. And much like Luke, it might take us a minute to catch on. But when we do understand the truth that has been given to us, we can be that much more grateful for the journey that took us to that realization.
“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.” – Yoda
6. Democracy over dictatorship. This political theme has been present since the Star Wars franchise first launched in 1977, as the Rebel Alliance works against the powers that be. Interestingly enough, this plot theme in Star Wars was modeled after the fall of the democratic Roman Republic and the formation of an empire. Similarly, the more recent episodes reflect on the events in the U.S. following the 9/11 attacks. There are similarities between the rise in authoritarianism from the beginning of Clone Wars until the end of Old Republic, and the U.S. government’s actions post 9/11 (i.e. the Patriot Act in 2001). Not to get too deep here, but Star Wars provides a pretty good example of how different government set ups can go totally wrong.
7. Sometimes you fall for the wrong person. Luke and Leia’s case may be extreme, but until it was realized that they were sibs, we all thought there was a perfect romance in their future. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, and when Han came into the picture, we all had the epiphany that “this is it.” Though it isn’t always clear in life whether or not we are with the right person, it is comforting to know that even in sci fi classics, it takes time to find Mr. Right.
“I love you.” “I know.“
These seven lessons just scratch the surface of what Star Wars means to me, but I’ll let you find your own meaning in the incredible series. Because “the force is strong in you” and I know you will resist the Dark Side. Happy Star Wars Day, y’all!