My inspiration for this post comes from one of my new favorite songs by AWOLNATION. The song happens to be called, “Kill Your Heroes,” which is an odd name for a post on a blog dedicated to history and wine, you say. Yes, I guess it is.
We spend a lot of time looking back through history for our heroes, now you want us to “kill” them? Yes, that is what the song says.
Let me try to explain what I mean here. This is probably way deeper than AWOL intended, but I have a tendency to dig past the surface.
I think that sometimes we look up to people who lived in certain times and/or were presented with special circumstances in life that we may not be fortunate enough to receive or experience. We look up to these people (our heroes) as if they are some kind of gods. We end up worshiping them as immortal, though they may have passed on from this life. We believe that we can never live up to them; they are untouchable. We forget that these “gods” were mere mortals as they lived, or as they may live now. Many times, we build castles with uncrossable moats to protect them in our minds. We create fantastic lives they never actually lived. I think that all too often, we close ourselves off to opportunities because we believe that we can never reach the level of success that our heroes have achieved, so why bother? We are scared of our own failure. We cannot enter the castle.
My favorite line in the song is, “never let your fear decide your fate.” You get it now?
If we “kill” our heroes, we are in a sense proving to ourselves that they are not, in fact, immortal. If we get rid of our false ideas of their perfection then we can move past our fear of failure and work on our own fate. As we peel back the layers, we can see that these heroes were only so through hard work, dedication, and in many cases, luck.
The old man dying on the train in the song is the one who reminds the younger one to “never let your fear decide your fate.” Perhaps he has realized that life moves too quickly to worry about fears–of failure or anything else–you can be your own hero. But you can’t do it without trying, and you can’t do it with a false sense of success. Break down the castle.
Listen to the song, and let me know what you think “killing your heroes” means.
While you are at it, get some wine from Mount Vernon.