I saw Katharine Hepburn for the first time in “Guess who’s coming to dinner”. I was about 12 or 13, shortly after the fall of the Communist regime, and we finally got to see Western movies, even if most of them were 20 to 30 years old. My first thought was: What an astonishing woman! She reminded me of my mother at that time: very intelligent, strong, beautiful - though not in the classical sense of the word. Determined, self-confident, sensitive. Open-minded, tolerant, with a fierce sense of justice.
Katharine Hepburn grew up surrounded by people who fought for progress and for better lives for everybody. In her book “Me - Stories of my life” - which is quite a treat, but I might be biased - she spoke about the fortunate circumstances of her upbringing. She was always grateful for the financial security her family provided her with, which allowed her to pursue her acting career without worrying about mere survival. Grateful for her freedom, her self-belief and all the generous people she met along the way. And she understood that without her environment, she might have given up when things had got rough and her career had seemed to go down the hill.
She never took things for granted and always admitted her mistakes, although sometimes it was years after she made them that she finally realized what she did. All great people make mistakes they regret, because they have the courage to be themselves and trust themselves unconditionally. But they will never regret something they haven’t done.
There’s a strong tendency toward dissatisfaction in our modern world. Sometimes people ask me how I can stay so positive after all I’ve been through in my life. How I can find balance and optimism and trust in what’s on it’s way. I wasn’t always like this. But I’ve learned to feel lucky, because in my world there’s rain and sun, heat and cold, mountains and seas. There are opportunities and chances. There are people who love me and believe in me. Katharine Hepburn taught me to take what I get - from fate, from people, from my genes - and make the best out of it.
With some exceptions which are determined by genetic anomalies, diseases and serious disabilities, we all have the potential to do great things, fight for good causes or just live meaningful lives. But our potential is meaningless if we don’t assume responsibility and make use of it. We are not defined by our potential, but we are defined by our actions. We decide why we are here and what actions we are willing to take to live up to our potential.
We are here to make things better. We are here to try to be fearless. We are here to be grateful for the people who have helped us become who we are and who will help us become who we will be. We are here to admit our mistakes and our failures and to overcome them. We are here to help each other grow and bring along positive, meaningful change in the world that surrounds us. Tell us why you are here.