And I have actually learned a few things from Dean (yes, I am aware he is a fictional character).
10. Classic rock is still the best music. Having grown up in the seventies myself, classic rock holds a special place in my heart. Dean’s most famous quote…”driver picks the music…shotgun shuts his cake hole.” Words to live by.
9. Bacon cheeseburgers, ice cold beer and pie, of any kind, are enough to keep one alive and happy. They are his favorites and happen to be mine too!
8. Love and take care of your ride. Baby is Dean’s 1967 Chevy Impala. Baby is more than just a car, she is family. Devi is the same to me. Devi provided me with the ability to even consider my epic journey. I’ve slept in her, eaten in her and pretty much lived in her. She is my safety net and I’m lucky to have her.
7. No matter the job at hand always do your best. Dean fights monsters and overall evil. Sometimes he wins and sometimes he loses. That is how life works, one day you are in top of the world and the next you are at the bottom of the heap. The outcome doesn’t matter as much as the effort you put into it. Dean takes his victories where he can and that is a great lesson to learn.
6. Minimalistic living relieves the burden of stuff. Dean has lived on the road since he was a young boy. He has not accumulated a lot of possessions. After watching the show a while, I started to think about lightening my own load. This where I got the idea that if it doesn’t fit in the car, I do not need it. This lesson has served me well so far.
5. Family does not end in blood. Most of Dean’s family have been killed by evil things. But friends are his new family. Just because they are not blood, doesn’t mean the are not family. Dean would do anything for his brother Sam, he has died for him a couple of times. He would also die for those friends he considers family. Family means everything and I agree. Sometimes we are lucky enough to create our own family.
4. Dean has been nomadic all his life, he knows nothing but the road. Watching the show before my journey made me long for a life on the road which I was able to ultimately enjoy. He never stays in one place too long. We share a passion for the road.
3. Dean has self-esteem issues. He has never seen his real value as a human being. He never feels he is worthy of good things happening to him. He is heavily laden with a lot of guilt from his past. I can relate completely. Guilt and low self-esteem have plagued me all my life. To see him struggle with the same issues, has help my personal struggle.
2. Dean does not strive for success in the terms we have grown accustomed to, such as money, power or prestige. Those things do not matter (he does need enough money to live). He has no aspirations of great fame. He knows he will be a mostly unknown person and he is comfortable with that. Outer accolades no longer interest me either. Life is simpler when you no longer strive for those things. Knowing in your heart you did your best in a situation is the best reward.
1. Dean may have questioned Gods presence in the past but not any longer. I may have questioned God also from time to time, but now I see Him in the mountains and the streams. I can see His hand in my life. That knowledge has been a game-changer for me. I look at my actions differently now. I don’t want to be the same screw up I have been before. I know want to be a better person because I know God. I think Dean feels the same.
Those are the things I have learned from a fictional character. It may seem silly to take life lessons from someone who does not even exist. But in the same way a painting, a song, or words from a book can change you, so can a fictional television character. Inspiration can come from many places and if it stirs something in you to strive to be better, than the source matters not. Some of this list is light hearted, but some of it speaks to basic human conditions. For that I am thankful.
Here is a shout out to Jensen Ackles who brought this character to life, to Eric Kripke for creating him and to the writing staff who breathe life into him every week. Here are to all the unusual places one can find solace and inspiration.