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February 12, 2019

A Lesson from Finding Nemo - "Just Keep Swimming"

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I was looking a bit into the story of Ellen DeGeneres, and I was inspired to hear a bit about her life, and the obstacles she has faced to become who she is.  She lived privately as a homosexual for a long time, and even had to deal with the tragic death of her girlfriend.  She slowly worked her way through the entertainment ranks, and found herself as the star of her own tv series and was killing it.  She then made a move that put her entire career in jeopardy, and came out in a large and unexpected publicity stunt.  She had a tough time securing work for many years and thought it was the end.  

Ellen has been through a lot in her life, and everything she experienced has contributed to the person and comedian she is today, which is one of the most beloved daytime tv host in the industry.  And knowing that it wasn’t always that way makes her influence that much more meaningful.

More recently, she had the opportunity to play Dory in the movie Finding Nemo. Dory dealt with many of her own challenges, and approached her issues with her own philosophy, drawing many parallels to Ellen and the way she approaches her own life. The movie is about the most improbable quest of retrieving Nemo from across the world, and Ellen’s famous line embodies the main message in the story. “just keep swimming”.

It’s a powerful quote that has meaning both within the context of the movie and life in general.  In the movie, “just keep swimming" was the necessary action to accomplish the large feat of crossing the ocean, but more abstractly, it was how they coped with the improbability of the task,. This quote also helped them move forward without thinking too much about it.

In life, it takes a similar meaning.  Sometimes we are faced with huge and overwhelming setbacks, and there is no end in sight.  Remembering to “just keep swimming” can help us to take steps forward however possible, persevere in the smallest ways, and distract us from the reality of the circumstance. It also gives us hope that with enough time and energy, we can make it out the other end and overcome whatever is paining us.  It’s a mentality that has been adopted by so many to date, including Ellen, that can change lives.

So whatever you’re going through, know that there is an end to the madness, and just keep swimming until you get there.

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