My Soul Goal | University
“You’re never too old for Disney,” is a phrase I never needed to convince myself of. A Disney lover since my youth, the wonder and awe of these films remains timeless. But, if there was one movie that definitely captures that Disney isn’t exclusive to kids, it would be Disney. Soul.
The film grapples with existential dread through the soul-like character, called Soul 22. But it also explores existential excitement through the protagonist, Joe Gardner. I found that Joe and Soul 22 represented different parts of my brain, with Joe being obsessed with chasing a dream on one side and Soul 22 fear and fear of embracing and living the life of the other. Honestly, in my 3 a.m. table tennis match, the winner always changes. But these two conflicted characters end up cultivating the purest bond on earth while learning valuable and indelible lessons from each other. Watching their own epiphanies inspired me to have several.
“My blessings are proof that God believes in me”
The film encapsulates the uphill struggle we often experience while navigating through life, that struggle of desperately searching for a “spark” or a “passion” to validate and assign meaning to our existence. For the first part of the film, you’re almost convinced the creators approve of this point of view, using the clever analogy of a “You Seminar” and “The Hall of everything” to help the characters find their passion and their goal of activating their “land pass”. But in the wise words of the character Jerry – “You humans with your passions and goals…so basic”. The film completely debunks this myth. It is revealed that what grants us truly our earthly pass is when we become ready to live. And this decision is entirely in our power. Joe inadvertently introduces Soul 22 to many things we consider ordinary in life – eating pizza, getting a haircut, going for a walk. But it’s through these seemingly small experiences that Joe, Soul 22 and, more importantly, I learn that the value of life is found in these subtle, fleeting moments.
“I automatically romance every little moment that happens”
If anything, this animation makes me wonder if Disney is for kids. Being confronted with questions such as “What is your goal? should be rated R. Admittedly, my faith served as my refuge during this film. When faced with invasive questions such as “What is your goal?” and “What makes you good enough to live?” I clung to the anchor of faith. Faith keeps me rooted in the belief that I was created to please my God through worship and acts of kindness. So, I strive to make it my main ambition in life. Although my conviction of my purpose is not always fluid, I have learned to develop a habit of being grateful and aware of all my blessings. My blessings are proof that God believes in me. God believes that I have the ability to nurture, fulfill, and maximize my blessings to their full potential.
Speaking of blessings, being located in a hill college is definitely one of them. Long walks to conferences and libraries have become my norm, but it’s something I never complain about. In fact, it’s something I’m incredibly grateful for. It’s one of the things I brag about when potential students eagerly ask me what it’s like to be at a mountain college. These walks give me the luxury of paying attention and appreciating all the little changes around me. Behind which tree is the moon hiding today? What painting does the sky present? Are the winds at war with each other? Or are they at peace?
The film emphasizes that the most valuable way to support yourself in life is to be able to find magic in the ordinary. Being placed in a pandemic for over a year has forced me to sit down, acknowledge and be grateful for the present. I was so preoccupied with the future that I didn’t realize that my present time was a privilege. I never know when it will be the last time I will do a certain activity that I enjoy. Before the pandemic, I never would have thought that I would have to give up the simple joy of going to the park for a while. So now when I visit I make sure to soak up every second on the swing and take a little slower stroll along the trees. Now I automatically romance every little moment that happens in my life because I don’t want the shadow of the future to steal the light of the present. I claim that every moment is momentous and life changing. I celebrate every victory – my favorite place in the library is free? I managed to put on sale an item that I wanted for a long time? I finally found a friend I hadn’t seen in so long because of our “adult schedules”. I celebrate it all.
It has now passed the milestone of one year since Soul was published, and I sincerely believe that it is the one that should be commemorated every year. Always. So the next time I have an existential crisis, I’ll remember to review Soul. A film where I can connect and be comforted. A film where I can see a fragment of myself. My thoughts, theories and concerns are intricately conceptualized and beautifully animated.
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